Ministry of Environment & Forests Current Affairs

Union Government reconstitutes SEAC-II in Maharashtra

Union Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change (MoEFCC) has reconstituted the second State Expert Appraisal Committee (SEAC) in Maharashtra.

The reconstituted SEAC-II will assess projects falling in category 8 of the schedule of (Environment Impact Assessment) EIA notification 2006 in the Mumbai metropolitan region and Konkan division in Maharashtra.

SEAC-II will have seven members and will be headed by retired IAS officer Johny Joseph as Chairman. The term of the chairman and members of the committee will be till October 2016.

The state government will provide all logistic support and financial to the SEAC-II.

Background

  • In Maharashtra, there are two SEAC-I and SEAC-II committees. Both the committees appraise projects for environment clearance in the state.
  • The SEAC-I looks at projects from across the state, while the SEAC-II assess projects from the Mumbai metropolitan region and Konkan division.
  • Both committees recommend either approval or rejection the projects to the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA).

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Union Government merges Green India Mission merged with MGNREGA to reclaim forest cover

Union Government has merged Green India Mission (GIM) with the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) Scheme.

By merging GIM with MGNREGA Scheme government seeks to increase 10 million hectares of forest cover.

Key facts

  • National Mission for a Green India aims for afforestation at 10 million hectares of land over the next decade in order to increase and improve the country’s forest cover. It also aims at improving ecosystems services, forest based livelihood income of about three million households and to enhance annual CO2 sequestration.
  • At present under MGNREGA Scheme green works such as water harvesting, afforestation and farm forestry are undertaken which are implemented by Union Ministry of Rural Development.
  • Government will also use modern technology like remote sensing to monitor the progress of this initiative regularly.

Union Government also has set out convergence guidelines in this regard after consulting both Ministry of Environment & Forest (MoEF) and Rural Development Ministries.

Convergence guidelines includes

  • All lands including community lands, village common lands, revenue wastelands, wetlands, shifting cultivation areas, and private agricultural lands will be eligible for afforestation.
  • Under MGNREGA for afforestation, forest works such as pre-plantation,  planting, watering and pit digging will be undertaken. Fencing, plant support and protection activities, mulching, weeding and manuring the plants will be also undertaken.
  • Technical advice related to the plant species suitable for area and to raise nurseries will be provided by State Forest Development Agencies (SFDA).
  • SFDA will also deliver information related to plant material to each gram panchayat before July each year meeting the cost from MGNREGA funds.

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