Environment Ministry Current Affairs - 2020

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Government releases Draft National Resource Efficiency Policy

Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) recently released Draft National Resource Efficiency Policy, 2019. It has invited comments and suggestions from stakeholders including public/private organizations, experts and concerned citizens on the draft policy.

Features of Draft National Resource Efficiency Policy (NREP)

It envisions future with environmentally sustainable and equitable economic growth, resource security, healthy environment (air, water and land), and restored ecosystems with rich ecology and biodiversity.

It is Guided by Principles of-

(i) reduction in primary resource consumption to ‘sustainable’ levels, in keeping with achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SGs) and staying within planetary boundaries.

(ii) creation of higher value with less material through resource efficient and circular approaches (aimed at eliminating waste and the continual use of resources).

(iii) material security and creation of employment opportunities and business models beneficial to cause of environment protection and restoration.

(iv) waste minimization

It provides overarching collaborative framework for resource efficiency across all sectors in the country, covering both biotic and abiotic resources and life cycle stages and aspires for cross-sectoral stakeholder partnerships for cause of resource efficiency for sustainable development.


Natural resources form backbone of any economic development. India, as one of fastest growing economies with GDP at US $2.6 trillion has increased its material consumption to six times, from 1.18 billion tonnes (BT) in 1970 to 7 BT in 2015. It is expected to increase further to provide for increasing population, rapid urbanization and growing aspirations. Thus, enhancing resource efficiency and promoting use of secondary raw materials has emerged as strategy for ensuring that potential trade-off between growth, environmental well-being and resource constraints can be minimized.

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GM mustard DMH-11 trials may get nod for field-trials

Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) will soon convene special meeting of Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) to decide on field-trial approvals for transgenic mustard DMH-11 developed by University of Delhi’s Centre for Genetic Manipulation of Crop Plants (CGMCP).


CGMCP had earlier applied to grow transgenic mustard (DMH-11) in plots in Delhi and Punjab to test plant’s effects on honeybees after GEAC had initially cleared GM crop for commercial cultivation. But later GEAC had backtracked and demanded more tests of transgenic mustard and asked for additional data on honeybees and other pollinators and on soil microbial diversity after some members objected to use of unapproved pesticides/herbicides including banned Endosulfan in project proposal. Some members also had voiced objections over lack of time to examine field safety protocol which specifies what measures can be undertaken in case of pest attack.

GM Mustard DMH-11

DMH (Dhara Mustard Hybrid)-11 is genetically modified variety of Herbicide Tolerant (HT) mustard. It was developed by team of scientists from Delhi University’s CGMCP led by former Vice-Chancellor Deepak Pental under Government sponsored project. It was created by using “barnase/barstar” technology for genetic modification by adding genes from soil bacterium that makes mustard self-pollinating plant. It contains three genes viz. Bar gene, Barnase and Barstar sourced from soil bacterium. The bar gene had made plant resistant to herbicide named Basta.

Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC)

GEAC is apex body under Environment Ministry for regulating manufacturing, use, import, export and storage of hazardous micro-organisms or genetically engineered organisms (GMOs) and cells in the country. It is also responsible for giving technical approval of proposals relating to release of GMOs and products including experimental field trials.

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