Governance and Public Service

SPEECH BY HER EXCELLENCY THE PRESIDENT OF INDIA, SHRIMATI PRATIBHA DEVISINGH PATIL, AT THE INAUGURAL LECTURE OF THE LECTURE SERIES ORGANISED BY THE UNION PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION (UPSC)

New Delhi, 12th November, 2009

Speech

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to compliment the Union Public Service Commission for the work it has done during its 83 years of existence. I am very happy to be speaking on "Governance and Public Service" at this function. The topic brings a focus on public service in an era when there is a repositioning of the concept of good governance as the role of the Government evolves to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

Governance is generally defined as the exercise of economic, political and administrative authority to manage the affairs of the country at all levels. Governance must be undertaken in such a way that the well being of the citizen is effectively looked after through a properly organized institutional framework. Good governance implies people's participation, rule of law, transparency, responsiveness, consensus orientation in decision-making, equity and inclusion, effectiveness, efficiency along with accountability and a strategic mission.

Governance has been constantly developing so as to respond to the changing needs and challenges. However, the basic objective of governance has and must remain the welfare of the people. Those involved in governance, must never lose sight of the goal to work for public good and work in the spirit of the vision and values enshrined in our Constitution.

In the early post-Independence years, the focus of governance was on building institutions and the basic infrastructure of the new republic. Today, the priority is to confidently take the country forward into the competitive world of the 21st century. Reaching quality education to young girls and boys must occupy a foremost position in our national priorities if we are to be firmly positioned as leaders of a knowledge-based society where the premium will be on inventions and innovation. Also a system of governance that provides conditions in which the creative potential of its people is realized and the artistic talent, scientific temper and entrepreneurial spirit finds space for growth is the one that results in building human resources capable of contributing to the building of a great nation. These are the demands of the 21st century.

For placing India in this position, focus would need to be centered on propelling economic growth, following a growth trajectory that is inclusive and providing basic amenities to all its citizens. Governance will be judged by the manner in which policies of economic growth are implemented and the extent to which beneficial outcomes can be delivered to the people. Social welfare schemes occupy a central position in the endeavour to empower the disadvantaged sections of society so that they can join the national mainstream. One of the biggest failings has been the inability to deliver and implement welfare schemes. Reforms are necessary if the perception of eroded credibility and effectiveness of administration is to be corrected. Even as we implement schemes, a regular system of monitoring and evaluation of programmes and schemes should be put in place to ensure quality.

De-centralization is very important for it is a participatory form of governance that empowers people, particularly the underprivileged, the women and other disadvantaged sections of society. A people-centric administration with local institutions playing a leading role has the advantage of being closest to the people and hence, aware of their needs and concerns. The 73rd and the 74th Amendments to the Constitution have taken democracy to the grassroots. As a result, there are now 3.2 million elected representatives in village and town councils. We have to now see how to devolve greater decision-making powers to Panchayati Raj institutions for achieving the objective of good governance. However, for them to function effectively there should be proper training and capacity building at various levels - Gram Sabhas, Zila Parishads, Zonal levels. I would also like to emphasize proper co-operation and co-ordination between all levels of administration as delivering results is a combined responsibility.

There are several issues on which fresh perspectives are always required so as to bring in reforms. Some of the pertinent questions are whether the selection procedure adequately looks for qualities and skills required in a changing environment in which the civil services work? Whether the training process prepares the individual to take on the responsibilities of public service? Is there regular in-service training for bringing about better performance? Do performance assessment parameters fairly judge the work undertaken? Are measurable targets being set and is there accountability for the shortcomings and inability to meet targets? The Second Administrative Reforms Commission has studied many of these issues and has made valuable recommendations after extensive consultations with stakeholders. An early examination of these recommendations and a decision about them would contribute to the reform of the governance process.

There are approaches on which there can be no difference or debate and which are fundamental for a good administration and I will now dwell on them.

Public servants must have firm moorings to moral values and principles. Our nation has been founded on human values and progressive ideas. Tolerance and harmony are the ethos of our civilization. Our independence struggle was fought on the basis of truth and non-violence. Public servants, being the wheels of administration and essential for running the affairs of the nation, must introspect on how they can reflect these values in their functioning. Discipline as well as commitment and dedication to work; and putting the nation above self, are qualities in a civil servant and, indeed, in any citizen that would help in building the nation. If public servants are disciplined and hardworking it would have a multiplier effect on society itself as they can by their own conduct and example, spur others in the same direction. While dealing with issues that have a human dimension, it is important that public authorities must be sensitive. Building a caring administration is important.

The system has to be made corruption free. Like a cancer, corruption is that sore which drains the strength of a nation. Corruption has deprived the nation of better infrastructure and better facilities. When only a fraction of the money is spent for the purpose for which it is allocated, the impact is far less than the intended or envisaged. For example, corruption in the public distribution system means that food meant for the poorer sections of society is not reaching them and as a result the national objective of removing poverty and hunger suffers. The people feel let down, the nation loses resources and we lag behind others. It is one malaise which brooks no delay.

Opaqueness results in red-tapism and unaccountability. There should be transparency in functioning. Withholding information from the public creates a distance between the civil servant and the people; it results in a gap between those responsible for governing and those for whose benefits the system operates. Transparency has a triple impact. It encourages civil servants to take decisions in a manner that can withstand public scrutiny. It brings home to the people the challenges that the government faces as it functions. It institutes a dialogue process in the country.

I am, therefore, glad that instruments like the RTI are giving to the citizens a platform to communicate with administration. This is important as governance is not purely a government function but it is a partnership between the Government and the people. Many schemes and programmes of the government are no longer being implemented by the Government alone, but with the support of NGOs and members of the civil society. Good governance, as a concept, becomes applicable to all sections of society - government, legislature, judiciary, the media, the private sector, the corporate sector, Non-Government Organizations (NGOs).

Today we operate in an environment in which there are many more tools of technology available. E-governance technology enables better communication systems, better data and information systems, quicker processing of the data and resultantly better delivery mechanism and monitoring of services. New technologies in the fields of electronics and information science must be harnessed in the service of the poor and the underprivileged and all civil servants must acquaint themselves with technological advances for better performance.

The Union Public Service Commission plays an important role in the governance process of the country. As a constitutional body, it is has provided a strong institutional mechanism for the recruitment, appointment and career related matters of the members of India's civil services. It has set high standards for itself and has been recruiting persons of merit and ability, in an open and impartial manner. It has also shown a remarkable ability to respond to changing requirements by taking recourse to innovative and transparent reform initiatives. Better systems of selection will in the long run have a positive effect on the quality of governance.

I end by reiterating that in all circumstances the welfare of the people is the ultimate work and test. All work and policies must be geared to that final goal.

Thank you.

Jai Hind.

adopted from www.president of india.nic.in website

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The Kashmir Hangul needs to be preserved

by - Ashok Handoo, Freelance Writer

The recently concluded International Conference held in Srinagar on Kashmir Hangul, the only surviving species of the Red Deer family, in Kashmir, expressed serious concern over the fast dwindling number of this rare variety. Considering the seriousness of the issue, the concern is well placed and needs to be addressed.
A look at the figures gives an Idea of the magnitude. Forget about the times when the number of Hangul in Kashmir was stated to be in thousands. Just at the beginning of the 20th century, their number was 5,000. By the time militancy broke out in the state in late 80’s, it had come down to 900. Last year it touched a low of 117 to 180, according to a census. But, since then it has risen to about 230, thanks to some renewed conservation efforts. With the help of WWF, ‘Project Hangul’ was started in Kashmir in the 70’s which resulted in the number of Hangul going up to 340 by the eighties. But that was short lived. The latest census of 2008 puts the figure at 150 to 160.
Kashmir Hangul is one of the proud possessions of Kashmir. It is also the state animal of Kashmir. Its extinction will surely be a matter of concern. The wake up call by the conservationists and environmentalists, to all the stake holders, is something that can be ignored only at great risk.
“We will not let the Hangul go extinct”. That is how the J&K Chief Minister Shri Omar Obdullah expressed his determination to save the rare animal. The State Governor Shri N.N.Vohra, too, was emphatic in his remarks even as he blamed human biotic interference for the fast depleting number of the species.
It is not the Hangul alone that is meeting this fate. Markhur, Himalayan Bear and the Musk deer, too, are becoming endangered species due to melting glaciers, depleting forest cover and water bodies. And as Mr. Vohra pointed out, if this trend is not reversed the very survival of mankind could be in danger.
Experts blame extensive human encroachment as a major cause for extinction of wild life. Poaching, indeed, leads the list. Poachers do so to make a quick money as the skin and magnificent antlers of Hangul fetch them a very high price Internationally. In case of tigers and leopards poachers look for their medicinal values. The tiger, too, is thus disappearing fast despite the ‘Project Tiger’ launched by the Government long ago. The latest tiger census counted just 1,411 big cats, down from 3,642 in 2002 and around 40,000 a century ago.
The Dachigam sanctuary on the outskirts of Srinagar, spread over an area of 140 sq. km., which is home to the Kashmir Hangul, came under the sway of the Militants. They killed the animal for its meat as well. For well over a decade, the area was out of bounds for even the security forces. Besides Dachigam, Kashmir Hangul is also seen in Wadwan valley, Bhaderwah, Kishtwar and Tilel regions of the State. The male deer has impressive antlers whereas the female has no antlers. Hangul has a red brownish coat and that is why it is also called red deer. The colour, however, changes with every season and age. The male Hangul has long hair along its neck while the female has none.
Destruction of natural habitats, overgrazing by domestic live stock and deforestation are other forms of human interference that has led to this tragic situation. Forests are disappearing as trees are felled illegally for both firewood and timber, most of which is smuggled. This paves the way for the grazing areas extending deep into the jungles leading to destruction of the natural habitats.
The State Government, too, charged with having neglected the environment and wildlife in the state and ignoring the need for protecting the rare species. Surely, the State Government, too, has a responsibility to protect the animal from becoming extinct.
Critical environmental issues like ozone depletion, global warming and climate change are also responsible for the present situation. This explains the need for swift and long term action in dealing with global warming which the world is facing now.
There is, however, some hope for the future. The latest census has shown improvement in the female-fawn ratio which indicates a possibility of a sustained growth in the future. Apart from that, there is also a need for effective implementation of conservation plans. Along with punitive measures against those who violate laws, the people need to be sensitized by launching massive awareness campaigns. All the stakeholders need to come together to preserve, conserve and sustain environment, ecology, fauna and flora of the state. The joint effort will surely go a long way in helping in protecting the world famous Hangul in the State.
Disclaimer : The views expressed by the author in this feature are entirely his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of PIB

Save Energy to Have Energy : Achievements in 2008-09

We all know energy is scarce and expensive and more so, when the country is facing energy shortage. Demand management and energy efficiency, therefore, are the new-age mantras for the power sector. The strategy developed to make power available to all by 2012 includes promotion of energy efficiency and its conservation in the country, which is found to be the least cost option to augment the gap between demand and supply.

Strategy

Considering the vast potential of energy savings and benefits of energy efficiency, the Government enacted the Energy Conservation Act, 2001. The Act provides for the legal framework, institutional arrangement and a regulatory mechanism at the Central and State level to embark upon energy efficiency drive in the country. The Government has set a target for energy savings equivalent to avoided capacity addition of 10,000 MW during the XI five year plan (2007-12). The Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) an autonomous body under the Ministry of Power has initiated 6 national schemes to achieve this goal targeting different sectors which are: Commercial Buildings; Standards for end use; Equipment & Appliances; Agricultural & Municipal Demand Side Management; Small and Medium Enterprises; Lighting; Energy Conservation Awards for Large Industries.

All the schemes have been duly approved by the Government and are under implementation. Another important role assigned to BEE is to strengthen the institutional capacity of energy efficiency set up at State level to monitor these schemes through the State Designated Agencies (SDAs). The objective is to encourage SDAs to take up implementation of energy efficiency measures, monitor and verify savings of energy achieved by their interventions and implement the provisions of the Energy Conservation Act 2001, in their respective States.

Achievements in 2008-09

The energy savings related to the various energy efficiency programs of the government amounted to about 5.1 million tones oil-equivalent in 2008-09, or about 1% of the total energy supply in the country. The electricity savings were 6.6 billion units, i.e. 1% of the national electricity consumption, and equivalent to avoided generation capacity of 1505 MW. This avoided generation capacity is more than the peak demand in 20 of the 35 states and Union Territories of the country; and equal to the combined peak demand of Uttarakhand and Chandigarh.

These savings have resulted from the increased sales of BEE star-labeled refrigerators and air-conditioners, enhanced energy efficiency in industry, and government-driven CFL programs. In 2008-09, approximately 75% of the refrigerators sold were star-labeled compared to less than 50% in the previous year. For air-conditioners, the percentage of labeled products sold in 2008-09 was 50% compared to 12% in the year before. These two products alone accounted for savings of 2.12 billion units of electricity.

The savings were verified by the National Productivity Council(NPC). The avoided capacity generation related to government energy efficiency programs was 621 MW in 2007-08, bringing the total for the first two years of the XIth plan to 2126 MW. The target for the current year 2009-10 is 2600 MW, and cumulative target for the XIth Five Year Plan period is 10,000 MW.

As DG BEE, puts it, energy saving indeed is a national cause and all of us will have to join hands and make all out efforts in making India an energy efficient economy and society. (PIB Features)

Eco Marks-Right Environment Choice

by - Kalpana Palkhiwala, Deputy Director (M & C), PIB, New Delhi.

The issue of environmental protection has brought the consumers, the industry and the government to a common platform. The government and legislatures are using their influence to reduce environmental and health hazards due to industrialization and to stimulate the development of clean technologies. However the environment is under tremendous stress from rapid industrialization, unplanned urbanization and changing consumption patterns in the race to achieve better living standards. It is absolutely clear that regulatory actions by pollution control agencies alone can not restore the environment to its pristine state. Pro-active and promotional roles should also be geared up in harmony with the overall environmental protection strategy. The time has come for consumers to take lead in performing manufacturers to adopt clean and eco-friendly technologies and environmental-safe disposal of used products, along with preventive and mitigative approaches.
Eco Mark Scheme
Eco Mark is a voluntary non binding scheme which labels consumer products as environment friendly based upon certain environmental as well as quality parameters. To increase consumer awareness, the Government launched the eco-labelling scheme known as ‘Eco Mark’ in 1991 for easy identification of environment-friendly products. Any product which is made, used or disposed of in way that significantly reduces the harm it would otherwise cause the environment could be considered as Environment-Friendly Product. They have less potential for pollution during their entire life cycle i.e. raw material, manufacturing, use and disposal.
Twenty Eco Mark licenses to fifteen companies have been awarded in the country under three product categories i.e. paper, wood substitutes and finished leather and sixteen product categories have been notified since 1992 to 2000. In case of finished leather the quality norms were de-linked from Eco Mark norms on the ground that the Indian leather already meets the BIS approved quality norms. One more category—coir products has been taken up and Eco mark criteria for it are at draft stage.
Logo
The logo of Eco Mark scheme is unique, its message has the ability to reach out to the people and can help to promote a greater awareness of the need to be kind to the environment. An Earthen pot which is the logo of the Eco Mark Scheme, signifying the use of renewable resource like clay, which does not produce hazardous waste and consumes less energy in making. Its solid and graceful form represents both the strength and fragility, which also characterize the Eco-System. Thus as a symbol, it puts across its environmental message.
The criteria follow a cradle-to grave approach, i.e. from raw material extraction, to manufacturing, and to disposal. The ‘Eco Mark’ label is awarded to consumer goods which meet the specified environmental criteria and the quality requirements of Indian Standards. Any product with the Eco Mark will be the right environment choice.
Objectives
There are five main objectives for the Eco Mark Scheme. That are, to provide an incentive for manufactures and importers to reduce adverse environmental impact of products; to reward genuine initiatives by companies in this regard; to assist consumers to become environmentally responsible in their daily lives by providing information, to take account of environmental factors in their purchase decisions; to encourage citizens to purchase products which have less harmful environmental impacts and ultimately to improve the quality of the environment and to encourage the sustainable management of resources.
Mechanism and Functions
A steering committee, a technical committee and the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) are involved in criteria development for each product category and the award of the Eco Mark. Both the Committees have been set up in the Ministry of Environment and Forests. They consist of members from Government Organizations, Research institutes, Industrial Associations and Non-Government Organizations. The Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forests heads the Steering committee and it determines the products categories for coverage under the scheme and also formulates strategies for promotion, implementation, future development and improvements in the working of the scheme.
The Steering Committee has specific functions which include section of the logo, determine the product categories, mass awareness for promotion and acceptance, coordination with industries to ensure their active involvement, securing the involvement of other Ministries, Departments, Industry Associations and other Non- Government Organizations, formulations of strategies for future development, identify instructions in India or outside to build consumer awareness, promoting programmes of Comparative Testing of products and supporting any research for the formulations of Eco Mark products.
The technical committee is headed by the Chairman, Central Pollution Control Board in the Ministry of Environment and Forests. It identifies specific products for classifying as environment friendly, review the existing state of knowledge and the environmental criteria being followed in other countries and various technologies available for determining the criteria, recommend the most appropriate criteria and parameters to designate products as environment friendly. It reviews from time to time, the implementation of the scheme by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) and set-up sub-Committee for each product category including formulation of test programmes for comparative testing of products by consumer organizations.
Functions of BIS
The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) implements the Eco Mark scheme under BIS Act, 1986. It incorporates the criteria into Indian Standards, assess and certify the product for award of the Eco Mark. It allows the use of the label, on payment of a fee and inspects and takes samples for analysis to see the conformance with the Eco Mark criteria.
BIS charges for application fee, testing of samples, annual licence fee, renewal of application fee and marketing fee depending upon the quantum of the annual production. The label is awarded for a minimum period of one year and the product is re-assessed after the prescribed periods for renewal of licence. The BIS has a power to withdraw the licence at any time if they find any misleading information or any change in criteria due to the advancement of technology or any other valid reasons in consultation with the Technical Committee.
Eco Mark Licence
The licence is granted for a minimum period of one year and is renewed subsequently for the same period, after reassessment of the products. The manufacturer must ensure that the product qualify the quality criteria as per Indian Standard before applying to BIS for Eco Mark. A manufacturer desirous to obtain licence for eco Mark has to apply to BIS on the prescribed form with an application fee. On receipt of the application, BIS arranges inspection of the industry collects samples and arranges testing of the products. A licence is granted if, the product conforms to the relevant set criteria. On grant of a licence, the manufactures is authorized to use Eco Mark logo on their products.
Success of Indian Eco Mark Scheme
For satisfactory performance of the Eco Mark scheme, awareness among consumer is required. Industries also need incentives. Support from Government to manufacturers through purchase preference will give impetus to the scheme. Environment which plays a minor role in consumer’s decision to buy a product, the price is still a main factor for consumer’s decision.
The Government initiated steps to popularize the scheme. During the year 2006-2007, 238 Consumer Awareness Programmes and 42 Industry Awareness Programme were conducted by BIS all over the country. In addition comparative testing of products and dissemination of its findings have been got done by a consumer organization (Voice).
International Eco Labelling Programmes
Blue Angel programme of Germany is the oldest eco-label programme, which was started in 1997 and has more than 3,000 certified products in the market. Eco Mark of Japan is the second oldest eco-labelling programme after Blue Angel, which was started in 1989 and 1,902 companies have been issued licences under which 5,673 products have been certified. Sweden and Canada also have successful eco-labelling programme and have more than 3,000 certified products. Australia, Brazil, Hong Kong, Hungary, Israel, Korea, New Zealand, Philippines, Republic of Croatia, Taiwan, Thailand and Ukraine are other countries which have adopted Eco Mark scheme.

Indian Railways - Fulfilling a Long Cherished Dream of Kashmir Valley

by - Harish Kunwar, Deputy Director (Railways), PIB, New Delhi

With the completion of the 119 kilometers long railway line from Baramulla to Quazigund
in the Kashmir Valley, Indian Railways is proud to have attained a long cherished dream of all in
the country, especially of people living in the Valley. The last stretch of 18 kilometres railway line of this prestigious project from Anantnag to Quazigund was dedicated to the nation by the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on 28th October 2009. The 101 km railway line which is already operational from Anantnag to Baramulla has proved to be very popular with more than 5000 passengers travelling on it every day. The additional railway line between Anantnag and
Quazigund pressed into service will also benefit the residents of the Valley in a similar manner
substantially. With the opening of this stretch, the entire 119 km long railway line from Baramulla to Quazigund in the valley has now become operational covering important stations like Sopore, Hamre, Pattan, Mazhom, Budgam, Srinagar, Pampore, Kakapora, Awantipura, Panjgam, Bijbiara, Anantnag and Sadura in both the directions.

With a view to provide an alternative reliable, all weathers, transportation system and to
connect the State of Jammu & Kashmir with the rest of the country through railway network, the Ministry of Railways planned a 345 km long railway line connecting Jammu to Baramulla via
Udhampur, Katra, Reasi, Sangaldan, Banihal, Quazigund, Anantnag and Srinagar. The project is
of national importance. Due to this reason, part of the project from Udhampur to Baramulla has
been declared as a “National Projects” and funds are being provided by the Ministry of Finance.
The estimated cost of Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla rail Link project (292 km) is approximate
Rs. 11270 crores. So far, expenditure on this project has been approximate Rs. 5500 crore. On 13th April 2005, the railway line of 53 kilometres moved further north from Jammu to Udhampur, when the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh dedicated it to the nation. Later on, in October 2008 and February 2009, the railway lines from Anantnag to Mazhom (66 km) and Mazhom to Baramula (35 km) were also inaugurated by the Prime Minister.

Railways also required approach roads of about 262 kilometres in the Katra-Quazigund
section project, to carry construction material and workers, 145 km of new roads are already
operational, on which buses are regularly plying from village to village, encouraging movement as each village thus connected drops the adjective “remote”, which was its earlier description. While the sick can easily reach hospitals, the young have better opportunities to travel to distant
educational institutions, thus improving their career prospects. It has also been seen that marriages are also now being solemnized between residents of different villages, rather than being restricted to their own folk, as people have become more mobile. Local produce of the villages is also finding its way into city markets quickly, giving better opportunities to those who were till now on the outer periphery of business opportunities due to the distances and lack of means of transportation.

The railway line in the valley has been constructed at the approximate expenditure of Rs.
3250 crore and has 64 major and 640 minor bridges. Fifteen stations fall on this line and
passenger amenities have been provided at all of them. The station buildings have been
aesthetically designed in the local architecture, which is not only pleasing to the eye, but is also
climatically suitable. Another interesting feature of this railway line is that all the construction
material as well rolling stock was transported by road, adding yet another dimension of challenge in the execution of the project.

The introduction of railway line in the Kashmir valley has brought a major revolution in
the lifestyle of the people living in the Valley. The railways are more than just a means of
transport, its influence is known to transform society. As distant towns, cities and areas begin to
get connected, a new all encompassing culture begins to emerge. People travel to other areas for
better job opportunities and stay on, facilitating trans-national migration, blurring regional barriers.

Today, these rails of steel hold us tight together as one cohesive force. The day is not for when the Valley’s railway line will be linked to the rest of the Indian Railway network, connecting it to the farther most corners of the country. (PIB Features)

Co-Operative Movement for Controlling Water Pollution

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


Distilleries, Paper & Pulp, Thermal Power Plants, Tanneries and Electroplating Units are major water polluting industries in the country. Sewage management is another challenge, for which the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) in the Ministry of Urban Development and the National River Conservation Directorate are working for control of water pollution.

National Water Quality Monitoring Programme

Water quality monitoring is an important exercise, which helps in evaluating the nature and the extent of pollution control required and the effectiveness of pollution control measures already in existence.

Under the National water Quality Monitoring Programme (NWQMP), a network of monitoring stations on rivers across the country has been set up with the assistance of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs) and Pollution Control Committees (PCCs). The present network comprises of 1245 stations in 27 States and six Union Territories spread over the country. The monitoring network covers 250 rivers, 79 lakes, 6 tanks, 26 ponds and 8 creeks, 19 canals, 18 drains and 382 wells.

The water quality monitoring results obtained during 1995 to 2007 indicates that the organic and bacterial contamination continue to be critical in water bodies. There has also been a decreasing trend in the level of Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD), indicating reduction of organic pollution in some of the rivers like Ganga, Yamuna, Sabarmati, Godavari, Tapti, Narmada. As per the available data on water quality monitoring, overall observations having BOD more than 6 mg/litre have decreased with significant increase in the observations with BOD less than 3mg/litre. Coliform level also show similar trend. Thus, pollution in terms of BOD and coliform count as per the latest data has shown decreasing trend. This can be attributed mainly to the focused efforts on pollution control for critically polluted stretches of the water bodies.

Scheme of Common Effluent Treatment Plants

The concept of Common Effluent Treatment Plants (CEPT) arose in order to make a co-operative movement for pollution control. The main objective of the CEPTs is to reduce the treatment cost to be borne by an individual member unit to a minimum while protecting the water environment to a maximum. Waste water treatment and water conservation are the prime objectives of the CEPT. The concept of CEPTs was envisaged to treat the effluent emanating from the clusters of small and medium-scale industries. It was also envisaged that the burden of various Government authorities working for controlling pollution and monitoring of water pollution could be reduced once the CEPTs are implemented and commissioned.

A Centrally Sponsored Scheme has been undertaken by the Government for enabling the Small Scale Industries (SSI) to set up new and upgrade the existing Common Effluent Treatment Plants (CEPT) to cover all the States in the Country. A scheme for financial assistance for the CEPTs has been formulated, the State subsidy will be - 25% of the total project cost; Central subsidy 25% of the total project cost; the Entrepreneurs contribution will be 20% of the total project cost and the loan from financial institutions will be 30% of the total project cost.

The CEPTs are managed by a CEPT company formed by the small & medium scale industrial unit. The SPCBs periodically monitor the operation, maintenance as well as statutory requirement of individual CEPT, so as to control pollution from the SSI units.

Central assistance upto 25% of the total project cost of the CEPT is provided as a grant to the CEPT on sharing basis with similar grant released by the State Government. An outlay of Rs. 25.00 crore was allocated during the Xth Plan for the scheme of CEPT, which was fully utilized.

The Ministry has funded 19 CEPTs during the period 2002-08 in the country. One location each in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Punjab and Tamil Nadu, five locations in Gujarat and eleven locations in Maharashtra got this funding facility. For the year 2008-09, an outlay of Rs. 4.40 crore has been allocated for the Scheme of CEPT.
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