Indian Current Affairs | Current Affairs India - September 2011

Problem areas of MGNREGA
What distinguish MGNREGA from all previous rural public shemes - provides legal entitlement to work and it promises work on demand.If you are not provided work within 15 days of application, you will be provided unemployment allowance.A couple of problem areas are identified by the government in this flagship programme.
Problem areas
1. Demand for work is not collected by Grama Panchayats even though MIS has the facility to record that.
2. Since workers has little idea abiut when work will open, they have no option but to migrate. This can be mitgated by the preparation of true Labour Budget that reflects the anticipated quantum of demand of work.
3. Delays in payment to workers
4. Redarding the quality of assets reated under MGNREGA. For meeting this challange,Govenrment has decided that at least two-thirds of all work shall focus on development of land and water resources to result in sustainable increase in productivity
5. Inadequate grievences readdressal mechanisms.

M-STrIPES to monitor tiger conservation efforts
Monitoring System for Tigers’-Intensive Protection and Ecological Status, the software monitoring system launched by the Indian Government would enable field managers to keep an eye on forest guards’ patrol intensity and spatial coverage. Initially being implemented in six tiger reserves, the system aims to reduce the vulnerability of tigers.There is a 12.6% decline in tiger occupancy in peripheral and dispersal areas outside tiger reserves and tiger source populations during 2000-10.

Rajasthan Atomic Power Plant
The second twin unit of 700 MWe series has started construction work at Rajasthan Atomic Power Plant at Rawatbhata Site. r. The First Pour of Concrete (FPC) of RAPP-7&8 has commenced on 17th of July this year, which is inauguration of this important milestone in the construction of nuclear power project (NPP) signifying the start of the construction i.e. zero date.These units are scheduled to be completed in the year 2016-17. 50% of the power of these units i.e. 700 MWe has been earmarked for the Rajasthan state itself i.e. home state & balance to the Northern Grid. With the commencement of work for these two Units of 700 MWe each, the total capacity at RAP would become 2480 MWe. It is becoming virtually a Nuclear Park as a 500 Ton Nuclear fuel Fabrication Facility is being set up here by Nuclear Fuel Complex (NFC) & Heavy Water Plant, Kota (HWPK) is already functioning here.

Indian Continental Shelf Programme
According to UN Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS), coastal states have sovereign and economic rights over the resources of their continental shelf out to a idstance of 200 nautical miles (M) from thier territorial sea baselines. However, these rights can be extended beyond 200 M if it can be demonstrated that the shelf extends beyond this distance throughout the natural prolongation of its land territory. Determining the extent of this continental prolongation from the landmass, and hence defining the outer limit of the continental shelf, forms the basis of the Indian Continental Shelf Programme.India possess two of the world’s thickest accumulations of sediments on the seabed - the “Indus Fan” in the Arabian Sea and the “Bengal Fan” in the Bay of Bengal.

Road Safety
Road Safety is a multi-sectoral and multi-dimensional issue. It incorporates the development and management of road infrastructure, provision of safer vehicles, legislation and law enforcement, mobility planning, provision of health and hospital services, child safety, urban land use planning etc.Road safety is a shared, multi-sectoral, responsibility of the government and  a range of civil society stakeholders. The mortality rate of road accidents in India is 8.7 per  hundred thousand population as compared to 5.6 in UK and 6.7 in Japan.  In terms of mortality per 10,000 vehicles, the rate in India is as high as 14 as compared to  less than two in developed countries.  The cost of road crashes has been assessed  at one to two per cent of GDP in developed countries.  A study by the Planning Commission in 2002 estimated the social cost of road accidents in India at Rs. 55,000 crore annually ( 2000 prices), which constitutes about 3 per cent of the GDP. A report from WHO  forecasts that without any increased effort and new initiatives, the total number of road traffic injuries and deaths worldwide would rise by 65 per cent between  2000-2020 whereas in low-income and middle income countries, deaths  are expected to increase by as much as 80 per cent.

National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA)
Government of India set up NGRBA as an empowered planning, financing, monitoring and coordinating authority for the Ganga River, to ensure effective abatement of pollution and conservation of the river Ganga by adopting a holistic approach with the river basin as the unit of planning . The Authority will perform its function under the Chairmanship of the Prime Minister.
  • The NGRBA would be responsible for addressing the problem of pollution in Ganga in a bolistic and comprehensive manner. This will include water quality , minimum ecological flows, sustainable access and other issues relevant to river ecology and management.
  • The NGRBA will ensure minimum ecological flow in the Ganga by regulating water abstraction and by promoting water storage projects.
  • The NGRBA will not only be regulatory body but will also have developmental role in terms of planning & monitoring of the river conservation activities and ensuring that necessary resources are available.
  • The NGRBA would work for maintaining the water quality of the river Ganga upto the acceptable standards. The pollution abatement activities will be taken up through the existing implementation mechanisms in the States and also through Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) at the pollution hotspots.

National River Conservation Plan (NRCP)
The Centrally sponsored Scheme of National River Conservation Plan (NRCP) is being implemented by the central Government jointly with the State Government on a cost-sharing basis. The pollution abatement works under NRCP presently cover identified polluted stretches of 39 major rivers in 185 towns spread over 20 States in the country.The funding pattern is 70:30 between Centre and States with effect from 01.04.2001. The Yamuna Action Plan is being implemented with a funding pattern of 85:15 between the Central Government and the State Governments.

Sources of River Pollution
The rivers in the country are polluted by the discharge of treated and untreated municipal wastewater and industrial effluents. Out of the total measurable pollution in the rivers from various point sources, 75% is accounted for by municipal sewage from towns located along the banks of the river and remaining 25% is accounted for by industrial effluents. There is a large gap between generation and treatment of municipal sewage in the country. The responsibility of treatment of sewage lies with concerned municipal authorities. Until the entire sewage generated is comprehensively tackled , the problem of pollution in rivers cannot be satisfactorily resolved.

Pollution Abatement Measures on 383 Rivers in Country 
Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) is monitoring water quality of rivers at 1085 locations covering 383 rivers in terms of Dissolved Oxygen (DO), Bio-chemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) and Fecal Coliforms etc. Based on BOD levels, 150 polluted river stretches have been identified by CPCB. CPCB has identified BDO criteria is exceeding 30mg/l. B.O.D. is the amount of dissolved oxygen needed by aerobic biological organisms in a body of water to break down organic material present in a given water sample at certain temperature over a specific time period.