UPSC IAS Interview 2017-18

E-Waste Management

by Smt. Kalpana Palkhiwala, Deputy Director, Press Information Bureau, Delhi

Electronic waste or E-waste is one of the rapidly growing environmental problems of the World. In India, the electronic waste management assumes greater significance not only due to the generation of our own waste but also dumping of E-waste particularly computer waste from the developed countries.

Electronic waste which is popularly known as E-waste can be defined as electronic equipments, products connected with power plugs, batteries which have become obsolete etc. E-waste also encompasses ever growing range of obsolete electronic devices such as computers, servers, main frames, monitors, TVs and display devices, telecommunication devices such as cellular phones and pagers, calculators, audio and video devices, printers, scanners, copiers and fax machines besides refrigerators, air conditioners, washing machines, and microwave ovens. E-waste also covers recording devices such as DVDs, CDs, floppies, tapes, printing cartridges, military electronic waste, automobile catalytic converters, electronic components such as chips, processors, mother boards, printed circuit boards, industrial electronics such as sensors, alarms, sirens, security devices.

E-waste contains over 1000 different substances many of which are toxic and require to be handled in an environmentally sound manner.

Indian Scenario
There is an estimate that the total obsolete computers originating from offices, business houses, industries and household is of the order of 2 million. Manufactures and assemblers in a single calendar year are estimated to produce around 1200 tonnes of electronic scrap. The consumers finds it convenient to buy a new computer rather than upgrade the old one due to the changing configuration, technology and the attractive offers of the manufacturers. Due to the lack of governmental legislations on E-waste and standards for disposal, these toxic hi-tech products mostly end up in landfills or are partly recycled in a unhygienic conditions or thrown into waste streams.

The Government has notified the Hazardous Waste [Management & Handling] Rules, 1989 which were amended in 2000 and 2003 under the Environment [Protection] Act, 1986. These Rules regulate the generation, collection, storage, treatment, disposal, export and import of hazardous waste. According to these Rules, all hazardous wastes are required to be treated and disposed off in specially designed secured landfills. These Rules provide for the development of common hazardous waste treatment, storage and disposal facility thorough joint venture partnership. These industries are required to obtain authorization from the State Pollution Control Boards(SPCBs). Under the Rules, no import of hazardous waste is allowed for disposal and the same is only allowed for recycling, reuse or reprocessing.

Initiatives for Management of E-waste
The Ministry of Environment & Forests constituted a Task Force in August, 2007 to finalize the Guidelines for Environmentally Sound Management of E-waste. The Guidelines have been approved and placed on the web-site of the Ministry [] and Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) ( They shall apply to all those who handle E-waste, which include generators, collectors, transporters, dismantlers, recyclers and stakeholders of E-waste irrespective of their scale of operation.

E-waste contains several different substances many of which are toxic and potentially hazardous for environment and human health, if these are not handled in an environmentally sound manner. Classification of E-waste shall depend upon the extent of presence of hazardous constituents in it.

E-waste contains toxic substances such as lead and cadmium in circuit boards; lead oxide and cadmium in monitor Cathode Ray Tubes (CRTs); mercury in switches and flat biphenyls (PCBs) in capacitors and transformers and brominated flame retardant on printed circuit boards, plastic casing, cable and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) cable insulation that release highly toxic dioxins and furans when burned to retrieve copper from the wires.

The provisions under the Hazardous Wastes (Management and Handling) Rules 1989 as amended in 2000 and 2003 include E-waste. The residues and wastes generated from the operators in electronic industry are considered as hazardous wastes. All electronic manufacturing units are required to have authorization under these rules. Further, as per the provisions of these Rules, Electrical and Electronic Assemblies are covered under category B 1110 of the Schedule 2 applicable for Import and Export of Hazardous Wastes, and the wastes under this category are only permitted for direct reuse and not for recycling or final disposal.

The manufacture of electronic goods can lead to air pollution due to gaseous emission comprising of solvent vapours, emission from doping materials, particulate matter and other toxic emissions. And water pollution due to the effluents generated during the manufacturing processes along with the solid waste such as residues, sludge, filter cake, etc. during the manufacturing processes.

Water Resources Development in the Country

by Sanjay Kumar,Media & Communication Officer, PIB, New Delhi

Water on the earth is moving through the hydrological cycle. The utilization of water for most of the users - human, animal or plant involves movement of water. The dynamic and renewable nature of the water resources and the recurrent need for its utilization requires water resources be measured in terms of its flow rates. What is effectively available for consumption and other uses is a small proportion of the quantity available in rivers, lakes and ground water. The crisis about water resources development and management arises, because most of the water is not available for use and secondly it is characterized by its highly uneven spatial distribution. Accordingly, the importance of water has been recognized and greater emphasis is being laid on its economic use and better management.

Global and Indian Water Scenario
70 per cent of the earth’s surface is covered with water and many have an image of the world as a blue planet. The reality, however, is that 97 percent of the total water on earth of about 1400 Billion Cubic Meter (BCM) is saline and only 3 percent is available as fresh water. About 77 percent of this fresh water is locked up in glaciers and permanent snow and 11 percent is considered to occur at depths exceeding 800 m below the ground, which cannot be extracted economically with the technology available today. About 11 percent of the resources are available as extractable ground water within 800 m depth and about 1 percent is available as surface water in lakes and rivers. Out of the 113,000 bcm of rain and snow received on the earth, evaporation losses account for about 72,000 bcm, leaving a balance of about 41,000 bcm, out of which about 9000-14000 bcm is considered utilisable.

The annual precipitation including snowfall in India is of the order of 4000 bcm and the natural runoff in the rivers is computed to be about 1869 bcm. The utilisable surface water and replenishable ground water resources are of the order of 690 bcm and 433 bcm respectively. Thus, the total water resources available for various uses, on an annual basis, are of the order of 1123 bcm.

Although the per capita availability of water in India is about 1869 cubic meters as in 1997 against the benchmark value of 1000 cu m signifying ‘water-starved’ condition, there is wide disparity in basin-wise water availability due to uneven rainfall and varying population density in the country. The availability is as high as 14057 cu m per capita in Brahmaputra/Barak Basin and as low as 307 cu m in Sabarmati basin. Many other basins like Mahi, Tapi, Pennar are already water stressed.

Historical Perspective
India is a vast country with very deep historical roots and strong cultural traditions. These are reflected in our social fabric and institutions of community life. We have retained the spirit and essence of these traditions and have remained attached to our roots in spite of social movements of varied nature through the millennia. Some of our traditions, evolved and developed by our ancestors thousands of years ago have played important roles in different spheres of our life. One of the most important among these is the tradition of collecting, storing and preserving water for various uses.

The tradition probably started at the dawn of civilization with small human settlements coming up on the banks of rivers and streams. When, due to vagaries of nature, rivers and streams dried up or the flow in them dwindled, they moved away to look for more reliable sources of water. In due course of time, large settlements came up along the banks of perennial rivers that provided plentiful water. As the population increased, settlements developed into towns and cities and agriculture expanded.

Ancient Period
The Satavahanas (1st Century B.C. to 2nd Century A.D.) introduced brick and ring wells for extraction of water. Lake and well irrigation techniques were developed on a large scale during the time of Pandya, Chera and Chola dynasties in south India (1 st–3 rd Century A.D) and large dams were built across Cauvery and Vaigai rivers. A number of Irrigation tanks were constructed by developing large natural depressions. Water resources development on a large scale took place during the Gupta Era (300-500 A.D.). In the south, the Pallavas expanded the irrigation systems in the 7 th Century A.D. The famous Cauvery Anicut was built during this period. Large-scale construction of tanks (Tataka) for harvesting rainwater was also done during this period in Tamil Nadu.

The Chola period (985-1205 A.D) witnessed the introduction of advanced irrigation systems, which brought about prosperity in the Deccan region. This included not only anicuts across rivers and streams but also a number of tanks with connecting channels. This new system was more reliable in terms of water availability and provided better flexibility in water distribution. The Rajput dynasty (1000-1200 A.D) promoted irrigation works in Northern India. The 647 sq km Bhopal Lake was built under King Bhoja. In Eastern India, Pal and Sen Kings (760-1100 A.D) built a number of large tanks and lakes in their kingdoms. Rajtarangini of Kalhana gives a detailed account of irrigation systems developed in the 12th Century in Kashmir.

Medieval Period
The Medieval period, encouraged the farmers to build their own rainwater harvesting systems and wells. The Western Yamuna Canal built in 1355 to extend irrigation facilities in the dry land tracts of the present-day Haryana and Rajasthan. Emperor Shahjahan built many canals, prominent among them being the Bari Doab or the Hasli Canal. Under the rule of Rangila Muhammad Shah, the Eastern Yamuna Canal was built to irrigate large tracts in Uttar Pradesh.

The Vijaynagar Kings (1336-1548 A.D.) in the south took keen interest in building large and small storage tanks. Anantraj Sagar tank was built with a 1.37 km long earthen dam across the Maldevi River. The well-known Korangal dam was built under King Krishnadevaraya. The Bahmani rulers (1388-1422 A.D.) introduced canal irrigation for the first time in the eastern provinces of the Deccan. Sultan Zain Uddin (1420-1470 A.D.) introduced extensive network of canals in Utpalpur, Nadashaila, Bijbihara and Advin areas of Kashmir.

Pre – Independence
Agriculture has been the backbone of the Indian economy since time immemorial as bulk of the population in rural areas depended on agriculture for its livelihood. References to irrigation abound in the folklore and ancient literature of the country. The physiographical features of the area largely conditioned the nature of these works. In the arid and semi-arid plains of North India, perennial rivers like Indus and the Ganges easily diverted floods through inundation channels. In the peninsular part, where rivers are not perennial and rainfall is scanty, the practice of trapping storm water in large tanks for agricultural and domestic purposes was popular. In areas where high ground water table permitted lift irrigation, wells were common. The Grand Anicut across Cauvery River still remains by far one of the greatest engineering feats of ancient India. The Viranrayana and Gangaikondacholapuram tanks in Tamil Nadu and Anantaraja Sagar in Andhra Pradesh were constructed in the 10th and 13th centuries. The Western and Eastern Yamuna Canals and Hasli Canal in the Ravi were dug in the 16th and 18th centuries.

Under the British rule, irrigation development continued with renovation and improvement of existing irrigation works and with this experience, more new diversion works such as Upper Ganga Canal, Upper Bari Doab Canal, Krishna and Godavari delta systems were taken up and completed between 1836 and 1866. By the second half of the 19th century, irrigation potential to the tune of about 7.5 million hectares (m. ha) had been developed.

Based on recommendations of the First Irrigation Commission, the period during 1900-1947 saw more irrigation development and the potential created increased to 22.5 m ha at the time of independence. There was a distinct shift from diversion works to survey, investigation and implementation of storage works during this period. Dams like Krishnaraja Sagar and Mettur were constructed across Cauvery River during this period. Storages were identified on Tungabhadra, Krishna, Narmada, Sabarmati, Mahi and Sutlej rivers. One reason for this shift was the realization that cheap diversion sites had already been exhausted. The need for productive irrigation and not merely protective irrigation was another. It was also realized that arid and drought areas could be benefited only by transferring water from other areas, which would be possible only with storage dams.

Post – Independence
After independence, the tempo of irrigation development was sharply accelerated with the objective of attaining self-sufficiency in food grains to meet the needs of a growing population. Construction of large storages like Bhakra, Hirakud, Nagarjunasagar -called by Pandit Nehru as ‘Temples of Modern India’, were taken up and completed. The criteria for economic evaluation of storage projects were changed from the financial return evaluation to a benefit- cost ratio evaluation. The return to the Government on investment was, thus, no more relevant but benefit to the farmer (at a cost to the Government) became the main evaluation criterion.

The development of irrigation potential took place in successive plans by leaps and bounds and reached an impressive 89.5 m ha by the end of the Eighth Five Year Plan. The country achieved self-sufficiency in food grains by producing 200 million tones and import of food grains became a thing of the past. The Second Irrigation Commission, set up in 1969, while not advocating any major change in the policy of irrigation development, cautioned in its report that areas like conjunctive use of surface and ground water, command area development, watershed development, increase in water rates to meet Operation and Maintenance (O & M) costs as well as a part of the interest on investment also needed attention.

The Government took a number of policy decisions in pursuance of the above recommendations, relating to command area development, protection of environment and forests, conjunctive use, flood plain zoning, regulation on use of ground water, preservation of water quality and the like. These measures have met with varying degrees of success and have had a bearing on the irrigation development achieved so far and also in shaping the future strategy in this sector.

A new financial order needed to prevent future crises

by Ashok Handoo, Freelance Journalist

The adverse impact of global financial crisis on developed as well as emerging economies the world over notwithstanding, India is confident that it will not only be able to withstand the challenge but will also come out stronger. The Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh in his inaugural address at the Leadership Summit in New Delhi, said “we have the ability to sustain a growth rate of about 8 percent. And we will do so” The confidence that India had the “resources and the wisdom to grapple and deal” with the crisis, is no less reassuring. He emphasized that all instruments of public policy – monetary, fiscal, public investment and the exchange rate will be deployed to tackle the crisis. Noting that the global economy was in “deep crisis” and passing through “choppy waters” Dr. Singh said “we can and we will survive this.”

The Prime Minister’s words are quite significant in a situation when the country needs to boost consumer confidence by increasing consumer spending and improving job securities. This needs a concerted effort both within the country and at the international level.

The Finance Minister too, has made it clear at the Economic Editors’ Conference that there is no fear of recession hitting the country, as the growth rate for the first quarter of the current fiscal is 7.9 percent. The second quarter, he said, undoubtedly will show a positive growth. He urged the Media not to use the word recession with regard to Indian Economy. Admitting that we are passing through a difficult situation Shri Chidambaram said both the Government and the RBI will keep on responding to the situation suitably, as it has been so far. The Government, he said, is contemplating to increase expenditure in the infrastructure and the flagship programmes as a countercyclical measure to global slow down. There was enough indication that if the inflation rate continues to decline, policy rates may also moderate. The general outlook, however, continues to be of “cautious optimism”

The Planning Commission is of the view that “India could get away lightly due to its limited exposure in the international market”. In its recent analysis on the impact of global financial crisis on India, it said the growth rate of Indian Economy in the current financial year will continue to be one of the highest in the world.

To add to this optimism, the Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Board Shri C.B.Bhave said that the Indian stocks would be the first to bounce back in the global meltdown and that there was nothing to worry about. He pointed out that “we have not found anything in the market that would suggest something had seriously gone wrong with the market itself.”

One important reason for India’s optimism is that the country’s financial system is well regulated.

Fortunately, the Global crisis is receiving a global response. Leaders at the G-20 summit, which comprises both the developed as well as the emerging economies, held in Washington agreed to face the challenge together. The summit was emphatic that the problem did not develop overnight and it will therefore not be solved overnight, but with continued cooperation and determination it will be solved. It was also pointed out that the crisis offered a wide open window of opportunity for financial reforms.

But questions are being asked whether the crisis signaled failure of globalization. Some economists are worried about the impact of the financial crisis on poverty reduction if it spurts protectionism, undermining free trade policies. The Leaders were of the view that the answer is to fix the problem and move forward with the free market principles. President Bush was emphatic that the answer did not lie in reinventing the system.

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) members who met at the Peruvian capital, Lima, warned that the crisis should not be treated with protectionism. It is being emphasized that the global crisis needs a global response through better cooperation among the nations of the world. But some European countries like France and Germany are in favour of greater intervention. They want to change the rules of the game in the financial world and have been expressing surprise over warnings against too much regulation of financial markets.

There is no denying the fact that the world economic situation is grim and that the impact of the current crisis will be most severe on the poorest of the countries and the poorest populations of other countries.

The crisis has spared no one. India is facing a growth slow-down from 9.3 percent last year, to around 8 percent this year. China, one of the largest economies of the world, may see a growth fall from well over 11 percent last year to 9 percent this year. Other countries are faced with a similar situation. What is now needed is all possible measures to boost consumer demand. And that is what India and other countries are doing. Central banks world wide are cutting key interest rates with some even bringing it close to zero rate.

Taiwan introduced a novel scheme recently. Shoppers are being handed over $100 in redeemable vouchers in a bid to beat global crisis. These vouchers will be valid in shops, restaurants and elsewhere during 2009. People who donate coupons will get tax concessions.

The Indian Finance Minister Shri P Chidambaram has been asking the industry to cut down prices instead of production to boost demand.

The Government on its part is taking both monetary and fiscal measures to make affordable credit available both for the business and to the people. Customs duties on Aviation Turbine Fuel and other commodities have since been reduced to let the airfares be reduced. Huge investment proposed in infrastructure and social sector will boost demand. Housing could be another sector for investment and incentives as it involves several other sectors of the economy. The Government is alive to the problem of dumping in India by other countries through cheap exports. Recently it imposed a 5 percent import duty on a range of iron and steel products and slapped a 20 percent duty on Soyabeen Oil imports to protect domestic producers.

Normally a depreciation of the Rupee should have been beneficial to the exporters as it would mean less cost for the exported goods. But in the present scenario, when the global demand itself has shrunk, Indian exporters are in a difficult position. The Commerce Secretary Shri G.K.Pillai has indicated that there is a possibility of exports falling by about 25 percent this year which may lead to a shortfall in meeting the targeted $200 billion mark. The need of the hour is that emerging economies like India and China need to be consulted in forging a solution to the world economic crisis.

One cannot agree more with the German Chancellor Angela Markel when she recently told the 10th German World Bank Forum in Frankfurt that efforts to reform the world can succeed only if emerging economies such as India and China are involved. The World Bank President Robert Zoellick speaking at the forum warned that more action was needed to prevent the world financial crisis from turning into a human crisis. This calls for a new International financial order in which emerging economies of the world like China, India and Brazil have a better say. Tougher accounting rules to prevent future financial crises and an early warning system have to be a part of the solution. (PIB Features)

Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission

JNNURM - an initiative with a vision
by Manisha Jain, Freelance Journalist

The Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), aims to convert cities into engines of economic growth, to encourage urban fast-track integrated development.

The JNNURM was launched with a lot of fanfare by Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on 3rd December, 2005. A total of 343 projects were sanctioned. It envisages an investment of more than Rs 1,00,000 crore with committed Central Government share of Rs 50,000 crore.

The State Governments and the Urban Local Bodies will contribute Rs 50,000 crore. The Mission is to be implemented in a time-frame of seven years (2005-2011). The objective is to ensure integrated development of urban infrastructure and services, secure effective linkages between asset creation and management and to ensure adequate investment of funds to address deficiencies in the urban infrastructure. It lays particular emphasis on providing basic services to the urban poor.

JNNURM has two components: Urban Infrastructure and Governance (UIG) for the bigger cities and Urban Infrastructure Development Scheme for small and medium towns and aims to encourage reforms and to fast track planned development of identified cities with a focus on urban infrastructure. The progress of municipal reforms is an important component of the mission which enables a city to claim additional funds under this scheme. As per the 2001 population census, 285.35 million people reside in urban areas. It is about 28 per cent of the total population of the country.

The urban population has grown five times in the post-independence era. It has also given rise to an increase in the number of urban poor. As per the 2001 estimate, the slum population is estimated to be 61.8 million. Slum dwellers cause considerable pressure on the urban basic services and infrastructure. In order to cope with the massive problems that have emerged as a result of rapid urban growth, it has become imperative to draw up a coherent urbanization policy/strategy to implement projects in select cities on a mission mode.

In its third year since inception, the JNNURM is now progressing at an even pace. Under Urban Infrastructure and Governance (UIG) which focuses on 63 mission cities , 324 projects have been sanctioned covering 54 cities in 26 states and union territories in the country. The cost of these projects is estimated to be Rs 30,135.23 crore. The JNNURM came in for appreciation from the then Finance Minister Shri P Chidambaram, who proposed to increase the allocation of the mission from Rs 5,482 crore in 2007-08 to Rs 6,866 crore for 2008-09. The mission is seen as the main vehicle for improving urban infrastructure and has also succeeded in bringing about reforms in urban governance and urban related laws.

City Development Plan
The mission will also encourage cities to bring out a comprehensive City Development Plan (CDP) as against the traditional land-use plan. A development plan is an essential document to be prepared by cities to avail of central funds under the JNNURM. This plan will map the socio-economic infrastructure of the city, such as availability of basic healthcare and education—whether municipal schools and health clinics are located in the vicinity of informal or formal urban poor settlements.

This will facilitate the identification of areas not covered by health and education initiatives of municipalities. The CDP will also help integrate socio-economic development with infrastructure development by demarcating spaces for industry and services in the city, providing required infrastructure and streamlining licensing process through single window clearances. Despite the success stories surrounding the JNNURM, it is facing a shortage of funds.

Earlier, in its report submitted to the Planning Commission, the task force had cited reasons for additional government allocation and said that raising funds through external assistance programmes like the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, was “a limited option.” The report also underlined the need to include the bankruptcy clause in municipal laws so that appropriate mechanisms can be put in place if local bodies are unable to meet their debt service obligations.

Mission Aims
The Mission envisages a change in the Rent Control legislation. This will encourage construction and development of more housing stock, promoting efficient and healthy rental/tenancy market. This will improve the housing situation, making comfortable houses available. The mission also envisages rationalization of stamp duties in states and cities and transparency in transfer of property. The Mission plans to bring about changes in the methods of levy, administration and collection of property taxes with the aim to establish a transparent, non-discretionary and equitable property tax regime. It also aims to provide basic services like water supply and sanitation to the urban poor.

Additional Funds
The Urban Development Ministry has sought additional funds to the tune of Rs 30,000 crore from the Government for the completion of infrastructure projects in 63 mission cities under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission, during the Eleventh Plan. The task force report recently submitted to the Planning Commission has underlined that the Central grant funding of Rs 20,000 crore is necessary for funding urban infrastructure projects. An additional Rs 10,000 crore has been sought for the provision of incentive for better performing states and cities.

JNNURM and Urban Mobility
by Tasneem F. Khan, Media & Communications Officer, PIB, Delhi

A momentum that rebuilds our cities and reforms the way the Urban Local Bodies are governed, a commitment to the development and expansion of physical infrastructure, Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), a first of its kind programme was launched on December 3, 2005.

JNNURM Objectives
The objectives of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission is to ensure:
 Focused attention to integrated development of infrastructural services in the cities covered under the Mission;
 Secure effective linkages between asset creation and asset management so that the infrastructural services created in the cities are not only maintained efficiency but also become self-sustaining over time;
 Ensure adequate investment of funds to fulfill deficiencies in the urban infrastructural services;
 Planned development of identified cities including peri-urban areas, out growths, urban corridors, so that urbanization takes place in a dispersed manner;
 Scale up delivery of civic amenities and provision of utilities with emphasis on universal access to urban poor and
 To take up urban renewal programme, i.e. re-development of inner (old) cities area to reduce congestion.

The Mission comprises two submissions, Sub-Mission I for Urban Infrastructure and Governance (UIG) and Submission II for Basic Services for the Urban Poor (BSUP). Ministry of Urban Development has the responsibility for UIG, while the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation has the responsibility for BSUP.

Progress of Projects
As of now, 343 projects at a total cost of Rs. 32,795.12 crore have been sanctioned under the Urban Infrastructure & Governance sub-mission of JNNURM. The Additional Central Assistance committed by the Government towards meeting the central share of the total projects cost for these 343 projects is Rs. 15,892.85 crore, out of which an amount of Rs. 4,478.85 crore has been released to the Mission Cities.

The sector-wise break up of the 343 sanctioned projects shows that, in the areas of basic services, 103 water supply projects have been approved at a total sanctioned cost of Rs. 11,938.95 crore; 66 sewerage projects have been approved at a total sanctioned cost of Rs. 8,001.88 crore; 37 drainage (including storm water drainage) projects have been approved at a total sanctioned cost of Rs. 3,262.02 crore; and, 30 solid waste management projects have been approved at a total sanctioned cost of Rs. 1,581.57 crore. In the area of urban transport, 16 MRTS projects have been approved at a total sanctioned cost of Rs. 4,084.59 crore and 68 road projects have been approved at a total sanctioned cost of Rs. 2,838.74 crore. Other sectors for which projects have been approved include urban renewal, development of heritage areas, preservation of water bodies and other urban transport.

Out of the 343 sanctioned projects, 22 projects have been physically completed. These include six projects in Hyderabad, five projects in Surat, four projects in Ahmedabad, two projects in Visakhapatnam, and one project each in the cities of Bangalore, Bhopal, Indore, Nagpur and Nanded. The total sanctioned cost of these completed projects is Rs. 1,077.73 crore.

Progress of Reforms
As far as the progress of implementation of state level reforms till the end of year three of the Mission is concerned, 10 out of 11 states have transferred 12th Schedule Functions to the ULBs; 17 out of 22 states have constituted DPCs; 3 out of 8 states have constituted MPCs; 10 out of 14 states have transferred the City Planning Functions to the ULBs; all 12 states which were to have Transferred/Integrated Water Supply and Sanitation Functions have implemented the reform; 7 out of 12 states have undertaken Reform in Rent Control; all 8 states which were to have rationalized Stamp Duty to 5 per cent have achieved the reform; all 28 states which were to have repealed ULCRA have achieved the reform; 5 out of 18 states have enacted the Community Participation Law and 10 out of 16 states enacted the Public Disclosure Law.

Regarding implementation of ULB reforms —11 out of 31 cities have implemented e-Governance Reforms; 23 out of 33 cities have shifted to Double Entry Accrual Based Accounting; 11 out of 12 cities have achieved an 85 per cent Coverage of Property Tax; 9 out of 10 cities have achieved 90 per cent Collection Efficiency in Property Tax; all 6 cities have achieved 100 per cent Cost Recovery in water supply; 3 out of 4 cities have achieved 100 per cent Cost Recovery in Solid waste and 44 out of 47 cities have implemented Internal Earmarking of Funds for Services to Urban Poor.

JNNURM has accelerated growth in the selected 63 Mission cities spread all over the country in mission-mode approach and aims to provide quality urban infrastructure and governance in these cities during the 7 year Mission period. Another components of JNNURM is the Urban Infrastructure Development Scheme for Small & Medium Towns (UIDSSMT), which is as its name suggests is for towns and cities other than 63 Mission cities. Against the allocation of Rs. 6,400 crores during the Mission period; 691 projects in 558 towns in 23 states and two Union Territories have been sanctioned having a project cost of Rs. 8045.45 crores. A number of parallel initiatives i.e. Credit Rating of Urban local Bodies, Bench marking of Urban services, launch of Urban Sanitation Policy, National Mission Mode project on e-governance, Peer experience and Reflective Learning (PEARL), and Public Private Partnership (PPP) have been launched to sustain Mission activities.

The Ministry of Urban Development had decided that from the year 2008, a mega Conference-cum-Exhibition on Urban Mobility be organized every year coinciding with the anniversary of the launch of Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). This year the aim of this Conference-cum-Exhibition is to bring all technology and service providers from India and abroad in all the fields of Urban Transport Planning from Pedestrians, Non-Motorised Transport, Metro, Bus, BRTS (Bus Rapid Transit System), LRT (Light Rail Transit), Trams, Inland Water Transport, Ropeways, Parking and the ITS (Intelligent Transportation System) on one platform to exchange and benefit with the experience, development of each other for better transportation planning. This will go a long way not only in dissemination of information but also in capacity building at various levels.

Integrated Child Development Service

ICDS taking care of nutritional needs of children
by V. Mohan Rao,Freelance Journalist

The Integrated Child Development Service (ICDS) Scheme providing for supplementary nutrition, immunization and pre-school education to the children is a popular flagship programme of the government. It is one of the world’s largest programs providing for an integrated package of services for the holistic development of the child. As per 2001 Census, there are around 160 million children, constituting 15.42 per cent of the scheme in the country.

The scheme gets a further boost with the Ministry of Women and Child Development deciding to expand and universalize it by increasing the number of Anganwadis to 14 lakhs from the existing 10 lakhs as per the commitment to the National Common Minimum Programme and increasing weightage cost of supplementary nutrition from Rs. 2 to Rs. 4 per child and in the case of severely malnourished children to Rs. 6 per child. Nutritional support and referral medical services are available to pregnant and lactating mothers and adolescent girls also at Anganwadis.

In order to reduce malnutrition among children and the pregnant and lactating mother, the government provides supplementary nutrition through Angawnwadis under the scheme. The government provided around Rs. 3338 crore during 2007-08 to the states. The allocation for the purpose has been increased to Rs.5984.95 crore in the current financial year.

Under the scheme, innovative methods are used to provide pre-school education to the children at Anganwadis. The children feel more comfortable as generally they are accompanied by their mothers and Anganwadi workers from neighbourbood. India is the home to the largest child population in the world. ICDS is the foremost symbol of India’s commitment to its children and it is the response to the challenge of providing pre-school education on one hand and breaking the vicious cycle of malnutrition, morbidity, reduced learning capacity and mortality, on the other. It is an inter-sectoral programme, which seeks to directly reach out to children, below six years, especially from vulnerable and remote areas.

Objectives of ICDS
Laying the foundation for proper psychological development of the child, improving nutritional and health status of children up to the age of six, reducing incidence of mortality, morbidity, malnutrition and school dropouts, enhancing the capability of the mother and family to look after the health, nutritional and development needs of the child and achieving effective coordination of policy and implementation among various departments to promote child development.

Services Package
The scheme provides an integrated approach for converging basic services through community-based workers and helpers. The services are provided at Anganwadis. The Anganwadi, literally a courtyard play center, is a child-care center located within the village itself.
The services provided under the ICDS scheme are: supplementary nutrition, non-formal pre-school education, immunization, health checkup, referral services and nutrition and health education. The supplementary nutrition includes supplementary feeding and growth monitoring, and prophylaxis against Vitamin A deficiency and control of nutritional anemia. All families in the community are surveyed to identify children below the age of six and pregnant and nursing mothers. They avail of supplementary feeding support for 300 days a year. By providing supplementary feeding, the Anganwadi attempts to bridge the protein energy gap between the recommended dietary allowance and average dietary intake of children and women. Children below the age of three are weighed once a month and children in the age group of 3 to 6 are weighed every quarter. Weight-for-age growth cards are maintained for all children below six years. This helps to detect growth faltering and helps in assessing nutritional status. Besides, severely malnourished children are given special supplementary feeding and referred to health sub-centres, primary health centers as and when required.

Pre-school Education
Under ICDS scheme, children are provided pre-school education also besides supplementary nutrition, health-checkup and immunization. Around 3.39 crore children are at Anganwadis as on March 31st this year. Innovative methods are used to provide pre-school education to the children in the age group of 3 to 6 at Anganwadis. Moreover, children feel comfortable as their mothers accompany them. This component for the children is directed towards providing and ensuring a natural joyful and stimulating environment with the emphasis on necessary inputs for optimal growth and development. The early learning component of the ICDS is a significant input for providing a sound foundation for cumulative lifelong learning and development. It also contributes to the universalization of primary education by providing to the child the necessary preparation for primary schooling and offering substitute care to younger siblings, thus freeing the older ones, especially girls to attend school. Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru said “No subject is of greater importance than that of education. It is the men and women in a country that make and build a nation and it is education that is supposed to build those men and women.”

Health Care
The health check-up of the children less than 6 years, antenatal care of expectant mothers and postnatal care of nursing mothers are taken care by the medical staff in-charge of Health Sub-Centre and Primary Health Centres under the Reproductive Child Health (RCH) programme of the Health and Family Welfare Ministry. Other health services include immunization, management of malnutrition, treatment of diarrhoea, deworming and distribution of medicines etc.
Immunization of pregnant women and infants protects children from six vaccine-preventable diseases like poliomyelitis, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, tuberculosis and measles. These are the major preventable causes of child mortality, disability, morbidity and related malnutrition. Immunization of pregnant women against tetanus also reduces maternal and neonatal mortality.

Funds Allocation
ICDS is a centrally-sponsored scheme implemented through the state governments and UT administrations with 100 per cent financial assistance for inputs other than supplementary nutrition, which the states are to provide out of their own resources. However, from 2005-06, the government has decided to share with the 50 per cent cost of supplementary nutrition. Almost three times increase has been made since then. During 2007-08 allocation of Rs. 1800 crore was made for supplementary nutrition which has been increased to Rs. 2261 crore in the current year.

Social Security
The government has introduced Anganwadi Karyakartri Bima Yojana to Anganwadi workers and Anganwadi helpers with effect from April 2004 under the Life Insurance Corporation’s Social Security Scheme. In order to motivate Anganwadi workers and give recognition to good voluntary work, a scheme of award has been introduced both at the national and state levels. The award comprises of Rs.25,000 cash and a Citation at Central level and Rs.5,000 cash and a Citation at state level. The remuneration of Anganwadi workers has been increased to Rs.1500/- from the existing Rs.700/- and that of the Anganwadi workers to Rs.750 from the existing Rs.500/- with effect from April 2008. The government has also decided to provide uniform to the Anganwadi staff. This will benefit over 18 lakh staff.

As many as 787 lakh beneficiaries — 650 lakh children (0-6 years) and about 137 lakh pregnant and lactating mothers are covered under the scheme through over 10.53 lakh Anganwadi centers across the country. The government had issued instructions to all states to give priority in locating Anganwadi centers in areas predominantly inhabited by Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Minorities. It is significant to note that the number of beneficiaries for supplementary nutrition have registered an increase of 97 per cent during the period from March 2004 to January 2008. Similarly, the number of children (3 – 6 years) attending Anganwadi centers for pre-school education has increased from 204 lakh to 326 lakh, an increase of 60 per cent during the same period.
Considering the importance of ICDS, the government has given very high priority to the scheme.The significant achievements in its implementation will certainly help as an effective tool in the eradication of malnutrition and ensure all round development of the children, who are the national assets of the future.
Disclaimer : The views expressed by the author in this feature are entirely his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of PIB.

Gas Authority of India Ltd

Silver Jubilee Year of GAIL (India) Limited; A look back on a saga of milestones
by R.C. Joshi,

The Gas Authority of India Ltd(GAIL), later rechristened as GAIL (India) Ltd, today formally commenced a deserving celebration of its Silver Jubilee Year with the release of a special commemorative postage stamp in the national capital by none other than the President of India at Rashtrapati Bhavan. Last 25 years have been a chequered history for this Navaratna PSU under the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas.

GAIL crossed several mile-stones during this period, making a significant contribution the cause of nation’s development. It helped harness new resource of energy called natural gas, which has since gained a lot of popularity. Being an efficient fuel or an industrial raw material, industries crave for gas supply and as a very environment friendly source of energy, helps keep pollutants low. GAIL pioneered laying solid gas pipeline network to facilitate carrying natural gas to far-off corners of the country leading to mushrooming of industries along the way. It set-up petrochemical plant, LPG plants, and introduced CNG supplies to vehicle and piped gas supply to houses at the mere turn of a tab just as water supply.

Here is an account of the company’s major milestones achieved since inception.

Serving the NationThe setting up of GAIL (India) Limited, formerly known as Gas Authority of India Limited in August, 1984 heralded a new era of natural gas in the country. GAIL is now completing 25 glorious yeas of service to the nation. Since 1984, GAIL has made significant contributions to the nation’s economy by supplying natural gas through its pipeline network for: • Generation of over 87,000 MW of power.
• Production of over 145 million tones of Urea;
• Production of LPG for over 7 crore households in the country.
• Over 5.75 lakh vehicles in the country today running on CNG supplied by GAIL and over 7 lakh households on Piped Natural Gas (PNG) in the country
• Production of petrochemicals of around 400,000 MTs which is used in the plastics industry GAIL enabled the use of natural gas as a new energy resource in the country, which was earlier being flared in the offshore fields of Bombay High.

The natural gas infrastructure of around 7,000 km. accounting for over 82% of the total pipeline infrastructure in India, set up so far by GAIL has contributed enormously to the economically and socially critical sectors such as fertilizers and power. GAIL also has the distinction of pioneering the clean fuel revolution for transport sector in the country with the introduction of CNG in Delhi and Mumbai which has significantly helped in reducing pollution levels in these two cities. The pipeline network of GAIL supplies natural gas to various sectors equivalent to 204 million barrels of oil equivalent per year, thus not only contributing to import substitution but also providing environment friendly fuel.

The natural gas infrastructure of GAIL plays a significant role in serving the nation by facilitating equitable geographical distribution of economic benefits. It provides ready market access to the domestic gas producers, making gas available to the customers including those who are remotely located, facilitating monetization and development of gas fields which are otherwise scattered and devoid of market access. The pipeline network has created choice for customers by providing cheaper, environment-friendly alternative fuel and has reduced import-dependency as natural gas has substituted liquid fuels such as Naphtha, fuel oil, etc.

GAIL has also spearheaded the spread of City Gas and Piped Gas network in the country which has helped in bringing down pollution levels in metros such as Delhi and Mumbai. GAIL’s pipeline network caters to the gas consumers in the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Assam and Tripura. In addition to supplying Natural Gas to various consumers, GAIL has also set up 7 LPG plants and a Petrochemical plant to extract value added products from gas. GAIL produces around 1.35 MMTPA of Liquid Hydrocarbon including LPG for domestic consumption. GAIL is now an integrated energy company along the natural gas value chain with global footprints.

Today, GAIL has interests in the business of natural gas, LPG, liquid hydrocarbons and petrochemicals, the latter being value-added products. The Company has also entered in telecom sector by leasing bandwidth available through the OFC which is laid along the gas pipelines for their operation and maintenance. GAIL has also diversified into exploration & production, city gas distribution and is steadily developing an overseas presence.

In the area of corporate social responsibility, one of the major projects of GAIL has been setting up of Air Pollution Related Disease Diagnostic Centres (APRDCs) in over 20 cities in various parts of the country, at a cost of about Rs. 4 crore. Under this programme, the diagnostic centres equipped with modern diagnostic amenities related to respiratory and cardio-vascular diseases and well trained medical personnel have been set up in partnership with reputed Government / trust managed hospitals / institutions to provide diagnostic facilities and treatment to the people who are not able to afford baseline investigations for diagnosis. APRDC also works as R & D for development of facilities for diagnosing suspended particles, which are known to cause acute heart diseases.

In more recent times, GAIL has initiated steam conversion project based on waste heat recovery system from GAIL’s gas turbines. This rare, multi-benefit project would not only utilize clean development mechanism (CDM) for power generation, but also lead to conservation of gas as well as increased energy efficiency. GAIL has a consistent track-record of dividend payment. So far, GAIL has disbursed dividend of Rs.6,230 crore to the shareholders including Government of India, which is more than seven times the original investment of Rs. 845.65 crore by the Government in its equity capital. Further, the Government has been disinvesting its shareholding in GAIL from time to time, bringing down its equity holding to 57.345 percent and thereby contributing to the exchequer an additional amount of Rs. 3,400 crore. International credit rating agency, Moody’s have assigned a Baa2 indicative foreign currency debt rating (1 notch above the sovereign foreign currency rating) and A3 local currency issuer rating (5 notches above the sovereign local currency rating) to GAIL (India) Ltd.


The history of GAIL (India) Limited, erstwhile Gas Authority of India Limited, is closely aligned to the growth of the Petroleum Industry in India.Till the mid eighties, state-owned Public Sector Undertakings in the Upstream & Downstream Segments were concentrating on effective sourcing and utilization of the oil resources of the country. ONGC had already made important gas discoveries in the western offshore – South Bassein fields which could not be utilized in absence of gas piping infrastructure. The Government embarked upon a planned and focused development of the natural gas sector in the country.

Beginning- Hazira-Vijaipur-Jagdishpur (HVJ) Pipeline Project
Entrusted with the responsibility of executing, operating and maintaining one of the largest natural gas pipeline projects in the world, GAIL built the 1800 km. long cross country Hazira-Vijaipur-Jagdishpur (HVJ) Pipeline at a cost of Rs. 1700 crore. It gave the Company a firm foundation to build on its capabilities and successfully take on project after project.

The Challenge of Initial years- HVJ Pipeline being the first project of its kind in the country, the timelines were stiff. The challenges included difficulties entailed in getting the project started like obtaining clearances, design parameters, documentation, finalizing global bids, setting up of basic infrastructure, long isolated stretches, 92 river crossings, 50 km. of forest, 221 land crossings, 450 km. of rocky terrain and 350 road crossings, across difficult terrains.

The HVJ pipeline network with a capacity of 18.2 MMSCMD was laid with the objective of transporting gas to Fertilizer, Power, LPG, Petrochemical plants and other industrial consumers in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Delhi.

India, which was dependent on imports for around 40% of its fertilizer needs before HVJ came, was now almost self sufficient in its needs of fertilizer. Next major consumer was the power sector. Once the natural gas was introduced in this sector and was well accepted due to its benefits such as clean fuel characteristics, smooth handling, high efficiency, etc., its market in other sectors / industries also started developing gradually. In due course of time, the demand for natural gas grew tremendously and with it, the pipeline infrastructure has been expanded to cater to the demand.

Reaching Milestones one after another

Gas Rehabilitation and Expansion Project (GREP) In 1998-99, the capacity of HVJ Pipeline was expanded to 33.4 MMSCMD under the Gas Rehabilitation and Expansion Project (GREP) by construction of a loop line of 505 km. from Vijaipur to Dadri and increasing compression capacity of existing compressor stations and adding 2 more compressor stations at Vaghodia and Khera.

Pipelines in K.G Basin & Cauvery Basin GAIL is operating a Pipeline network of 830 km in K.G. Basin in the state of Andhra Pradesh. This includes main grid pipelines like Tatipaka-Kakinada to Nagarjuna Fertilizers crossing the country’s largest river crossings of Gautami & Godavari rivers and Tatipaka-Narsapur-Kovvur pipeline. Other pipelines include 204 km. pipeline to LANCO power project, Kakinada - BSES Pipeline to supply gas to REL power plant, etc. Natural gas is also available from gas fields in Cauvery Basin in the state of Tamil Nadu. GAIL is operating 260 km. of pipelines to make this gas available to the customers in the remote areas.

Pipelines in North-East Region GAIL is also operating 69 km. regional pipelines in Assam and Tripura. The pipelines existing in Assam supply gas to GAIL LPG plant and ASEB. In Tripura the pipelines are connecting ONGC gas fields at Agartala dome, Rokhia and Konaban. GAIL is also supplying natural gas to Tripura Natural Gas Company Limited.

Pipeline in Rajasthan GAIL laid the first pipeline in the country in desert area from Gamnewala up to Ramgarh to supply gas to RSEB’s power plant. 66 km Dandewala - Gamnewala – Ramgarh pipeline has been laid which supplies gas to RSEB.

Pipelines in Gujarat Gujarat has huge resources of natural gas. GAIL has laid pipelines in North Gujarat and South Gujarat regions to supply gas to consumers which include power plants, fertilizer plants and other industrial units. In North Gujarat, GAIL supplies gas to AEC, Ahmedabad, REL and other consumers through 145 km pipeline network. In South Gujarat, GAIL operates 257 km pipeline network in Baroda region and 252 km in Bharuch region. Major customers include NTPC Jhanore, GNFC Bharuch, GEB Dhuvaran, GEB Utran, etc. Re-gasified LNG is also being supplied to consumers in the region through these pipelines.

Pipelines in Maharashtra Around 125 km pipeline network from Ex-Uran terminal in Maharashtra is being operated by GAIL to supply gas from Uran gas fields to consumers in Mumbai region. Major consumers include RCF Thal, RCF Trombay, MGL, IPCL, Ispat Industries, etc.

Dahej-Vijaipur Pipeline (DVPL) GAIL laid down 610 km Dahej-Vijaipur pipeline to supply re-gasified LNG from India’s first LNG terminal at Dahej to consumers in Western and Northern India. This pipeline of 23.9 MMSCMD capacity was commissioned in March 2004, 6 months ahead of schedule. International Project Management Association (IPMA) adjudged DVPL project as winner of “Silver Medal” in Mega Projects category in IPMA World Congress Meet-2006 in China.

Other Pipelines along HVJ Further expansion of HVJ network consisted of laying pipelines for augmenting the gas supplies to existing as well as new consumers. 139 km pipeline from the HVJ at Thulendi to Phulpur in Uttar Pradesh has been laid, which caters to Fertilizer and industrial consumers around Rai Bareli. Another pipeline from Vijaipur to Kota (192 km) has been laid to address the natural gas demand by Fertilizer, City Gas & industrial consumers around Kota.

GAIL has also laid 85 km Kelaras-Malanpur pipeline to supply RLNG to customers in Malanpur Industrial area near Gwalior. Another pipeline from Jagoti to Pithampur (98 km) has been laid with 21 km spur line to Dewas. This pipeline caters to the demand of gas supply to consumers in Dewas and Pithampur industrial areas and will also supply city gas at Indore.

Dahej-Dabhol Pipeline (DUPL & DPPL)
GAIL recently completed the 587 Km long Dahej-Dabhol Pipeline Project which is a landmark achievement in pipeline project execution, not only in India but also internationally. The project was completed without any cost overruns and in a very tight time schedule despite several challenges. The completion of this project was of utmost national significance as it has not only brought the Dabhol Power Project back to life but also provided needed connectivity across key consuming markets.

National Gas Management Centre
GAIL established a world class National Gas Management Centre (NGMC) with an objective of round-the-clock marketing and control of transmission assets of the Company from a single location. NGMC deals with GAIL’s natural gas transportation and LPG transmission business throughout India in which live data is available at a centralized location for monitoring of pipeline and delivery condition of all major customers’ terminals.

National Gas Management Center, which is the first of its kind for the gas business in India, encompasses management of entire GAIL’s gas trading, transportation and LPG transmission business throughout India with the availability of live data at centralized location for monitoring pipeline parameters, delivery conditions at all major customer terminals, gas reconciliation and accounting for entire gas business.

To ensure efficient real time management and gas nominations, delivery and allocation with accurate gas reconciliation, a Gas Management System (GMS) is also available in NGMC. GMS is a web enabled system, which integrates all the shippers, suppliers, customers and transporter of gas to provide better co-ordination and transparency in Gas Transportation business.

Joint Ventures and Subsidiaries
Apart from its area of direct operations, GAIL has formed joint venture companies for City Gas Distributions and Petrochemicals. For CNG, the JVs include Joint Ventures overseas while for petrochemicals, currently GAIL has two joint ventures in the country and is scouting for one overseas.

City Gas Distribution
GAIL has already set up eight joint venture companies for City Gas Distribution which are catering to the needs of domestic and transport sector of the cities, besides industrial and commercial consumers. GAIL has ambitious plans to expand its presence in this space in the next 4-5 years. Hence, GAIL is today an integrated energy company in the hydrocarbon sector with focus on gas and beyond as reflected in its Vision statement. Recently GAIL has set up a wholly owned subsidiary GAIL Gas Limited for further expansion of its CGD and future Gas Retailing business.

LNG Import
To ensure long-term gas-supply security from multiple natural gas sources, the company has integrated into import of LNG through Joint Ventures / Equity Participation route. GAIL has played key role in the growth of LNG markets in the country. GAIL has a 12.5% stake in Petronet LNG Limited, which owns and operates India’s first LNG regassification terminal at Dahej, Gujarat. The capacity of the terminal is shortly scheduled to increase to a level of around 12 MTPA. Long term LNG tie-up with RAS gas, Qatar has already been made for 7.5 MMTPA. This co-promoted company is establishing another LNG terminal at Kochi, Kerala by 2011-12. In addition to above, GAIL has participated in a SPV, Ratnagiri Gas & Power Private Limited (Dabhol) with equity stake of 28.33 percent with a view to source LNG and operating LNG Re-gasification terminal. This Terminal shall have a re-gasification capacity of 5 MMTPA of which 2.1 MMTPA shall be used by Power Plant at Dabhol and the remaining shall be used for merchant sale to consumers.

Overseas Operations
GAIL has equity participation in three retail gas companies in Egypt and in China Gas Holdings in China, participating interest in offshore blocks in Myanmar and one onland block in Oman. GAIL is pursuing business opportunities in regions such as South / South-East Asia, West Asia, Russia and Central Asian Republics and African continent in the areas of exploration and production, gas transmission, CNG and city gas distribution, LNG and petrochemicals. GAIL has set up a wholly- owned subsidiary company viz. GAIL Global (Singapore) Pte. Ltd. in Singapore.

Contribution of Subsidy
In order to make LPG affordable to common man, GAIL has been contributing in terms of subsidy since the year 2003-04. The total subsidy contribution by GAIL has been to the tune of Rs. 6,566 crore.

Natural gas infrastructure developed by GAIL over the years has touched the life of common man in many ways, be it social, economic, or environmental aspects. The development has not only supported various industrial segments like power, and fertilizer, but also helped to further expand and meet the demand in these sectors. It has also helped in improving the quality of life in the alarmingly polluted cities like Delhi, Mumbai Agra & Firozabad etc. In addition to the direct, the indirect benefits as a result of these infrastructural developments by GAIL, has helped social development in the rural areas by extending basic amenities. The overall contribution to the nation has been truly remarkable. With its robust future plans, GAIL is committed to build a green future for India.

Goa – The Vibrant State on March

by Prakash Waman Kamat

Goa, the tiny coastal State, steps in the 47th year of its vibrant existence today. Liberated from the shackles of Portuguese rule on December 19, 1961 along with a few other territories, Goa rose to become the 25th state in the Indian Union in 1987. Located on the west coast, Goa has a population of close to 14 lakh in an area of around 3600 sq. kms. It has a coastline of around 106 kms.

Symbolized as Parashurambhoomi in the Puranas, land created by pushing back the ocean, Goa was ruled by Marathas, Adilshahas, Kadambas and then for a period varying between 150 years to 450 years by Portuguese that ended in December 1961. Over the past few centuries Goa has been exposed to varied cultures, resulting into a rich diverse and pluralistic cultural outlook which is based on peace, tolerance and hospitality. This speaks for its communal harmony which in turn makes it a hospitality destination of international repute.

The people worldwide know Goa as a tourists’ paradise blessed by silvery and pristine beaches, historical temples and churches and a place of peace-loving people who cherish communal harmony. Very few would, however, fancy that Goa is today turning into a fast developing economy with a vibrant citizenry that is perennially asserting itself over choices and options of development.

In other words, it is slowly but steadily transforming from a long laid-back society into a vibrant and dynamic churning of an enterprise which is becoming increasingly conscious of a continued struggle needed for preserving its ecology, environment for its posterity. As a result, Goa is witnessing a major citizen participation in the local self government process, where people across the State are seen questioning the type of development and the use of State’s scare land and other resources.

The State boasts of a very high literacy rate, almost second to Kerala. In terms of per capita income too, the State ranks among the highest. Yet a big concern continues to be its declining agriculture which is marked by the very high rate of urbanization which is driving it into an Urban-State.

Interestingly, Goa has been ranked among the leading states on the developmental scale by national magazines. Goa’s economy is growing at a faster rate than that of the country as a whole. While the rest of the country is growing at around 7 percent, the growth in Goa touched the double digit in 2005 and it has never looked back.

Goan economy traditionally hinged on mining, Gulf remunerations and now on service sector mainly tourism. Gulf remunerations have been on decline in recent times, so too is mining and tourism which are presently facing the pressures of worldwide economic meltdown.

For the State with its primary sector declining to around 10 percent, the secondary sector contributing around 36 percent and the tertiary sector touching almost 55 percent of the GSDP, the problem is to strive to mobilise resources to sustain the high level of economic growth. With high growth, the State is also witnessing massive urbanization. With rapid development coupled with declining agriculture, Goa has turned into a city-state with over 60 percent of its population now categorized into urban population. From traditionally an agrarian economy, which relied considerably on imports, trade and iron ore mining in its pre-liberation era, Goa today is undeniably an industrially-developing state. Known for its high literacy rate, widespread knowledge of English and pleasant environment, the State has developed into a pharma hub.

Industrial Policy
Goa has been on the lookout to attract investments armed with a pro-active industrial policy, which identified biotech, food processing, agro-based industries, IT and IT-enabled services and entertainment sector as core areas of focus. After the State was declared a permanent venue for prestigious International Film Festival of India(IFFI), the entertainment industry led by State-owned Entertainment Society of Goa(ESG) is making big strides in bringing to forefront entertainment as a significant revenue generating sector. The moves are on to make it a entertainment hub of international standards.

IT and IT-enabled services
Realising the potential of information technology (IT) to impact the growth of every sector of the economy, the Goa Government set up the Infotech Corporation of Goa Ltd.(ITG). The mandate of the ITG is to develop IT-related infrastructure, promote IT-enabled services and implement e-governance objectives of the government. It is acting as a single-window agency for IT and ITES units for incentives under the State Government’s IT policy.

On the educational front, higher education is one of the thrust areas the State is planning to make a foray as a natural corollary to its tourism sector. The economic growth is stimulating development in two ways. It is increasing per capita income by creating employment opportunities. The growth is also generating additional resources for the Government. If the government invests these resources primarily on focus areas of basic and social infrastructure, including social security cover for the poor, it will lead to a multiplier effect that would result in higher growth and better quality of life for the citizens of Goa.

The enlightened citizens of the State are, however, alerting the decision-makers about a dimension of the high growth and unbriddled industrialisation and development. Significantly, the State Government is presently seen as conscious of this concern which can be seen from its on-going efforts to have a State regional plan 2021, a State land use plan, which is being prepared with the active participation of experts and town planners and with process involving transparency with involvement of citizens and non governmental organizations and environmental bodies.

Janani Suraksha Yojana

Ensuring Safe Motherhood Through JSY

Maternal mortality and infant mortality are among the key health indicators of any civilized society. They are the touchstone for a public health delivery system. Among the various tools of achieving the goal of low maternal mortality and infant mortality, the most important is ensuring an institutional i.e. a medically supervised environment at the time of childbirth. The Government has made it crucial part of its health delivery effort.

Under the overall umbrella of National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) the Reproductive and Child Health programme Phase II (RCH-II) was launched in the year 2005. RCH-II aims to improve access for rural people, especially from the under privileged section to equitable, affordable, accountable and effective primary health care. The corner stone of this ambitious programme has been the Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY).

JSY is a cash benefit scheme under RCH-II to promote institutional delivery with the special focus on below poverty line and SC/ST pregnant women. Promoting Institutional Delivery Janani Suraksha Yojana is a safe motherhood intervention under the National Rural Health Mission was launched on 12th April 2005 to promote institutional delivery among the poor pregnant women. The Yojana is being implemented in all States and Union Territories. JSY is a 100% centrally sponsored scheme.

The scheme focuses on the poor pregnant woman with special dispensation for States having low institutional delivery rate namely, the States of Uttar Pradesh, Uttrakhand, Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Assam, Orissa, Rajasthan and Jammu & Kashmir. Besides the maternal care, the scheme provides cash assistance to all eligible mothers for delivery care.

The Yojana has identified the Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA), as an effective link between the Government and the poor pregnant women in the ten low performing States. Her main role is to facilitate pregnant women to avail services of maternal care and arrange referral transport. Built-in Incentives Janani Suraksha Yojana has built in incentives for both ASHA and the mother. Mother’s package in the target states is Rs. 1400/- and ASHA gets Rs. 600/- for various services in promoting institutional delivery. The Yojana subsidized the cost of Caesarean Section or for the management of Obstetric complications, upto Rs. 1500/- per delivery to the Government Institutions, where Government specialists are not in position. LPS and HPS States, all such BPL pregnant women, aged 19 years and above, preferring to deliver at home are entitled to cash assistance of Rs. 500/- per delivery, upto two live births.

There are other measures for improving IMR and MMR such as 24 hour delivery services at Primary Health Centres, post natal care, skilled attendance at birth, blood storage centres, training of MBBS doctors for life saving anesthetic skills for emergency obstetric care. More than a Crore Beneficiaries Janani Suraksha Yojana has benefited more than one crore women. JSY scores with using the incentives mechanism effectively and using the community support structures effectively. The scheme has great instrumental value as by ensuring institutional delivery other health services can be provided to the mother and the newborn in a controlled and monitored environment.

Janani Suraksha Yojana has proved to be very popular and is fast emerging as a measure tools for achieving Millennium Development Goals for universal health. (PIB Features) *Inputs from the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare

‘Jago Grahak Jago’ – An Initiative towards Consumer Education and Awareness

*Inputs from the Ministry of Consumer Affairs

An enlightened consumer is an empowered consumer. An aware consumer not only protects himself from exploitation but induces efficiency, transparency and accountability in the entire manufacturing and services sector. Realising the importance of consumer awareness, Government has accorded top priority to ‘Consumer Education, Consumer Protection and Consumer Awareness. India is a country, which has taken a lead in introducing progressive legislation for consumer protection. The most important milestone in Consumer Movement in the country has been the enactment of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. The Act has set in motion a revolution in the field of consumer rights, that perhaps cannot be paralleled anywhere else in the World. The Act applies to all goods and services unless specially exempted by the Central Government, in all sectors whether Private, Public or Co-operative.

Consumer Protection Act, 1986
The Act enshrines all the consumers rights which are internationally accepted. As per the Act, consumer protection councils have been established at Central, State and District levels to promote and protect the consumer rights. They are:
 Right to Safety: To be protected against the sale of goods and services which are spurious/ hazardous to life.
 Right to information: To know the quality, quantity, weight and the price of goods/services being paid for, so that one is not cheated by unfair trade practices.
 Right to Choose: To be assured, wherever possible, access to a variety of goods and services at competitive prices.
 Right to be heard: To be heard and to be assured that the interest would receive due consideration at appropriate fora.
 Right to Seek Redressal: To seek legal redressal against unfair or restrictive trade practices or exploitation.
 Right to Consumer Education: To have access to consumer education.

Gandhiji in the light of the above rightly said about consumer and his rights as the following: “A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work - he is the purpose of it. We are not doing him a favour by serving him. He is doing us a favour by giving us the opportunity to serve him.” It was therefore most appropriate that the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 was processed and enacted in India soon after the UN declaration.

Basic Framework for Consumer Protection
Consumer protection initiatives by the Government hinge on 3 basic parameters. Firstly ensuring a legal framework that comprises of Consumer Protection Act. The Consumer Protection Act enacted in 1986 has been recognised as one of the finest basis of legislation enacted in any part of the world and India can boast of being the only country having such specialised legislation for consumer protection. The CPA has a three tier, simple, quasi judicial machinery at the National, State and District level for hearing cases raised by consumers. Secondly, evolving standards for different products to enable the consumers to make an informed choice about different products. Standards which are the essential building block for quality play a key role in consumer protection. Standard could be on technical requirement (specifications), improved specific standard terminology (glossary of terms), codes of practice or test methods or management systems standards. The standards are set generally by Government or inter-Governmental bodies but world wide it is being recognised that voluntary establishment of standards plays an equally important role for protecting consumers. Thirdly, consumer awareness and education is the main building block for consumer protection.

National Action Plan on Consumer Protection
Consequent upon the 50th National Development Council Meeting, Planning Commission has identified consumer awareness, redressal and enforcement of Consumer Protection Act as a priority agency for action by the Deptt. of Consumer Affairs. The allocation for consumer protection activities was significantly enhanced in the last 2 years of the X Plan.

Consumer Awareness Scheme in the XI Plan
The Consumer Awareness Scheme for the XI Plan amounting to a total of Rs. 409 crores has been approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs on 24.01.08. This scheme has been formulated to give an increased thrust to a multi media publicity campaign to make consumers aware of their rights. The slogan ‘Jago Grahak Jago’ has now become a household name as a result of publicity campaign undertaken in the last 3 years. Through the increased thrust on consumer awareness in the XI Five Year Plan, the Government has endeavoured to inform the common man of his rights as a consumer. As part of the consumer awareness scheme, the rural and remote areas have been given top priority. In a big country like India, given the scenario of economic disparity and level of education and ignorance, educating the consumers remains a gigantic task. Government has taken up number of activities and schemes in creating consumer awareness in the country as part of this Consumer Awareness Scheme.

Multi Media Publicity Campaign
As part of the Multi Media publicity campaign, the activities being undertaken are:
Publicity through print media using news paper advertisements, to educate the consumers about their rights and responsibilities.
Publicity through electronic medium by telecast of video spots of 30 seconds duration on various consumer related issues such as Grievance Redressal system, MRP, ISI Hall-Mark, Alternate Dispute, Redressal system, weights and measures, Rights of Consumers etc. Issues pertaining to rural and remote areas have been given prominence in the various advertisement spots.
Telecast of advertisement in North Eastern states in Regional languages of 20 seconds and 30 seconds duration on various consumer related issues such as M.R.P. (Maximum Retail Price), Short Measurement, Expiry date on medicine, adulteration, damaged product and redressal system.
The Department in consultation with the Department of Post has disseminated consumer awareness messages through Meghdoot Post cards to reach far-flung rural areas including North East States. A bigger plan of partnership with the Department of Posts to use the vast network of postal department for spreading the message of consumer awareness has been chalked out Calendars containing the message of consumer awareness are being displayed through the vast network of 1.55 lakhs post offices.
The Department through Printed Literature is also creating awareness. A folder entitled “Consumer Awareness Mission” containing the salient features of Consumer Protection Act 1986, Consumer Resource kit as well pocket calendars and posters is being distributed during various events such as IITF, Nukkad Nataks and also through the State Governments at grass root level. The publicity material relating to consumer awareness has also been translated in regional languages and is being disseminated to various State Governments.
Nukkad Nataks are being performed in consultation with Song & Drama division of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting . More than 1000 programmes in all the States/UTs have been organised to create awareness at grass root level.
A pilot project National Consumer Help Line initiated can be accessed through a Toll Free Number 1800-11-4000 which is being operated by Delhi University for counselling the Consumers to redress their grievances. The timing of toll free number facility is available to consumers from 9-30 A.M. to 5-30 P.M. on all the working days (Monday—Saturday). Through the various advertisements pertaining to Department of Consumer Awareness adequate publicity has been given to National Helpline so that the affected consumers could seek guidelines/counselling through the national helpline.
In order to reach maximum number of consumers, the Department has telecast video spots containing consumer related information during the popular sports events such as Tri-series cricket tournament, Indo-Pak Series, Indo-Australia Series, Indo- England Cricket Series etc.
India is a country with more than 70% population being under 35 years. The youngsters are using the internet in a big way for various purposes and also happen to be major consumers. Realizing this, a major initiative is being taken to spread consumer awareness through the online medium. The advertisements being brought out by the Department are also being displayed on the website of the Ministry
Advertisements are being carried in journals of Publication Division such as Yojana, Kurukshetra, Bal Bharti, Aajkal and their regional editions. Focussed articles on consumer awareness are being published in these magazines keeping in view their target readership. Employment News, the flagship publication of Publication Division, which is the largest selling career weekly of its kind occasionally publishes articles that are of interest to youngsters in keeping them informed about their rights. The advertisements of Department are also published regularly in Employment News/Rojgar Samachar so that the youth of the country are made aware of their consumer rights.

Participation in India International Trade Fair
Keeping in view the large number of visitors to India International Trade Fair, the Department displayed its activities through a stall in IIPA. Publicity material regarding main provisions of Consumer Protection, Standardisation, Weights & Measures, ISI, Hall Marking and other issues of consumer interest was distributed free of cost. On the spot guidance was also given to consumers during the Trade Fair.

Joint Campaign
‘Jago Grahak Jago’ has become the focal theme through which issues concerning the functioning of almost all Government Departments having a consumer interface can been addressed. To achieve this objective joint campaigns have been undertaken/are being undertaken with a number of Government Departments. The Department had run a joint campaign with Bureau of Energy Efficiency to educate people about energy conservation by having awareness of the BEE star labels. A joint campaign with National Pharmaceuticals Product Authority is being devised to educate consumers about the various issues concerning pharma industry. Similarly, campaigns with Reserve Bank of India, FICCI, Ministry of Urban Development (for real estate sector) and HRD (for education sector) are being planned.

Special scheme on assistance to State Governments/UTs
Considering the fact that active involvement of State Governments in awareness campaign is crucial in taking forward the movement to rural, remote and backward areas, State/UT Governments have been actively associated in expanding the area of consumer awareness. In fact the effectiveness of the scheme is enhanced by the involvement of States/UTs/PRIs. The provision for grant in-aid/support to States/UTs has been one of the key components of the Consumer awareness scheme.
The Department of Consumer Affairs provided publicity material such as posters, audio, video, folders, calendars, and magazines etc. to the State Governments/UTs for distribution through panchayats in the rural areas.

The Future Roadmap
The multi media publicity to educate consumers and make them aware about their rights will have a long lasting impact not only on the end consumers but also on the entire manufacturing and services sector. The scheme will go a long way in introducing greater accountability and transparency in the services provided by the public as well as private sector since the end user i.e. a consumer will be educated and aware enough to ask for best possible services in return of his hard earned money. ‘Jago Grahak Jago’ is thus an initiative which empowers consumers by making them aware about their rights as well as the Grievance Redressal Mechanism. (PIB Features)

India Managing Global Crisis to Maintain Growth Momentum

by S. Sethuraman, Freelance Writer

As India enters the New Year, amid the worst global economic and financial crisis in over seven decades, there is cautious optimism that its monetary and fiscal measures to counteract the external shocks would help the country maintain growth at not less than 7 per cent in 2008-09. Though moderating from the 9 per cent in 2007-08, India is likely to be still one of the fastest growth rates in a recession-hit world.

2008 posed extraordinary challenges for nations around the world, much more for India which had not only to tame the double-digit inflation in the first half of the fiscal year and moderate economic slowdown but also confront organised terror groups operating from across the Pakistan border. While the country has been put on a state of high alert after the horrendous terrorist attack on Mumbai’s famed hotels in the last week of November, the Government has remained focused on minimising the negative impact on domestic economy from the global crisis which is reflected in tightened credit markets, capital outflows, export slowdown and weakening business confidence.

Counter-cyclical measures have been initiated to stimulate domestic demand and revive investment activity so as to prevent large-scale job losses. The coming fiscal year (2009-10) will prove tougher for the world economy as USA, European Union, Japan and other industrial countries having already entered recession. Growth estimates for all emerging economies including China and India have also been revised down. The global slump was precipitated by the financial market turmoils leading to choking of credit flows, which has affected manufacturing and service sectors in all countries. With investors becoming risk-averse, a sharp reduction in capital flows and contraction in world trade are forecast for 2009.

Inflation Eases For Stimulus
A major relief for India and other developing countries has been the steep fall in prices of oil and other commodities including food and metals, which helped to bring down inflationary pressures worldwide. The Reserve Bank of India(RBI) had tightened monetary policy when inflation surged toward a double digit but by October, it began reversing the gear to pump Rs.300,000 crores of liquidity into the banking system to provide credit for productive sectors. The reserve ratio and key interest rates were being steadily lowered as inflationary pressures started easing. The annual rate of inflation had fallen to below 7 per cent at the beginning of December.

Thus, fall in prices, credit availability and reduction in interest rates, should generate confidence for large and small industries, services and other sectors of economic activity. At the same time, given the need for a right policy mix to steer the economy through a crisis situation not of its making, The Government had been making cuts in customs and excise duties to reduce costs for producers to enable them to remain competitive, and has enlarged public spending by Rs.147,000 crores through supplementary grants voted by Parliament.

In addition, the Government and RBI announced special measures to assist exporters as well as seriously-affected sectors which are labour-intensive like textiles and garments. Improved credit access with interest rate concessions would cover areas including small and medium industries (which account for over 90 per cent of the work-force), housing and other construction sectors. Funding is being accelerated for the severely stressed social and physical infrastructure, a basic requirement for sustained economic growth.

Moderate Growth Prospects
With prospects of global recovery not in sight until the end of 2009, both the Government and RBI are closely monitoring the trends, domestic and external, to take additional measures as needed to maintain the tempo of development and prevent any dislocation in the growth process. The mid-year review (2008-09), presented to the Parliament by the Finance Ministry, says after a robust rise at 7.8 per cent in the first half, GDP growth would be “significantly lower” in the second half because of weakening domestic demand and private investment. Though at current rates of savings and investment, it should be feasible to secure a 7 to 8 per cent growth, the review says, “we have to be prepared for growth to be around 7 per cent in 2008-09 as a whole”.

The review has suggested further monetary policy easing over the next 6 to 12 months for which there is scope with the faster than expected decline in inflation, which could go down to 4 to 5 per cent by March next. The Planning Commission will take into account the need for continued fiscal stimulus for growth in 2009-l0 while formulating the Annual Plan.

Strengths for Economy
India’s strengths in relation to other emerging economies include a higher share of services (than manufacturing which has suffered slowdown) in the economy, the rise in domestic savings to 36 per cent of GDP by 2007-08 and its growth being driven by investment and consumption, investment being domestically financed except for a small share of external savings (1.5 per cent of GDP). Thus, the macro-economic impact of the global shake-up should be relatively muted.

The food position should remain comfortable as agricultural prospects in the current year are fairly bright, especially for the Rabi crop, after the record food production in 2007-08 at 230 million tonnes and the high levels of food procurement and stocks. The economy looks like riding out of the inflationary pressures soon, the relatively rapid fall being greatly helped by the fall in international oil and other commodity prices. This could create some fiscal space with a reduction in major subsidies and the oil price fall could also help to keep down the trade deficit during the current year.

However, the tightened global credit markets are for the present affecting capital flows with investors seeking safer assets like US Treasury securities. There was an outflow of portfolio capital of 13 billion dollars but the first half of the year also saw higher inflow of foreign direct investment of some 17 billion dollars. Though foreign exchange reserves had to be drawn down in the first nine months (April-December), for RBI to meet the economy’s dollar requirements, the level of reserves at 254 billion dollars mid-December provide a strong cushion to meet external obligations.

Near-Term Fiscal Outlook
Given the current economic slowdown, some deceleration in revenue growth is likely in the next few quarters, especially with a perceptible decline in aggregate demand in the domestic economy. But rising Plan and Non-Plan expenditures plus counter-cyclical measures would impose burdens on the budget. These include the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations, farm debt waiver, increase in major subsidies and the impact of tax and other concessions in the stimulus package. Both revenue and fiscal deficits are expected to exceed the budgeted 1 and 2.5 per cent of GDP respectively and the stimulus measures alone would be equivalent to 2 per cent, according to the review. Thus, the Centre’s fiscal deficit would be of the order 5 per cent of GDP in 2008-09.

To continue with fiscal consolidation, interrupted by the economic slowdown, India would need to seek an early return to its growth trajectory of 8-9 per cent to be able to finance growth in public expenditure. India could resume this growth path once there is restoration of confidence in the global financial markets with a revival of credit flows and bottoming out of US recession, the review says and calls for policy reforms to be accelerated, including greater private access to infrastructure development to generate domestic demand.
Disclaimer : The views expressed by the author in this feature are entirely his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of PIB.

Project Elephant

By Smt. Kalpana Palkhiwala, Deputy Director, Press Information Bureau, Delhi

Project Elephant (PE), a centrally sponsored scheme, was launched in February 1992 to provide financial and technical support to major elephant bearing States in the country for protection of elephants, their habitats and corridors. It also seeks to address the issues of human-elephant conflict and welfare of domesticated elephants. The Project is being implemented in 13 States/Union Territories-Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Orissa, Tamil Nadu , Uttranchal , Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.

Based on the proposals received in the form of Annual Plan of Operations, the Government provides financial and technical assistance to State/Union Territories for wildlife protection under the various Centrally Sponsored Schemes – Development of National Parks and Sanctuaries, Project Tiger and Project Elephant. During the current financial year, i.e. 2007-08, the Government of Maharashtra has submitted proposals worth Rs. 15.75 crores to the Central Government for wildlife conservation

The funds under the Schemes - Development of National Parks and Sanctuaries, Project Tiger and Project Elephant are released after scrutiny of the proposals received from the State/Union Territory Governments and also subject to the availability of funds and fulfillment of procedural requirements.

Main Activities

Various activities are being carried out under this project. Existing natural habitats and migratory routes of elephants are restored ecologically. Scientific and planned management is being developed for conservation of elephant habitats and viable population of wild Asiatic elephants in India to reduce man elephant conflict. In crucial habitats, promotional measures are being applied- domestic stock activities in crucial elephant habitats have been stopped, wild elephants are given protection against poachers and also against unnatural cause of deaths, research on elephant management related issues, public education and awareness programmes and Eco-development are other measures under implementation.

Enumeration of Elephants

First time an exclusive exercise for enumeration of wild elephants in the Elephant Reserves was done during Feb-May 2005. This exercise also sought to experiment with two sampling methods, Block Sampling and Line Transact-Dung Count (with Retrospective Method of Calculating Dung Decay Rate).

Monitoring of Illegal Killing of Elephants
Project Elephant has been formally implementing MIKE (Monitoring of Illegal Killing of Elephants) programme in 10 Elephant Reserves since April 1, 2004: the Shiwalik (Uttaranchal); Eastern Dooars (West Bengal); Mayurbhanj (Orissa); Ripu-Chirang and Dehing-Patkai (Assam); Garo Hills (Meghalaya); Deomali (Arunachal Pradesh); Wayanad (Kerala), Mysore (Karnataka) and Nilgiri (Tamilnadu).

Research & Consultancy Projects

Project Elephant has initiated a 36-months research project (2003-04 to 2006-07) with the help of the Central Rice Research Institute (CRRI), Cuttack, for developing high yielding varieties of paddy not relished by elephants; developing elephant-proof storage bins for food grains; and developing elephant repellants. The project is being carried out at the CRRI’s research stations in Orissa and Assam.

Two other 36 months research projects (2003-04 to 2006-07) initiated by project elephant with the help of the Assam Agricultural University are on ‘Disease management in captive elephants’ and ‘Anatomical studies on the Asian elephant’.

Project Elephant has entrusted the WII with a small project (2004-05 to 2005-06) to study the impact of the relocation of the Gujjar on the flora and fauna of Rajaji National Park and has also given a consultancy project (February-July 2005) to the Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata, to help the West Bengal Forest Department in carrying out a sample-based enumeration of elephants during 2005.

Project Elephant has initiated a programme for registration of domesticated elephants by using microchips. More than 1000 elephants have been microchipped so far in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, West Bengal, Andaman & Nicobar and Delhi etc.

Elephant Habitat in India
There are only 17 States in which wild elephants exist. Project Elephant has declared 24 elephant reserves in 12 States to protect elephant populations in the wild and develop their habitat. It was launched in the year 1991-92 as a sequel to a series of efforts to conserve this magnificent species covering primarily the States of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Orissa, Tamilnadu, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
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