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Madhav Chitale Committee Recommends Measures for De-silting Ganga

The Union Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation had constituted a committee to prepare guidelines for desiltation of Ganga River last year. The four member committee is headed by Madhav Chitale (Expert Member of National Ganga River Basin Authority). The other members of the committee include Secretary, Union Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation, Secretary, Union Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change and Dr. Mukesh Sinha, Director, Central Water and Power Research Station, Pune. The committee was constituted as per the commitment made by Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Uma Bharti while chairing the 6th meeting of the National Ganga River Basin Authority in New Delhi in July, 2016.

Salient Recommendations

The committee has recommended a series of measures that includes creation of sand registry for de-silting of the Ganga, study to guide de-silting activities and establishment of a technical institute to conduct the sediment budget.

The committee has recommended for the establishment of an institute for flood routing studies. 

The committee has observed that erosion, sediment transport and siltation are very complex phenomena and hence ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach cannot be applied to sediment management and control as the issues involved are regionally-specific. So, the committee suggests to evolve guidelines, better broad principles while planning and implementing de-silting works as the indiscriminate se-siltation works may cause more harm to ecology.

The committee recommends good agricultural practices, river bank anti-erosion works and reclamation of adjoining lakes along the river. The committee also favors de-silting of adjoining lakes to increase their storage capacities.

It has recommended dredging of shoals in the Farakka Barrage and usage of such sediments for re-grading the Farakka Feeder Canal. It has also suggested to modify  the bridges across the Ganga which are causing large afflux.

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Cows to have Aadhaar like ID

The central government has informed the Supreme Court that it intends to provide unique identification number for cows as suggested by an expert committee to track cattle and prevent their trafficking.

According to the August 2016 report submitted by the committee constituted by the home ministry, the unique ID will have the details like cattle’s age, breed, sex, height, body colour, horn type, tail switch, lactation profile (in case of milch cattles) and other special marks. The IDs are proposed to be provided in the form of a polyurethane tag. In addition, the registration proof has to be maintained by the owner of the cattle which should be transferred to the next owner in case of legitimate transfer of the cattle. The committee has also recommended that a state level data base may be uploaded to a website that links with a national online database.

The response of the government was submitted to Supreme Court which was hearing the PIL filed by Akhil Bharat Krishi Gosewa Sangh.

Need

According to the government, the recommendations of the panel will help in stop trafficking of cattle across the Indo-Bangladesh border and will also prevent smuggling of cattle to Nepal for being sacrificed at the Gadhimai festival, which is held once in five years.

Also, as per the Foreign Trade (Development and Regulation) Act read with Export Import Policy (Exim policy) of India requires that cattle can be exported to other countries only with a valid license from the regional licensing authority.

The allocation of unique ID will also help to prevent cruelty towards the animals. They can be vaccinated on time and scientific intervention can be made available on time. It would also pave way for making a uniform act for cow preservation and protection in India.

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Government sets up inter-ministerial panel to monitor UDAN

The Union Government has set up an ‘Inter- Ministerial Monitoring-cum-Coordination Committee’ to monitor the UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Naagrik) scheme.

UDAN is regional air connectivity scheme (RCS) which seeks to make flying affordable by connecting unserved and under-served airports.

Key Facts
  • The committee will be responsible for coordination among stakeholders, including state governments for “time-bound” implementation of the scheme.
  • It will also monitor schemes of promotion of regional connectivity by way of revival of unserved and under-served airports/airstrips and UDAN.
  • It will be chaired by Civil Aviation Secretary and will have representations from the ministries of Finance, Defence, Home as well as Petroleum and Natural Gas.
  • Airports Authority of India (AAI) Chairman, representatives from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), BCAS (Bureau of Civil Aviation Security), officials of airlines and states concerned will be also its part.
Background

The Union Civil Aviation Ministry already has awarded 128 routes connecting 70 airports to 5 airlines, under the scheme UDAN Scheme. In the flights operated under RCS, around 50% of the seats will have a fare cap Rs 2,500 per seat/hour. Apart from various incentives, the operators of such flights will be extended viability gap funding (VGF) for which money is partly raised through a levy imposed on flights operating in major routes. The VGF will be in place for three years for the airlines concerned from the date of starting operations in a particular UDAN route. Operators will be provided also other benefits such as zero airport charges and three-year exclusivity on the routes.

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