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Contents

  1. World Bank provides $400 million for Ganga Rejuvenation
  2. Nano-based Agri-input and food products in India
  3. 15th Finance Commission holds meeting with World Bank

WORLD BANK PROVIDES $400 MILLION FOR GANGA REJUVENATION

Focus: GS-III Environment and Ecology, Indian Economy

Why in news?

The World Bank and the Government of India signed a loan agreement to enhance support for the Namami Gange programme that seeks to rejuvenate the Ganga river.

Details

  • The Second National Ganga River Basin Project will help stem pollution in the iconic river and strengthen the management of the river basin which is home to more than 500 million people.
  • The World Bank has been supporting the government’s efforts since 2011 through the ongoing National Ganga River Basin Project, which helped set up the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) as the nodal agency to manage the river, and financed sewage treatment infrastructure in several riverside towns and cities.

Ongoing National Ganga River Basin Project:

  • National Ganga River Basin Project is helping the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) build institutional capacity for rejuvenating the river.
  • It is also financing key infrastructure investments in the five mainstem states – Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal.

The Ongoing project has:

  1. Helped set up the National Mission for Clean Ganga
  2. Helping build sewage collection and treatment infrastructure in 20 towns along the mainstem of the Ganga
  3. News sewage treatment capacity created and new sewage networks built
  4. Helped foster public mobilization for Ganga rejunivation

Namami Gange Programme

  • ‘Namami Gange Programme’, is an Integrated Conservation Mission, approved as ‘Flagship Programme’ by the Union Government to accomplish the twin objectives of effective abatement of pollution, conservation and rejuvenation of National River Ganga.
  • It is an umbrella programme which integrates previous and currently ongoing initiatives by enhancing efficiency, extracting synergies and supplementing them with more comprehensive & better coordinated interventions.
  • Namami Gange is implemented by the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), and its state counterparts—State Programme Management Groups.

National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA)

  • National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) is a financing, planning, implementing, monitoring and coordinating authority for the Ganges River, functioning under the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation (Now Ministry Jal Shakthi).
  • The mission of the organisation is to safeguard the drainage basin which feeds water into the Ganges by protecting it from pollution or overuse.

Neither Statutory not Constitutional.

National Ganga Council (NGC)

  • Union government had taken decision under River Ganga (Rejuvenation, Protection and Management) Authorities Order 2016 for a new body named “National Council for River Ganga (Rejuvenation, Protection and Management)” NCRG to replace existing NGRBA.
  • NGC would have on board the chief ministers of five Ganga basin states—Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh (UP), Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal—besides several Union ministers and it was supposed to meet once every year.

Neither Statutory nor Constitutional.

National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG)

  • National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) was registered as a society on under the Societies Registration Act 1860.
  • The government had set up the Clean Ganga Fund in 2014 – Using the funded money to finance NMCG (National Mission for Clean Ganga 2011), cleaning the river, setting up Waste Treatment Plants, Conservation of river biodiversity and related R&D projects.
  • NMCG is the implementation wing of National Council for Rejuvenation, Protection and Management of River Ganga (referred as National Ganga Council NGC).

The NMCG now has the status of an Authority and its key focus would be maintaining required ecological flows in the Ganga, abate pollution through planning, financing and execution of programmes including that of –

  1. Augmentation of Sewerage Infrastructure
  2. Catchment Area Treatment
  3. Protection of Floodplains
  4. Creating Public Awareness

The Union Cabinet has recently approved changes allowing the National Mission for Clean Ganga to fine those responsible for polluting the river, which was vested solely with the Central Pollution Control Board earlier. The power to fine the polluters is derived from the Environment Protection Act.

  • It has a two-tier management structure and comprises of Governing Council and Executive Committee, both of the tiers are headed by the Director General (DG), NMCG.
  • Similar to structure at national level, State Programme Management Groups (SPMGs) acts as implementing arm of State Ganga Committees. This structure attempts to bring all stakeholders on one platform to take a holistic approach towards the task of Ganga cleaning and rejuvenation.

Need for Ganga Rejuvenation

  • The Ganga Basin provides over one-third of India’s surface water, includes the country’s largest irrigated area, and is key to India’s water and food security.
  • Over 40 percent of India’s GDP is generated in the densely populated Basin.
  • But the Ganga river is today is facing pressures from human and economic activity that impact its water quality and flows.
  • Over 80 per cent of the pollution load in the Ganga comes from untreated domestic wastewater from towns and cities along the river and its tributaries.

NANO-BASED AGRI-INPUT AND FOOD PRODUCTS IN INDIA

Focus: GS-III Science and Technology

Why in news?

Minister for Science & Technology, Health & Family Welfare and Earth Sciences and Minister of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare and Rural Development & Panchayati Raj released ‘Guidelines for Evaluation of Nano-based Agri-input and food products in India’.

Details

  • The Guidelines have been prepared jointly by Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Science and Technology, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare (M/o A&FW) and Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare through concerted Inter-Ministerial efforts coordinated by DBT.
  • Nanobiotechnology has the potential to improve agricultural systems through increase in plant productivity and better crop protection for meeting the changing needs and requirement of providing food to the growing population.
  • These guidelines are aimed at assisting in making policy decisions by providing information on the existing regulations for nano-based products in agriculture and food and also to ensure quality, safety and efficacy of the targeted products.
  • These ‘Guidelines’ would help policy makers and regulators to frame effective provisions for future novel nano-based products in the agri-input and food sectors of India.
  • They will also encourage the Indian innovators and industries to develop and commercialize new nano-based formulations and products in these sectors.

How nanotechnology can aid in Agriculture?

Nanotechnology is a rapidly evolving field with the potential to take forward the agriculture and food industry with new tools which promise to increase food production in a sustainable manner and to protect crops from pests.

  1. Nanocapsules can enable effective penetration of herbicides, chemical fertilizers, and genes into the targeted part of the plant, ensuring a slow and constant release of the necessary substance to the plants with minimised environmental pollution.
  2. Nanosensors and delivery systems can allow for precision farming through the efficient use of natural resources like water, nutrients, chemicals etc., and also detect the plant viruses and soil nutrient levels.
  3. Nano-barcodes and nano-processing could also be used to monitor the quality of agriculture produce.
  4. Nanoemulsions can be used to reduce bacteria on produce.
  5. Hybrid polymers can be used in packaging and to reduce spoilage of produce.
  6. Nanofertilizers, which are modified fertilizers synthesized by chemical, physical, or biological methods using nanotechnology to improve their attributes and composition – can be used to enhance the productivity of crops.

Click Here to read more about Nanotechnology in India and Nano Mission


15TH FINANCE COMMISSION HOLDS MEETING WITH WORLD BANK

Focus: GS-III Indian Economy

Why in news?

The 15th Finance commission held a detailed meeting with representatives of the World Bank, Niti Aayog and member of the Commission’s High-level group (HLG) on the health sector.

In context of the pandemic, a billion-dollar loan has been given by World Bank to the Government of India.

Highlights of what was said about India’s Health Sector

  • Finance Commission may like to look at health in three different ways: grants to enhance per capita spending, block grant for capacity building and a performance incentive for certain health outcomes.
  • More than 60% of health demand in India is supplied by private sector.
  • Leveraging private clinics along with DBT may be used as tools to increase engagement with private sector.
  • In health sector, institutions like district hospitals, primary health centres, private providers, municipalities, social sector system may be leveraged carefully.
  • World Bank could play a role in designing and implementation of such programs while working closely with such institutions.

Way Forward: A presentation made by World Bank Highlighted that:

  1. There is scope for service delivery reforms by using innovation, leveraging technology, institutional strengthening, coordination and empowering of States.
  2. The adverse economic impact is likely to be proportionally larger than the direct impact of the coronavirus on morbidity and mortality.
  3. Quality of care has emerged as a key issue in India’s health system.
  4. There is also a need for renewed focus on equity and need.
  5. Greater attention to resource allocation is required within States.
  6. Service delivery should rely on a robust public/private mix.
  7. Government of India can be an enabler of ‘open source’ approach to promote service delivery reforms.
  8. Service delivery innovations need to be encouraged like introducing technology solutions, primary health care centers in urban areas may be run by contracted private providers, public-private partnerships may be encouraged in areas of digital technology, data science, bottom of pyramid models; and multi-sector actions and community mobilization.
  9. Service delivery innovations need to be encouraged like introducing technology solutions, primary health care centers in urban areas may be run by contracted private providers, public-private partnerships may be encouraged in areas of digital technology, data science, bottom of pyramid models; and multi-sector actions and community mobilization.
  10. Strengthen national and state institutions to effectively prepare for pandemics (NCDC) and develop ICMR as a global center for excellence in medical research.

Click Here to read more about the Finance Commission and the XV-FC

Click Here to read more about the World Bank and the WB Group

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