Emissions Trading

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

Emission trading that is, Cap and Trade is a market-based approach to control pollution by providing economic incentives for achieving reductions in the emissions of pollutants. A central authority or a regulator sets a limit/cap on the amount of a pollutant that can be emitted but does not decide what any particular source will emit. This cap is sold to firms in the form of emission permits which represent the right to emit or discharge a specific volume of the specified pollutant. Firms are required to hold a number of permits or credits equivalents to their emissions. The total number of permits can not exceed the cap, limiting total emissions to that level. Firms that need to increase their emission permits must buy permits from those who require fewer permits. The transfer of permits is referred to as a trade. This way, the buyer is paying a charge for polluting, while the seller is being rewarded for having reduced emissions.

There are two main active trading programmes. For greenhouse gases the European Union Emission Trading Scheme is the largest programme and a National Market to reduce acid rain in United States.

Emissions trading schemes have great potential to lower pollution while minimizing costs for industries. The benefits of such schemes come from two sources. On the industry side, units are able to choose for themselves the cheapest way to reduce pollution. In comparison, traditional command- and-control regulations do not allow for differences across industries. Mandating the same standard everywhere will generally miss the best opportunities for abatement. On the regulatory side, an emissions trading scheme, once established, will provide a self- regulating system that makes pollution control more efficient. In the longer run, the reduced costs of compliance can also make it easier to introduce new regulations that increase environmental quality. Past experience with emissions trading, has shown that cap-and – trade is a robust way to achieve targeted reductions in emissions at a low cost.

Four areas are especially important for successful implementation of an emissions trading scheme.

Setting the Cap- The target for aggregate emissions from the sector where trading is introduced must be set to produce reasonable prices and emissions reductions.

Allocating Permits -The permits to emit must be distributed in an equitable way to build support for the scheme. In many successful cases this allocation has been made for free relative to baseline emissions, greatly reducing the cost of compliance for industries.

Monitoring - The quantity of emissions from each industrial plant must be reliably and continuously monitored with high integrity recognized by all sides.

Compliance - The regulatory framework must make industries confident that buying permits is the only reliable way to meet environmental obligations.

Greater Benefits from Emissions Trading

The introduction of emissions trading would position India as a clear leader in environmental regulation amongst emerging economies. The benefits of a trading scheme will extend beyond the immediate goal of achieving compliance at a lower cost to society. Having a trading scheme in place will make it easier to adjust regulation as environmental goals change. Tighter environmental standards can be achieved with a drop in the level of the cap, which would raise the price of emissions permits and give incentives to pollute less, rather than abruptly throwing certain areas or sources out of compliance.

India may also benefit by trying the system for local emissions trading to global emissions trading schemes for carbon dioxide. A successful cap-and-trade system will establish the infrastructure needed for putting a price on carbon dioxide as well as local pollutants, positioning the country to easily receive payments for the contribution of its innovative regulations to reducing greenhouse-gas emissions. The European Union Emissions Trading Scheme, Kyoto protocol and future carbon mitigation policies outlined under the Copenhagen Accord will generate demand for such reductions. An emissions trading system to meet this demand would generate a net flow of foreign investment and reward the Indian economy for growing along a green path.

Recent experience with market based regulatory instruments has been positive in India. A Perform, Achieve and Trade(PAT) Mechanism for energy efficiency, which will cover facilities that amount for more than 50% of the fossil fuel used in the country, and help reduce CO2 emissions by 25 million tonnes per year by 2014-15 , is being implemented. (PIB Features)

Re-Surgence of Khadi

by Angshuman Dey, Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises

Khadi and non-violence were two powerful weapons with which Mahatma Gandhi equipped Indians to throw out British colonial rulers. In 1920, Indian National Congress had at its Nagpur session first declared its aim to promote khadi as the nationalist fabric which Gandhi referred to as “livery of freedom”. Soon, khadi became the symbol of defiance as massive bonfires were lighted across the country and Indian struggled against colonialism by burning their Manchester textiles. Khadi continued to grow into prominence and a place of pride for Indians.

Fashion designers have found khadi their canvass for imaginative creations. Khadi as defined by Gandhiji as a cloth hand woven in India from yarn hand-spun in India has been taken as legal definition of khadi. Khadi is sourced mainly through 1958 khadi institution spread over the length and breadth of the country. Some of the major khadi producing states of India are Jammu & Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Assam. In terms of value, the annual production is in the range of Rs 700-1000 crore.

Khadi provides employment to the poor, gives earnings to small cotton farmers, is eco-friendly, porous/airy, has simplicity which gives it elegance, and connects to the freedom movement and Gandhian values. It is unique for its property of staying cool in summer and warm in winter which makes it exclusive among the fabric. The products are unique in the sense that they are one of a kind besides being truely “cottage” or “hand-spun and hand-woven”. They are unique because they are “flawed” and are not mindless creation of machines. That’s why each piece of khadi is different. That’s why many won’t mind paying for its exclusivity.

Khadi gets softer with each wash which makes it an ideal tropical fabric. India’s thriving confident middle class has today started looking inwards for the style cue and design mantra. Khadi is ripe for re-incarnation as a livery of young, surging India. A rising number of young fashion designers are seeking out local fabrics, craft & technique to give expression to this trend.

Khadi is a potent tool for real, inclusive growth. Being a traditional labour intensive industry, one square metre of khadi cloth requires about 281.05 gram of hand-spun yarn which a spinner could earlier produce in about 3 days, but can now produce in just half day, thanks to the new model charkhas introduced by Khadi and Village Industries Commission. About 9 lakh spinners and weavers work in this sector associated with 1,958 khadi institutions spread across the country. An artisan on the average gets works for 200 days in a year. These institutions are mostly Trusts and Societies i.e NGOs. Some of the institutions are as old as the freedom movement itself and many great leaders of the stature of Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Acharya Vinoba Bhave and others were involved in their creation.

However, Khadi has had its challenges in its spectacular growth mostly on account of conservative market thinking which resisted reform to the changing, competitive market and participate in the growth bandwagon. Economy was a decade back unshackled from unnecessary controls and the world is today witness to the “Indian Story”. Progressive khadi activists and khadi-lovers have realized this and are most vocal today for reforms and are voluntarily taking up the “reform package”. Expectation from KVIC is that in addition to regulating quality and safeguarding the interest of artisans it should also be more institution-friendly and re-establish the trust in the khadi institutions. Introduction of Market Development Assistance has not exactly been smooth. But this revitalization pill was required as a cure for sickness starting to infect a number of institutions in the past, and remaining dependent on rebate forever meant denying growth. Rebate may be promoting market in the short run, but it had already led to an idea that khadi is unsustainable without rebate. Today’s customer is quality conscious rather than a discount-seeker and how can khadi producer disappoint him?

The existing brands of khadi are: Khadi India or Khadi Bharat, Sarvodaya, Desi Ahar, Kutir and others. But soon a standardized “Khadi Mark” will give khadi product a genuine identity. At present the marketing takes place through a network of around 7000 sales outlets managed by khadi institutions, besides KVIC. To realize its true potential, the sector needs reforms and the Government has embarked upon a massive reforms in khadi sector; linking it also with village industries sector to establish synergy. Assisted by Asian Development Bank with a Rs 720 crore over three year in the first phase, 300 khadi institutions spread over the country will derive benefit in the form of enhancing their capability through equipment upgradation, better raw material quality, cost reduction and professional support in marketing led by private partners. This will put the sector into a new trajectory of growth and equity ushered by a revamped KVIC. Also, an increased emphasis on the sector is evidenced by a quantum jump in the Government budget allocation for this sector from Rs 261 crore to Rs 542 crore.

The basic approach being adopted is making khadi activities artisan-centric without compromising the growth and sustainability of the sector. From customer’s point of view, khadi should be more accessible, well-priced, stylish enough to cater to the taste of urban India and to catch the imagination of the younger generation with a cultural resonance in the form of a pride of “Indian-ness” just as the world has now recognized our economic resilience due mainly to a strong domestic market and in the past had found their way in the Gandhian values. To fit it perfectly, Khadi has already become a style statement for many.
(PIB Features)

Bridging Urban-Rural Divide - Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Areas (PURA)

by Atul Kr. Tiwari, Director ( M & C), Press Information Bureau, New Delhi

Real India exists in villages, said the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi. However despite all the efforts even after six decades of Independence, one of the striking aspects of the country has been the vast difference in terms of facilities in the urban and rural areas. In order to bridge the gap between urban India & rural Bharat yet another effort is being made by the Ministry Of Rural Development in the form of a renovated Provision Urban Amenities in Rural Areas (PURA) scheme.

PURA is a Central Sector scheme re-launched by Ministry of Rural Development during the remaining period of the XI Plan with support from Department of Economic Affairs and the technical assistance of Asian Development Bank. The Ministry of Rural Development is implementing the PURA scheme under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) framework between Gram Panchayat(s) and private sector partners with active support of the State Governments.

The scheme envisages twinning of rural infrastructure development and management with economic re-generation activities and is the first attempt at delivering a basket of infrastructure and amenities through PPP in the rural areas. It is an effort to provide a different framework for the implementation of rural infrastructure development schemes and harness private sector efficiencies in the management of assets and delivery of services. This would perhaps be the first such attempt at PPP in integrated rural infrastructure development and management in the world.

The primary objectives of the scheme are the provision of livelihood opportunities and urban amenities in rural areas to bridge the rural – urban divide. Holistic and accelerated development of compact areas revolve around a potential growth centre in a Gram Panchayat (or a group of Gram Panchayats) through Public Private Partnership (PPP) framework for providing livelihood opportunities and urban amenities to improve the quality of life in rural areas.

The objectives of PURA are proposed to be achieved under the framework of Public Private Partnership between Gram Panchayats and private sector partner with active State Government support. Core funding shall be sourced from the Central Sector scheme of PURA and complemented by additional support through convergence of different Central Government schemes. The private sector shall also bring into the project its share of investment besides operational expertise. The scheme would be implemented and managed by the private sector on considerations of economic viability but designed in a manner whereby it is fully aligned with the overall objective of rural development.

Amenities to be provided under MoRD Schemes are Water and Sewerage Construction and maintenance of Village Streets;Drainage; Solid Waste Management; Skill Development; Development of Economic Activities.

Similarly amenities to be provided under Non-MoRD Schemes are Village Street Lighting; Telecom; Electricity, etc. and

Add-on Projects (Revenue earning, people centric projects) are Village linked tourism; Integrated Rural Hub; Rural Market; Agri – Common Services Centre, Warehousing, etc. and any other rural-economy based project.

It is expected that a scheme like PURA wherein all related schemes for rural infrastructure are being converged for a synchronized delivery for a period of 10 years in project mode shall maximize socio-economic impact. Besides, minimum development obligations by the private developer will enable improved quality of service delivery in the Panchayat area.

In the pilot phase, the private developer is given flexibility to identify and select the Gram Panchayat for undertaking PURA projects based on their familiarity with the area or past experience of working at the grassroots level. However, as the consent of the concerned Panchayats and no objection from the state governments is mandatory, the selection would reflect the concurrence of all the stakeholders.

Funding for projects under PURA scheme would come from four sources: MoRD schemes, non-MoRD schemes, private financing and Capital Grant under PURA. Each individual PURA project cost and the eligible capital grant (subject to a maximum of 35% of project cost) shall be determined on the basis of a Concept Plan and Detailed Project Report that would be appraised and approved by an inter-Ministerial Empowered Committee for the purpose. It is expected that the additional revenue generating activities and the capital grant support shall successfully enable a viable PPP in the scheme. Mapping of different risks along with mitigation measures has been attempted. Along with emphasis upon rural development priorities, there shall be an effort to dovetail developers’ perspective on an economically viable project. The way project design has been done, the private developer should make requisite profit during the project life cycle of 10 years.

Through the implementation of proposed pilot projects, the unique features of this scheme would be tested on the ground and provide lessons for upscaling in future. Besides, the entire process shall help strengthen the institutional ability of a Gram Panchayat to undertake PPP and help pilot-test the viability of PPPs in rural infrastructure development. However, in terms of funding and management of PURA projects across all the 2,50,000 Panchayats in the country is concerned, it is up-scalable and financially affordable for the Government over a period of 5-10 years.

In this backdrop the exercise has been undertaken by the Ministry of Rural Development to find private sector partners in progress in rural areas who can contribute to rural infrastructure development. The selection has been done through an open competitive technical bidding process with rigorous qualification and evaluation criteria. As these are pilot projects, therefore, there has been no financial bidding. In the pilot projects the bidders have been evaluated on their technical capability and assigned scores as per pre-approved evaluation methodology. The nine companies that have been finally short-listed are in the area of infrastructure development with strong rural and community mobilization experience either directly or through their consortium partners.

PURA was envisaged by former President of India Dr. A.P.J.Kalam as a self-sustainable and viable model of service delivery in rural areas to be managed through an implementation framework between local people, public authorities and the private sector. The scheme was re-configured after extensive consultation and research process with State Governments, private sector and multi-lateral development organizations like ADB. It was initiated as a pilot in Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode early this year when the Expression of Interest (EOI) evoked unprecedented response from the private sector for this untested and complex scheme, perhaps the first of its kind in the world. Ministry of Rural Development intended to launch about 8-10 pilots across the country. Against this number, ninety five private entities expressed interest and these included some of the largest Indian corporate entities such as the IDFC, Tata Power, Reliance Industries, IL&FS, SREI Infrastructure etc.

The scheme is all set to herald a paradigm shift in rural infrastructure development with the enthusiastic response of from the Private Sector. PURA represents twinning of rural infrastructure development with economic re-generation activities. This is the first ever attempt at delivering infrastructure and amenities through Private Public Partnership in the rural areas. Involvement of the private sector, for the first time, in creation and management of amenities through a partnership with Gram Panchayats is an effort to provide a completely different framework for the implementation of rural infrastructure development schemes and harness private sector efficiencies in the management of assets and delivery of services.
(PIB Features)

Swift, Safe and Sure: “Project Arrow” of The India Post


by K. Parameswaran, Assistant Director, Press Information Bureau, Madurai

An arrow, well aimed, will reach its intended destination straight, safe and sure! Similarly, the “Project Arrow”, being conceptualized and implemented by the Department of Posts, under the Ministry of Telecommunications, aims to make postal services sharp, straight and sure. The project will see to it that the customers will directly feel the difference in the quality of postal services.
Ariyaloor was the first post office in Tamilnadu to have implemented “Project Arrow”. It was inaugurated in August 2008 by Shri D Raja, Minister of State for Telecommunications.
Project Arrow is an attempt at the integrated modernization of postal services. It aims at modernizing the look, feel and efficiency of the services rendered by the post office. The project also aims at making the services of the postal department as straight, safe and sure as that of a well aimed arrow!
For this purpose, the project has been divided into two sections. Under one section branding of services, use of modern information technology devices, integration of human resources and development of infrastructure is being achieved. This section basically is an attempt at improving the look and feel of the service.
The second aspect of Project arrow is aimed at improving all the core areas of the postal services. Thus, the aim is to modernize and make more effective services like mail, savings bank operations, improving quantum and quality of remittances and developing a better quality of counter services and customer services.
As a part of the project, most post offices including Ariyaloor, which have been included in the first phase of the project, are in the process of completing basic documentation about the post office, its service area, customers, banking particulars etc. Development of new and better infrastructures like buildings, furniture etc also comes under this section. Training of staff and development of adequate hardware are the other principal components of Project Arrow.
In the initial, pilot phase of Project Arrow, fifty post offices have been selected. In the second phase 450 post offices will be covered. The final phase is intended to modernize 4500 post offices, covering all the parts of the country. The aim is to cover 4500 post offices under the project within the next two years. In the Southern Region, 33 post offices have been covered so far. Nineteen more post offices have been identified for inclusion in the project.
It is also to be noted that the Project Arrow is a green initiative. The project aims to minimize the use of paper, thus help in preserving trees and green cover, by making all internal correspondence based on email alone.
Another important aspect of Project Arrow is that it allows for independent assessment of the quality of the program. For this purpose, an independent rating agency is being authorized to rate the services of the Project Arrow using a five star rating formula. Best achievers under the program will be rewarded suitably and their services will be recognized.
The final aim of Project arrow is to become a working model for integration of services of the post office. The project will see to it that the customer will feel the difference! (PIB Features)

India - A Biodiversity Rich Nation

by Kalpana Palkhiwala,

Deputy Director ( M & C), Press Information Bureau, New Delhi.

Biodiversity as we see today is the outcome of over 3.5 billion years of evolutionary history, shaped by natural processes and increasingly, by the influence of humanbeings. Biodiversity forms the web of life of which man is an integral part and upon which he fully depends.

Biodiversity is not distributed uniformly across the globe. Certain countries, lying wholly or partly within the tropics, are characterized by high species richness and more number of endemic species. These countries are known as Mega diverse countries. India is one of the identified mega diverse countries of the World. With only 2.4% of the land area, and accounts for 7-8% of the recorded species of the world. Over 45,000 species of plants and 91,000 species of animals have been recorded so far. It is remarkable to note that India maintains this biodiversity while supporting 20% of the world’s human and cattle population. The wide diversity in physical features and climatic situations has resulted in a diversity of ecosystems such as forests, grasslands, wetlands, coastal and marine (mangroves and coral reefs) and deserts. Among these, the forest ecosystem in particular exhibits tremendous variability ranging from temperate alpine to tropical wet evergreen forests. There are 16 major forest types in India and it is also one of the eight primary centres of the origin of cultivated plants and is rich in agricultural biodiversity. India is an acknowledged centre of crop diversity, and holds 320 wild varieties of crop relatives mainly of rice, maize, millets, barley and brinjals. About 114 breeds of domesticated animals (buffaloes, cattle, sheep, goat, camel, horses, donkeys, etc.) are also found in the country.

India also has four of the 34 identified hot spots of the world, which are characterized by high degree of endemism and are therefore areas of global conservation concern.

Threats to Biodiversity

Extinction of species and gradual changes in ecological communities is a natural phenomenon. However, the pace of extinction has increased dramatically as a result of human activities. Ecosystems are being fragmented or eliminated, and several species are in decline. The fragmentation, degradation, and loss of habitats pose serious threat to biological diversity. It is estimated that species are disappearing at an alarmingly higher rate than the evolutionary processes and this is predicted to rise dramatically. These losses are irreversible and pose a threat to our own well being, considering our dependence on food crops and medicines, and other biological resources. The loss in biodiversity impoverishes us all, and weakens the ability of the living systems on which we depend, to resist growing threats, such as climate change.

Convention on Biological Diversity

Global concern about loss of species and ecosystems found expression in the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The CBD is, one of the two agreements adopted during the Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, the other one being on UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

India is a Party to the CBD. India signed the Convention on 5th June 1992, and ratified it on 18th February, 1994. The Convention came into force on 29th December, 19993, 90 days after the 30th ratification.

CBD – Important Provisions

The CBD has 23 preambular paragraphs and 42 articles. The preambular paragraphs interalia recognize and reaffirm the following:

• Intrinsic value of biodiversity
• Biodiversity conservation as common concern of humankind
• Sovereign rights of States over their biological resources
• Responsibility of States to conserve and sustainably use their biodiversity
• Precautionary approach towards biodiversity conservation
• Vital role of local communities and women in conservation, and sustainable use of biodiversity
• Need for provision of new and additional financial resources and access to technologies to developing countries to address biodiversity loss.
Economic and social development and poverty eradication are the first and overriding pri0rities of developing countries.

Implementation of CBD in India

In India, conservation of biodiversity did not start with the CBD. India has a long history of conservation and sustainable use of natural resources, which is engrained in our ethos and is a way of life for us. This is reflected in an individual’s practices as well as social systems prevalent at different times in India’s history. Modern India, as the world’s largest democracy is testimony to this, as environment protection is enshrined in the Constitution of India itself in Article 48 A and Article 51A (g).

There are numerous and wide ranging policies, programmes and projects in place for conservation of biodiversity.

National Biodiversity Action Plan

In pursuance to Article 6 of the CBD, India within five years of ratifying the Convention had developed a National Policy and Macro level Action Strategy on Biodiversity in 1999. After approval of the National Environment Policy (NEP) in 2006, the 1999 document was updated and revised as the National Biodiversity Action Plan which was approved by the Cabinet in 2008. The NBAP 2008 draws upon the main principle in the NEP that human being are at the centre of concerns of sustainable development and they are entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature.

Biological Diversity Act

In pursuance to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), India had enacted the Biological Diversity Act in 2002 following a widespread consultative process over a period of eight years. The Biological Diversity Rules were noticed thereafter in 2004. The Act gives effect to the provisions of the CBD. It also addresses access to biological resources and associated traditional knowledge to ensure equitable sharing of benefits arising out of their use to the country and its people. India is one of the first few countries to have enacted such legislation. Twenty two State Biodiversity Boards have been established till date.

Similarly, setting up of BMCs by all local bodies within their areas, for the purpose of promoting conservation, sustainable use and document of biodiversity is an essential requirement under the Act. So far, 29,150 Biodiversity Management Committees (BMCs) have been set up in eight States.

India at COP-10 on Biological Diversity at Nagoya

More than 190 countries are negotiating at Nagoya, Japan to reach an agreement to protect the diversity of natural resources all over the world. The 12 day conference which started on 18th of this month is very important for India as it seeks a single legally binding international protocol on access and benefit sharing (ABS) under CBD.ABS will provide a mechanism to regulate and protect traditional knowledge and genetic resources. The developed countries are not in favour of this, but developing countries do. India and Brazil are leading the developing countries to ensure that ABS covers human pathogens as a bio resource. Traditionally the pharmaceutical companies from developed countries take advantage of bio-resources located in the developing countries without sharing the benefits adequately with the local people. In terms of disclosure of biodiversity, India will insists on complete transparency against graded transparency demanded by developed nations. India will also demand to link the CBD with the World Trade Agreement on the Trade related “Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS)”.
(PIB Features)

Rich Heritage of C&AG of India - Celebrating 150 Years

by B.S. Chauhan, Media Advisor to Comptroller & Auditor General

One of the most important day in the history of India was when 150 years ago, the first Accountant General was appointed on 16th November, 1860. He was Sir Edmund Drummond. Releasing a commemorative postage stamp at the beginning of the year long celebrations the President of India, Shrimati Pratibha Devisingh Patil said, “in a democratic set up, auditing of public accounts was viewed with such great significance that the makers of our Constitution, notably Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, created an Independent constitutional authority for this purpose. The institution of the C&AG had not only a distinguished history in India, but it was also matched with distinguished performance. The Indian Audit and Accounts Department and the Auditors General heading it successively, have sought to build an institution on the foundations of an accountability-centric philosophy. However, in a fast changing socio-economic scenario, it would be useful, from time to time, to revisit the practices, and procedures being followed. With growing awareness of citizens, their interest in how efficiently and effectively public money is spent, has been increasing. Public auditors have a major challenge to respond competently to this growing expectation of the stakeholders”. She also emphasized that public financial accountability and probity are essential for rooting out corruption.

Over the ensuing years, the responsibilities, status and Independence of the Auditor General evolved and were enhanced. Shri V Narahari Rao took over as the first Comptroller & Auditor General of Independent India in August 1948. The Constitution of India in 1950 underlying the hopes and aspirations of our Founding Fathers accorded a position of utmost eminence to the C&AG. The late Dr B R Ambedkar called the C&AG “as the most important officer in the Constitution of India. He is the One man who is going to see that the expenses voted by the Parliament are not exceeded or varies from what has been laid down by the Parliament.” And this duty entrusted to the C&AG by the Constitution is still being carried out with the same dedication and sincerity, if not more, since the last 150 years.

The Indian Audit & Accounts Department is known for its high standard of professionalism and core competence of its people. Audit by the C&AG has traditionally been dealing with probity and compliance. This audit involves verification of compliance by the government departments and agencies with the applicable laws, rules and regulations. Instances of non-compliance, fraud, wastefulness are highlighted for the attention of the legislatures and policy makers. While the audit mandate of the C&AG extends across all the civil, revenue, defence, railway, P&T, commercial departments of the Government, over the last century, this organization has been adapting itself to the rapidly changing work environment. In recent decades, with increasing demands from stakeholders to know more about performance and results, highest priority has been accorded to Performance Audits of people centric programmes in the social and infrastructure sectors, focusing on evaluation of flagship programmes. C&AG’s reports afford an opportunity to the Government to make midcourse corrections and improve service delivery.

With the local self governments evolving as the bedrock of India’s democratic system, the C&AG’s organization has been providing technical support and guidance to local bodies in the areas of accounts and audit. The Department has also successfully adapted to changes brought about by automation. The use of information technology was formally initiated in the early 1990s. With e-governance finding its space in the public sphere, information technology audit has become a key resource with the C&AG, with over 350 IT audits of diverse platforms and databases conducted so far. The practices of IT audit won the Prime Minister’s award for excellence in 2008, an evidence of the continuously evolving skill set of the personnel of the Department. In addition, public private partnership and emergence of regulators in the economic sphere and focus on sustainable development & environmental conservation has introduced new audit concerns. The “governance landscape” is changing and keeping pace with these changes, our Department is also proactively re-orienting our approaches to our work.

In course of our journey, IA&AD have been viewed with skepticism and its role has been typecast as that of fault finders. While it is true that the nature of the audit function is one, that of, pointing out deviations, yet, C&AG has been motivated by concerns of accountability and governance that it shares with the ordinary citizen of the country. C&AG has been reaching out to all its stakeholders highlighting its work and showcasing how it can aid in nation building. This has also been necessary as it was found that for the ordinary citizen, the notion that C&AG is just another one of the investigative agencies of the Government had to be dispelled. The constitutional role and independence of the organization, which C&AG takes so much pride in, had to be disseminated for creating awareness about the organization. This is also one of the reasons why a need for a logo was felt, which identified C&AG uniquely and served as a recall, in addition to the Asoka emblem. While releasing the logo of the IA&AD a few days back, the present C&AG of India Shri Vinod Rai has said that “this duty entrusted to the C&AG by the Constitution is still being carried out with the same dedication and sincerity, if not more, since the last 150 years”.

In keeping with the diverse and multifarious needs of primary stakeholders – the Legislature, the Executive and the Public at large, C&AG are in constant dialogue and interaction with all our stakeholders. Honouring this very commitment, C&AG celebrates 150 years with a Seminar on “Accountability and Governance” in which it invited panelists - International and National public policy experts.

The IA&AD has excelled in promoting good governance through its accounting and audit functions and has fulfilled the expectations of the law makers, the executive and the general public. The external oversight of the C&AG over the public sector programmes has contributed significantly to improvement in the design, implementation procedures and performance information of the public sector programmes and their outcomes. The revenue audit by the Department has yielded recovery of hundreds of crores of rupees of under assessment. The audit entities accept the audit findings of the Department of over payment/recovery in the range of Rs. 15000 crores and recoveries upwards of Rs. 2750 crores are made annually. With a growth in the revenue and public sector spending, the responsibility of the C&AG of India has increased significantly over the years. The new methods of management and delivery of the public sector programmes like public-private partnerships, revenue sharing and license agreements for exploitation and management of natural resources, outsourcing, the issue of sustainable development and increasing use of information technology has made the audit more challenging.

With a dynamic approach the IA&AD has been equal to the challenge. It conducts audit of thousands of offices every year. The C&AG of India presents about 100 audit reports to the Parliament and the state legislatures. The objective and apolitical approach and a meticulous professional procedures in audit had earned the confidence of all sections of the political leadership and bureaucracy besides that of the common pubic. The Department has attained a pivotal position in the community of global supreme audit institution.

According to the vision and the mission statement released by the Prime Minister of India Dr. Manmohan Singh, the Department strives to be a global leader and initiator of national and international best practices in public sector accounting and auditing and has been recognized even before Independence for its credible, balanced and timely reporting on public finance and governance. The mission statement enunciates the current role and describes what the Department is doing today. It states that mandated by the Constitution of India the Department promotes accountability, transparency and good governance through high quality auditing and accounting and provides independent assurance to the stake holders-the Legislature, the Executive and the Public- on the public funds being used efficiently and for the intended purposes. While releasing the statements the Prime Minister has rightly mentioned about the “two developments which have altered the patterns of spending public money phenomena. The first is the progressive devolution of powers and resources to the Panchayati Raj Institutions. Though progress in this area cannot be said to be satisfactory, we hope that in the years ahead the Panchayati Raj Institutions will be empowered much more with finances, functions and functionaries. The institutions of accountability therefore will have to realign their processes to reflect this new emerging reality. The other development is the increasing number of Public Private Partnership projects both in the Centre and in the States. The Central as well as many State governments have used this route successfully for impressive investments in the infrastructure projects. With time, Public Private Partnership will be increasingly used in diverse areas. There is, therefore, a need to improve the structure of Public Private Partnership arrangements to ensure that they are transparent, ensure adequate competitiveness and adequately safeguard the public interest. I expect that the Comptroller & Auditor General will play a leading role in ensuring that these new initiatives deliver as intended.”

Depending upon the objective of audit, the audits can be classified into three categories. These are compliance audit, financial audit and performance audit. Apart from these audits, number of audits of information technology systems and environmental issues have also been done.

The Department has 219 offices throughout the country. And many of these offices are housed in landmark buildings. As this office was set up during the British Raj, many of the offices in the state continue to be in the same buildings. The Department at present is in possession of great historical and glorious heritage buildings. Yarrows and Gorton Castle at Shimla and the Treasury building at Kolkata are some of the magnificent examples of such buildings which have been restored to provide modern amenities while retaining the external facade and original shape intact.

Another hallmark of the Department is the rich professional and artistic excellence of its officers. Some of them are: the Nobel laureate Dr. C.V. Raman the youngest Deputy Accountant General, Grammy award winner music maestro Pt Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, Kathak dancer Padmashri Shovana Narayan, Smt Malashri Prasad noted singer of All India Radio, cricketer Debashis Mohanty, Umpire Swaroop Kishen and international footballers Kiran Khongsai, Gunbir Singh and Manoharan. (PIB Features)

Sevottam for Ensuring Excellence in Services

by Ravinder Singh, Director ( M & C), Press Information Bureau, New Delhi.


The Department of Administrative Reforms & Public Grievances (DARPG), Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions has taken steps to put in place Sevottam Compliant Citizen’s Charter and Grievance Redress Mechanism. The Sevottam framework was designed by DARPG in 2006 as an assessment improvement framework for public service delivery.


The Second Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC) in its 12th Report “Citizen Centric Administration – The Heart of Governance” has recommended that Union and State Governments should make the Seven Step Model outlined in para 4.9 mandatory for all organizations having public interface which was accepted by the Government of India. The ARC had made the recommendations after studying the Sevottam model which the Commission felt was a step in the right direction.

What is Sevottam

Sevottam literally is the combination of Hindi words ‘SEWA + UTTAM’, meaning uttam sewa i.e. excellence in services. The Sevottam model was developed with expert support after studying international best practices, stake-holder consultations and field validity. It has basically three modules - Citizen Charter, Public Grievance Redress Mechanism and Service Delivery Capability. Each of the modules is further divided into three criteria and eleven elements each. The framework helps Government Departments towards improving their public service delivery.

Sevottam as Pilot Project

Initially, Sevottam framework was undertaken from April 2009 to June 2010 in ten Departments of the Government having large public interface. These are, Department of Post, CBEC, CBDT, Railways, Passport office, Pensions, Food Processing, Corporate Affairs, Kendriya Vidyalaya Schools and EPFO. All these organizations have declared standards and implemented in pilot locations. The Project is now being extended to 62 ministries of the Government.

Sevottam in Operation

The Seven Steps to Sevottam are - Define all services which a department provides and identify clients; Set standards and norms for each service; Develop capability to meet the set standards; Perform to achieve the standards; Monitor performance against the set standards; Evaluate the impact through an independent mechanism and Continuous improvement based on monitoring and evaluation results.

Seven Steps to Sevottam Compliant Grievance Redress System are - Well established system of receipt of grievances; Convenient for all users and its wide publicity; Timely acknowledgement; Time norm for redress; Communication of action taken on redress; Platform for Appeal and Analysis of grievance prone areas for making systemic improvements

Preparing more departments for Sevottam

The Department of Administrative Reforms & Public Grievances organised between August 30 andSeptember 21, 2010 four workshops, each of two day duration, for officers responsible for implementing the Sevottamcompliant citizen charter in 62 ministries/departments of the Government. The aim of the workshops was to facilitate preparation of Sevottam Compliant Citizen Charters and Grievance Redress Mechanism for Ministries/Departments of the Government and its Organizations for modernizing governance through better and enhanced results oriented Public Delivery System to the Citizens/Clients/Stakeholders.


The Agenda of the workshops was: Sevottam Compliant Citizens’ Charters and Grievance Redress Mechanism; Modernizing Governance through Strategic Commitment, Awareness and Outreach and Enhanced Performance and Result in Outcome. It included sessions on the concept of Sevottam, Sevottam Compliant Citizen’s/Client’s Charter, Sevottam Compliant Grievance Redress Mechanism (GRM), and linkages betweenSevottam, Strategy and Results Framework Document (RFD).


The participants in these workshops included two officers of Joint Secretary/ Director level from each of the 62 Central Ministries included in the Results Framework Document for 2010-11, and one or two representatives from select Training Institutions such as Indian Institute of Public Administration, New Delhi; Institute of Secretariat Training and Management, New Delhi; State Administrative Training Institute, Jaipur; State Administrative Training Institute, Chandigarh; Centre for Good Governance, Hyderabad and Administrative Staff College of India, Hyderabad. As such a total of about 250 officers participated and were trained through these four workshops.


The first workshop was inaugurated by Shri Prithviraj Chavan, Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions. These workshops were organised in collaboration with Performance Management Division of Cabinet Secretariat and FICCI Quality Forum as Consulting Partner. Cabinet Secretary, Shri K.M. Chandrasekhar,Member planning Commission Shri Sam Pitroda and UIDAI chairman, Shri Nandan Nilekani took part in the workshops.

Implementation of the Concept

The Performance Management Division of the Cabinet Secretariat has included two modules of theSevottam framework i.e. Citizen Charter and Public Grievance Mechanism, as mandatory success indicators in the Results Frame Document (RFD) 2010-11 for 62 Ministries/Departments approved under Performance Monitoring and Evaluation System (PMES) by the Prime Minister. The four workshops held would facilitate these Ministries/Departments in achieving the Sevottam compliance success indicators under Results Frame Document.December 30, 2010 has been fixed as the target date for the formulation of Sevottam Compliant Citizen’s / Client’s Charter. To facilitate meeting the target date, a Helpdesk for Sevottam related queries has been made available atsevottam@nic.in.

Sevottam in States

Four States namely, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa have adopted Sevottam for capacity building for poverty reduction pilot projects of quality management system.

The Government of Himachal Pradesh selected Municipal Corporation Shimla for the first QMS Sevottampilot project in 2008 - 2009. As a result, processes in issue of Electricity and Water Bills have been streamlined resulting in timely receipts and enhancement in the collection of revenue. Operations of water bills, property tax, registration of births and deaths, and other services provided are being integrated through a common digital database.


The Grievance Redress Mechanism has been improved. Improvements have been made in functioning and monitoring of the Solid Waste Management Plant and financial arrangements have been made for procuring 33 new vehicles. A ‘User Manual’ for the sector has been created that will facilitate the replication of the process in other municipalities. The User Manual has been uploaded on DARPG website www.darpg.nic.in.

The capacity of Himachal Pradesh Institute for Public Administration (HIPA) Shimla, has been built in this regard and funds have been provided for opening of a new ‘Training Centre on Sevottam’ in HIPA.

The Government of Karnataka selected the Department of Women and Child Development with verticalchain of service delivery for the Integrated Child Development Services in 7 Anganwadi centres in two villages ofBadanaguppe in Chamrajnagar district and Mudlapura in Raichur district. The pilot project was started there in December 2008 and concluded in February 2010. This has been a very successful Sevottam pilot project. As part of capacity building a Sevottam training cell has been established in ATI, Mysore to train personnel for extending the service delivery framework in other organizations of Government of Karnataka.

The Madhya Pradesh Government has selected the Public Health and Family Welfare Department with vertical service delivery chain in J.P. Hospital, Bhopal; Community Health Centre, Gandhinagar; in Phanda Block of District Bhopal; Community Health Centres in Bairsia Block and Health Centre Tehsil Bairsia with PHFW service delivery units in 5 to 6 village clusters therein. Simultaneously, capacity building for training in QMS Sevottam model of the Madhya Pradesh State Administrative Training Institute is involved. Started in August 2009, the project is due to conclude in December 2010.

The Government of Orissa has selected the Food, Supplies and Consumer Welfare (FSCW) Department and its vertical chain of service delivery in Balipatna Block of Khurda District and simultaneous capacity building of State ATI, Bhubaneswar. The project begun in September 2009 and is due for conclusion in December 2010. (PIB Features)

Mangroves-Shelter Belt against Cyclone

by Kalpana Palkhiwala, Deputy Director ( M & C), Press Information Bureau, New Delhi

Mangroves are plants that survive high salinity, tidal regimes, strong wind velocity, high temperature and muddy anaerobic soil – a combination of conditions hostile for other plants. They are found in the inter-tidal zones of sheltered shores, estuaries, creeks, backwaters, lagoons, marshes and mud-flats. Mangrove forests are regarded as the most productive and bio-diverse ecosystem on earth, as an important natural reserve of biological diversity. The mangrove ecosystem constitutes a bridge between terrestrial and marine ecosystems.

It is true that mangroves have contributed towards mitigation of the adverse impact of cyclones, tidal waves & sea water surges along some coastal areas of Orissa, Tamil Nadu & other parts of the country, and towards enhancement of fisheries. However, not all coastal areas are suitable for mangrove plantation as mangrove requires an appropriate mix and saline & freshwater, and soft substrate like mudflats to be able to grow and perpetuate. India is home to some of the best mangroves in the world. West Bengal has maximum mangrove cover in the country followed by Gujarat and Andaman & Nicobar Islands. The Ministry has established a National Mangrove Genetic Resources Centre in Orissa. Mangrove vegetation has been reported in all the 12 Coastal States/UTs.

Benefits

Mangrove plantation is to be perceived as one of the important components of Integrated Coastal Zone Management. In view of multiple benefits offered by mangrove forests to the coastal ecology and the local population, the Coastal States and Union Territories have been requested to identify additional areas suitable for mangrove plantation with people’s participation and augment the existing efforts related to education, awareness and alternative/supplementary livelihoods.

The benefits of mangroves are many. Mangroves are a source of firewood, of wood products such as timber, poles and posts, and of non-wood produce such as fodder, honey, wax, tannin, and dye and plant materials for thatching. Mangrove wetlands and forests act as a shelter belt against cyclones. (In Orissa a few years ago, villages surrounded by mangrove forests survived the fury of cyclones, unlike other villages). They also prevent coastal erosion. They provide nursery grounds for a number of commercially important fish, prawn, crabs and molluscs. They serve as food webs and enhance the fishery production of nearby coastal water by exporting nutrients and detritus. They provide habitats for wildlife ranging from migratory birds to estuarine crocodiles, tigers, etc. The filtering effect of mangrove forests protects vital coral reefs and sea grass beds from damaging siltation.

No wonder some coastal populations regard mangroves as sacred. At the Lord Nataraja temple at Chidambaram in Tamil Nadu, the mangrove tree Excoecaria agallocha, locally known as Thaillai, has been worshipped as a temple tree- Sthala vruksha.

Status

The Forest Survey of India (FSI) biennially maps and assesses country’s mangroves spread over 9 States and 3 UTs and includes the findings in the State of Forest Reports. As per the latest ‘India State of Forest Report 2009’ mangrove cover in India is spread over an area of 4,639 sq. km in the Coastal States/UTs of the country. Compared with 2005 assessment, there has been on increase of 58 sq. km in mangrove cover mainly because of the plantations and protection measures in the State of Gujarat, Orissa, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal mainly due to activities under the Ministry of Environment and Forests Centrally Sponsored Scheme on Conservation & Management of Mangroves. Decrease in mangrove cover in Andaman & Nicobar Islands is attributed to after effects of tsunami.

In nutshell, there was an increase of 55 sq. km in mangrove cover of Gujarat, 16 sq. km in West Bengal, 4 sq. km in Orissa and 3 sq. km in Tamil Nadu. However, there was a loss of 20 sq. km in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, due to the effect of tsunami in December 2004. This loss stood reduced by 1 sq. km as compared to the previous assessment in 2005. In general, the mangroves in India are well protected, in spite of growing threats by nature and man, due to the efforts of the Government. In fact, India is one of the very few developing countries where mangrove cover continues to increase. This clearly reiterates our belief that rapid economic growth need not come at the cost of protection and growth of our core ecological assets. The Forest Department of Gujarat has done excellent mangrove plantations, in the institutional category for plantations.

Legal and Regulatory Approaches for Protection

At present, the mangroves are protected through a range of regulatory measures such as Coastal Regulation Zone Notification, 1991; Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) studies under the EIA Notification, 1994 for specialized industries; monitoring of compliance, with conditions imposed while according Environmental Clearance, by Regional Offices of the Ministry and State Pollution Control Boards; enforcement of emission and effluent standards by industries and other entities, and recourse to legal action against the defaulters. Mangroves located within the notified forest areas are also covered under the Indian Forest Act, 1927 and Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980.

Central Scheme

The centrally sponsored scheme on conservation and management of mangroves & coral reefs was initiated in 1987. The main activities under the Scheme are Survey and Demarcation, Afforestation & Restoration of Mangroves, Regeneration of Corals, Alternate and Supplementary Livelihoods, Protection Measures, and Education & Awareness. 100% central assistance is given to States/UTs for implementation of approved Management Action Plans. All proposals for conservation and management of mangroves received from various State Governments are examined as per the laid down procedures and guidelines. States are encouraged to form SLSC [State level Steering Committee] to vet annual funding requirements & monitor the work progress.

Major components, assisted under the National Mangrove Conservation and Management Programme, are Capacity Building, Staff Training and Skills, Survey, Assessment and Demarcation , Plantation , Regeneration , Maintenance, Shelter Belt of Casuarina, etc., Alternate/Supplementary Livelihoods and Eco-development Activities, Community Participation, Biodiversity Conservation, Weed Control and Environmental Education & Awareness. (PIB Features)

On the Road to Cleanliness and Hygiene in Rural Areas – TSC

by Atul Kr. Tiwari, Director ( M & C), Press Information Bureau, New Delhi

Sanitation is one of the basic needs of life. In order to ensure sanitation facilities in rural areas with broader goal to eradicate the practice of open defecation, the Department of Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation under the Ministry Of Rural Development has been making consistent efforts under the Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC). The main goal of the Government is to eradicate the practice of open defecation by 2010.

Strategy

TSC advocates a participatory and demand driven approach, taking a district as a unit to start with significant involvement of Gram Panchayats and local communities. The strategy is to make the Program 'community led' and 'people centered' and the focus is on promoting hygiene and behaviour change, the key features of the TSC include - A community led approach with focus on collective achievement of total sanitation; Focus on Information, Education and Communication (IEC) to mobilize and motivate communities towards safe sanitation; Minimum incentives only for BPL households/poor/disabled, post construction and usage; Flexible menu of technology options; Development of supply chain to meet the demand stimulated at the community level; and Fiscal incentive in the form of a cash prize – Nirmal Gram Puraskar (NGP) – to accelerate achievement of total sanitation outcomes.

Components

For the Provision of Individual household latrines an Incentive of Rs. 1500/- and 700/- for each toilet is given by Central and State Government respectively to BPL households after they construct and use toilets. APL households are motivated to construct toilets with their own funds or by taking loans from SHGs, banks, cooperative institutions etc. Provision of Toilets in Schools and Anganwadis with the cost shared by Central and State Government in the ratio of 70:30. Construction of Community Sanitary Complexes; Assistance to Production Centers of sanitary materials and Rural Sanitary Marts and Solid and Liquid Waste Management.

Implementation

Use of innovative strategies has been successful in enhancing the Rural Sanitation Coverage from a mere 1% in 1981 to over 67% in the current year. The progress made under the program is: Currently TSC is being implemented in 607 rural districts spread across 30 States and UTs. Sanitation Coverage has gone more than three times from 22 % in 2001 to 67 % by September 2010.

Physical Progress

Under the program 7.07 crore individual toilets, 10.32 lakh school toilets , 3.46 lakh Anganwadi toilets and 19,502sanitary complexes for women have been constructed till September 2010. It includes 3.81 crore BPL household toilets.

Construction of Individual Household Latrine (IHHL)

Here, the performance of Dadra & Nagar Havelli, Puducherry, Manipur, Jammu & Kashmir, Bihar, Assam, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Jharkhand, Arunachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Orissa, Chattisgarh, Karnataka and Uttarakhand is below the national average of 50%. Sikkim and Kerela have made commendable achievement of cent percent sanitation coverage in individual households. Regarding the construction of School toilets, the performance is below the national average in Meghalaya, Jammu & Kashmir, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, West Bengal, Goa, Nagaland, M.P., Uttarakhand, Tripura, Tamilnadu and Manipur.

Completion Of All School and Anganwadi Toilets by March ,2011

As against the target of construction of 13,14,636 school toilets 10,32,703 (78.55%) have been reported to be constructed. All states have committed to cover all uncovered rural schools and anganwadi with sanitation facilities by March 2011. Mizoram and Sikkim have already achieved the targets set under TSC for building school toilets. Budget allocation has been substantially increased during the 10th Five Year Plan period from Rs. 165 crore in 2002-03 to Rs. 1580 crore in 2010-11.

Financial Progress

The total financial outlay under the TSC is Rs. 19626.43 crore. Central, State and beneficiary shares of the projects are Rs. 12273.81 crore, Rs. 5205.79 crore and Rs. 2146.83 crore respectively. Rs.5870.61 crore has already been released by the centre out of which Rs. 4730.28 crore has been utilized by the States for implementation of the Program.

Expenditure against centre release is below national average in Punjab, Dadar & Nagar Haveli, Manipur, Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Orissa, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Tripura, Bihar, Jharkhand, Meghalaya, West Bengal and Jammu & Kashmir.

Nirmal Gram Puraskar

Incentives under the Nirmal Gram Puraskar has contributed to the spurt in sanitation coverage after TSC was launched in 1999, average coverage between 2001 to 2004 rose to 3% annually. After NGP was launched in 2004, the average coverage is now increasing by about 7-8% annually.

Constraints

Lack of priority for sanitation in some States; Non-release of State share by some States; Lack of emphasis on inter-personal communication at village level; Inadequate capacity building at grass root level; Lack of behavioural change among some households or members of the household; Inadequate number of toilets and urinals in schools in relation to strength of students; and Low emphasis on solid and liquid waste management are some of the constraints felt.

Challenges

It is expected that approximately 2.4 crore more households shall be covered with sanitation facilities by the end of 11thPlan. Approximately 1.2 crore rural households are being provided sanitation facilities each year. 3.18 crore households, therefore, shall still be required to be provided sanitation facilities in rural areas by the end of 11th Plan. This balance number of 3.18 crore rural households approximately, shall be required to be covered for sanitation facilities during the 12th Plan as per present project objectives. Any change in the definition of BPLs or identification of new households not having sanitation facilities shall change the requirement accordingly.

Difficult Areas

Flood affected, coastal, and hilly and desert areas require focused attention and specific solution. This may also involve development of appropriate and cost effective technologies with credible means of social mobilization.

Solid & Liquid Waste Management (SLWM)

Gram Panchayats need to be motivated to evolve institutional mechanisms for collection and disposal of biodegradable and non biodegradable waste. In pre-urban areas, its usage for toilet flushing needs attention.

Convergence

Integrating sanitation programs with initiatives to improve water availability and health care would increase the likelihood of achieving public health outcomes such as reduction in diarrhea and other water borne & infectious diseases. TSCs, convergence with the rural water supply programs and the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) program is of utmost importance.

Personal Hygiene Management

Focus is on provision of hand-washing as an integral part of sanitation facilities in schools and Anganwadis and provision for menstrual hygiene for rural women and adolescent girls.

Eco Sanitation

Once the behavior change efforts now being made through pour-flushed toilets are successful, Eco Sanitation shall be required to be promoted to save water and to close the loop of sanitation through ecological means for which efforts need to begin early.

Disabled Friendly Toilets

Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC) cannot afford to ignore sizeable population of physical challenged persons. At least one toilet for persons with special needs would be required to be provided in all institutions in rural areas.

Special Sectors for Convergence/Sanitation coverage

Need of greater convergence of TSC to provide clean and health environment in areas like Railways, on highways and Sanitation and food hygiene at Tourists and religious places, weekly marketing areas etc.

In the wake of these developments the Department of Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation under the Ministry Of Rural Development has been undertaking several initiatives to strengthen the implementation of the program. These include regular reviews of progress made by States in achievements of targets set under TSC, strengthening the Nirmal Gram Puraskar by revising the guidelines for enhancing greater transparency and credibility of the selection process. Among the other initiatives undertaken to make the program more effective include the Review of the IEC and HRD strategy for program implementation , Integration of sanitation technology options with TSC by organizing National Workshop and training programs on Eco Sanitation, strengthening the capacity of States for undertaking next generation sanitation activities like Solid and Liquid Waste Management .

It is expected that the new initiatives and measures would provide a further push to meet the basic requirements of sanitation in rural areas. (PIB Features)

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