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| Last Updated::11/01/2016

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Executive Summary Lok Sabha 2008

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Lok Sabha 2008

 

 

The most highlighting feature of this Volume of 2008 was the growing awareness about Environmental issues related to many topics. Most of the Ministries participated in the Discussion corresponding to all the categorized subjects of this Volume.

 

The prime theme of the queries remained the environmental aspects of agricultural practices in the country during the year 2008. The main areas of concern that emerged through the discussion in the House included organic farming and crop losses. Some of the important topics of discussion in the House were second Green Revolution, use of fertilizers, impact of Climate Change on crop production, soil conservation schemes, food security, practice of different types of agriculture, the effects of excessive pesticide application, and some other schemes for further promotion of conservation practices. The Ministry of Agriculture provided the maximum number of replies during the year.       

 

In this regard, the main focus of concern expressed was the progress in development and adoption of renewable sources-based technologies, the overall scenario of renewable energy potential and production in the country and the steps taken in energy generation from renewable sources like solar energy, wind energy and hydropower and the status of bio-fuel promotion technologies. Questions were raised about raising ecofriendly or green technology. Other nonconventional sources of energy such as urban wastes, rice husk and hydrogen technology etc were also topics of discussion during the year The legislators demanded information about the steps taken by the government to promote research and development, in particular, the amount of funds allocated to the concerned institutes.. The highest number of questions was handled by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.

 

Discussions during the year covered the support given to transgenic research, harmful effects of Bt cotton and demands for review of genetically modified crops. Also covered were the areas of the economic and health impact of genetically modified (henceforth GM) crops and the undertaking of studies prior to the introduction of such crops. Most of the replies in the House were provided by the Ministry of Environment and Forests and the Ministry of Agriculture. The discussions during the year revolved mainly around the demand for more information about Climate Change, especially global warming  including its impacts, the country’s participation in global mitigation efforts, endangered historical sites, conferences and panels for discussion of related issues, the status of carbon credit projects, setting up of institutes on climate change, ozone protection measures and weather monitoring systems. The majority of queries were handled by the MoEF.

 

The queries in relation to the Tsunami ranged from the status of initiatives taken for the installation of a warning system, the pace of implementation of rehabilitation measures and the utilization of sanctioned funds. Other natural disasters especially Cyclone Nargis and the financial assistance provided were other major themes of discussions in the House. There was also important information provided on the progress made in response to the mandate of the Disaster Management Act. Several discussions were held on the issue of assistance to states for disaster management and flood prevention and mitigation measures. The steps taken for earthquake-related issues were also substantially highlighted. Other concerns brought up by the legislators included drought affected areas and the rehabilitation and resettlement of project affected people, particularly dams. The Ministry of Home Affairs gave the highest number of questions, while the Ministry of Water Resources also addressed a relatively high number of questions.

 

The premise of discussion during the year revolved around the search for as well as promotion of renewable energy sources. Other significant topic of discussion was concerned with rural energy promotion. The exploration of nuclear energy as a viable alternative energy source and the progress on energy generation from bio-mass and industrial wastes was the other areas covered in the discussions. Queries were also directed at the governmental initiatives in redirecting the country’s excessive dependence on fossil fuels to renewable environment-friendly energy sources such as wind and solar energy. The maximum number of questions was replied by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy with the Ministry of Power also handling a fairly high number of questions.

 

The debate during the Session was dominated by the request for information about the status of project proposals which were pending with the Central government for clearance and the reasons for delay, if any, in their passage and fund allocation. The projects enquired about included hydro-power, mining, and irrigation projects. A major theme of discussion was the nature of environmental clearance requirement for certain industrial projects. Other topics included evaluation of impact of proposed or ongoing developmental activities, the resettlement and rehabilitation package for development projects and the scheme, the Environmental and Social Mitigation Project. The MoEF provided the maximum number of replies during the year. The topics covered during the year in this subject area included the utilization of funds by NGOs, involvement of NGOs in the dissemination of information and their involvement in environmental projects including afforestation activities, to the government’s steps for public education. Also involved was the inclusion of environmental subjects in the course and curriculum of students. The awareness generation activities, setting up of institutes and details of meetings, workshops etc were the other areas of discussion in the House. Many of the questions were handled by the MoEF during the year.

 

The deliberations on this subject area mainly focused on the National Eco-Tourism Policy of the country and the steps taken by the government to promote eco-tourism. The other topics of discussions included the promotion of forest productivity and development of eco-tourism. Many of the responses during the year were given by the MoEF.

 

The consideration during the year covered matters relating to biodiversity, the funding of environmental conservation programmes, and pollution related policies. The replies by various Ministries covered the topics related to the Environmental degradation, government’s policies, rules and regulations on energy, forests, coastal protection, wildlife protection, resettlement and rehabilitation, mangrove protection, and waste management. The MoEF handled the majority of the questions raised in the House. The state of the country’s forests in terms of the area of coverage, the extent of land degradation across the country and the diversion of forest land were the major areas of discussion during the year. Other topics of discussion in the House included the development of forest villages, the implementation of the National Afforestation Program and the development of wastelands. Several enquiries were made about the government’s policies and programmes for the tribes residing in and around the forests, including their relocation. There were also discussions on the decline in forest cover and actions taken to arrest the decline. A fairly large number of state-specific discussions were held ranging from the utilization of afforestation funds to projects for forestry development or forest clearance.

 

The highest number of questions was handled by the MoEF. The discussions during the year covered a wide area of concerns ranging from the state of the country’s coastline to the conservation of freshwater bodies across the country. Concerns were expressed about the condition of the country’s water bodies. Several questions were raised on the problem of marine pollution, coastal erosion and pollution of the shorelines from inland sources. Other topics of discussions included the pollution of water bodies, wetlands conservation, cases of Ganga and Yamuna rivers and issues related to marine resources and dams. While the MoEF had the highest share of the queries, the Ministry of Water Resources also had a fairly high share of the queries.

 

The majority of negotiations in the House pertained to concerns for public health arising from water quality. The water related issues include the pesticide content in drinking water, and the assistance for provision of safe drinking water. Particular focus was given to the issue of provision of safe drinking to the rural areas and action plans on sanitation Other discussed topics related to the threats to public health caused by various health hazards like, plastic use, asbestos, persistent organic pollutants, private sector involvement in the provision of clean water, the response to the bird flu epidemic including availability of bird flu medicine, and health hazards arising from mining activities. The majority of questions were handled by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the Ministry of Urban Development. The discussions during the year revolved around the governmental promotion of medicinal plants production and protection in view of the expanding global market for plants and plant-based products. Other topics brought up by legislators included the patents for medicinal plants, survey of medicinal plants and assistance to states for development of botanical gardens. The MoEF gave many of the replies under the subject, during the year.

 

The debate during the year mainly focused on the various measures being taken to address air and water pollution. A large number of discussions were held particularly on water pollution, including noise pollution. Important topics such as the tackling of pollution by industries and the assessment of the impact of pollution on human and environmental health were also covered. The MoEF gave the maximum number of replies during the year.

 

The discussion in the House under this subject area ranged from the nature of external assistance received for water resource development, the promotion of rainwater harvesting and inter-basin transfer of river water. A substantial number of questions were raised about the government’s plans and proposals for augmenting the supply and storage capacity of water across the country particularly measures taken to optimize water availability through watershed development, river linking, recharge and conservation measures. There were several discussions on the government’s initiatives to improve the supply of water to the agriculture sector. The access to clean water, the National Water Policy and sharing of water resources between states and with neighbouring countries were also brought up for discussion.

 

The highest number of questions was addressed to the Ministry of Water Resources during the year. The main focus of discussions in the House was the decline in wildlife population due to various factors such as poaching, smuggling of wildlife products and the steps taken to conserve wildlife habitat. Some discussions specifically focused on the declining population of tigers, etc. Other topics included the National Wildlife Board, antipoaching measures, illegal trade in animal parts and the upkeep of animals in zoos. There was also discussion held on the displacement of people due to the setting aside of lands for national parks and sanctuaries. The MoEF provided the highest number of replies during the year.