- Swachh Survekshan 2018: Indore emerges the cleanest city
- Indore emerged as the cleanest city, followed by Bhopal and Chandigarh in the government’s cleanliness survey “Swachh Survekshan 2018”.
- Jharkhand has adjudged the best-performing state in the survey followed by Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh.
- The parameters and methodology of this survey were different from the ones used during Swachh Survekshan 2017 edition.
- The latest edition includes parameters such as sustainable waste management practices, source segregation, decentralised processing of waste through bulk generators and integration of informal workers among others.
- Indore was the cleanest city last year as well but that survey was conducted only for around 430 cities.
- This time it was conducted for around 4,200 cities.
- The ministry claims that the processing rate of solid waste management in India stands at 29 percent, whereas 36 percent wards in the country are practising source segregation as of now.
- It is a ranking exercise taken up by the Government of India to assess rural and urban areas for their levels of cleanliness and active implementation of Swachhata mission initiatives in a timely and innovative manner.
- The Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India takes up the Swachh Survekshan in urban areas and the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation in rural areas.
- The Quality Council of India (QCI) has been commissioned with the responsibility of carrying out the assessment.
Source- Indian Express
- Cabinet approves National Policy on Biofuels – 2018
- The Policy categorises biofuels as-
(a) Basic Biofuels – First Generation (1G) bioethanol & biodiesel
(b) Advanced Biofuels – Second Generation (2G) ethanol, Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) to drop-in fuels, Third Generation (3G) biofuels, bio-CNG etc.
to enable the extension of appropriate financial and fiscal incentives under each category.
- The Policy expands the scope of raw material for ethanol production by allowing the use of Sugarcane Juice, Sugar-containing materials like Sugar Beet, Sweet Sorghum, Starch-containing materials like Corn, Cassava, Damaged food grains like wheat, broken rice, Rotten Potatoes, unfit for human consumption for ethanol production.
- The Policy allows the use of surplus food grains for production of ethanol for blending with petrol with the approval of National Biofuel Coordination Committee.
- With a thrust on Advanced Biofuels, the Policy indicates a viability gap funding scheme for 2G ethanol Biorefineries of Rs.5000 crore in 6 years in addition to additional tax incentives, higher purchase price as compared to 1G biofuels.
- The Policy encourages setting up of supply chain mechanisms for biodiesel production from non-edible oilseeds, Used Cooking Oil, short gestation crops.
- Reduce Import Dependency
- Cleaner Environment
- Health benefits
- MSW (Municipal Solid Waste) Management
- Infrastructural Investment in Rural Areas
- Employment Generation
- Additional Income to Farmers
- In order to promote biofuels in the country, a National Policy on Biofuels was made by Ministry of New and Renewable Energy during the year 2009.
- Biofuels programme in India has been largely impacted due to the sustained and quantum non-availability of domestic feedstock for biofuel production which needs to be addressed.
- Bio-fuels are a source of energy derived from the conversion of carbon-fixing biomass through thermal, chemical or biochemical processes.
- Their popularity arises from the fact that they are cheaper and less environmentally polluting than fossil fuels.
- 1st generation biofuel– Directly using the food crops like wheat and sugar for making ethanol and oilseeds for biodiesel by the conventional method of fermentation. These fuels emitted more greenhouse gases.
- 2nd generation biofuel– Non-food crops and feedstock instead of food crops. Example: Wood, grass, seed crops, organic waste etc.
- 3rd generation biofuel– Use specially engineered Algae whose biomass is used to convert into biofuels. The greenhouse gas emission here will be low in comparison to others.
- 4th generation biofuel– is aimed at not only producing sustainable energy but also a way of capturing and storing co2.
- Cabinet approved Corpus for Micro Irrigation Fund with NABARD
- The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved an initial Corpus of Rs. 5,000 crores for setting up of a dedicated “Micro Irrigation Fund” (MIF) with NABARD under Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY).
- The allocation of Rs. 2,000 crore and Rs. 3,000 crores will be utilised during 2018-19 and 2019-20 respectively.
- The lending rate under MIF has been proposed at 3% lower than the cost of raising the fund by NABARD.
- The dedicated Micro Irrigation Fund would supplement the efforts of Per Drop More Crop Component (PDMC) of Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana in an effective and timely manner.
- The Fund will facilitate States to mobilise resources for their initiatives, including additional (top up subsidy) in an implementation of PMKSY-PDMC to achieve the annual target.
- Borrowings from NABARD shall be paid back in 7 years including the grace period of two years.
- Farmers Producers Organization (FPO)/Cooperatives/State Level Agencies can also access the funds with State Government Guarantee or equivalent collateral.
- Bharat Inclusion Initiative
- IIM-Ahmedabad’s Centre for Innovation, Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE) has launched the Bharat Inclusion Initiative, with a commitment of $25.
- The initiative will focus on incubating and backing start-ups that work in areas such as financial inclusion, livelihood, education and health.
- The initiative aims to channelize approximately $25 Million over the next 3-4 years in backing start-ups using digital technology to offer services to the unserved.
Source- Economic Times
- Cabinet nod for out-of-court dispute resolution for PSUs
- The Cabinet approved a mechanism within the government for speedy resolution of commercial disputes of central public-sector enterprises without cases going to courts.
- A new two-tier mechanism will be put in place of the existing Permanent Machinery of Arbitration mechanism to resolve such commercial disputes.
- At the first level (tier), a committee comprising of secretaries of the relevant administrative and secretary department of legal affairs will look at the dispute.
- At the second level (tier), in case the dispute remains unresolved, it will be referred to the Cabinet Secretary, whose decision will be final and binding on all concerned.
- For the prompt disposal of disputes, a time schedule of 3 months at the first level has been prescribed.
- The government said it would reduce “the number of litigations regarding commercial disputes in Court of Law and also avoid wastage of public money.
Source- Economic Times