Harsh Vardhan Current Affairs - 2019
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The Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan launched the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP). The programme aims to tackle the challenge of increasing pollution in the cities and towns.
Features of the Programme
The important features of the programme are:
- It is a five-year action plan with a tentative target of 20-30% reduction in concentrations of PM10 and PM2.5 by 2024, with 2017 as the base year.
- The plan covers 102 non-attainment cities, across 23 states and Union territories, which were identified by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) on the basis of their ambient air quality data between 2011 and 2015.
Cities are considered as Non-attainment cities, if they were consistently showing poorer air quality than the National Ambient Air Quality Standards. Cities included under the list of Non-attainment cities Delhi, Varanasi, Bhopal, Kolkata, Noida, Muzaffarpur, and Mumbai.
- The centre plans to scale up the air quality monitoring network across India under the programme.
- Studies would be conducted across 102 non-attainment cities to ascertain pollution sources and the extent of their contribution.
- The Apex committee in the Ministry of Environment would periodically review the progress of these components on the basis of appropriate indicators, which will be evolved.
- Each city would be asked to develop its own action plan for implementation based on sources of pollution.
- A three-tier system, including real-time physical data collection, data archiving, and an action trigger system in all 102 cities, besides extensive plantation plans, research on clean-technologies, landscaping of major arterial roads, and stringent industrial standards are proposed under the plan.
- State-level plans of e-mobility in the two-wheeler sector, rapid augmentation of charging infrastructure, stringent implementation of BS-VI norms, boosting public transportation system, and adoption of third-party audits for polluting industries are proposed part of the plan.
- The plan document is not binding on the states since the document is not a legal document.
The Environmentalists criticised the plan for not making it legally binding. The Environmentalists demand a more stringent action to ensure the safety and well being of millions of lives risk because of the continuously growing air pollution crisis.
The DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill, 2018 was introduced in Lok Sabha by the Minister of Science and Technology Harsh Vardhan.
Features of the Bill
The bill aims to allow the use of DNA technology for establishing the identity of certain persons, including victims, offenders and missing persons. The features of the bill are:
- The Bill regulates the use of DNA technology for establishing the identity of persons in respect of matters listed in a Schedule which include criminal matters (such as offences under the Indian Penal Code, 1860), and civil matters such as parentage disputes, emigration or immigration, and transplantation of human organs.
- The Bill seeks to establish a National DNA Data Bank and Regional DNA Data Banks.
- As per the provisions of the bill, every Data Bank is required to maintain the following indices: (i) crime scene index, (ii) suspects’ or undertrials’ index, (iii) offenders’ index, (iv) missing persons’ index, and (v) unknown deceased persons’ index.
- The Bill establishes a DNA Regulatory Board to accredit the DNA laboratories that analyse DNA samples to establish the identity of an individual.
- It is mandatory to get written consent by individuals to collect DNA samples from them. The consent is not required for offences with the punishment of more than seven years of imprisonment or death.
- The Bill provides for the removal of DNA profiles of suspects on the filing of a police report or court order. The DNA profiles of undertrials can be removed on the basis of a court order. Profiles in the crime scene and missing person’s index will be removed on a written request.
The members of the house citing privacy concerns requested for referring the bill to the standing committee of the Parliament.
Tags: crime scene index • DNA Regulatory Board • DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill 2018 • Harsh Vardhan • Indian Penal Code • Lok Sabha • Minister of Science and Technology • missing persons’ index • National DNA Data Bank • offenders’ index • Regional DNA Data Bank • suspects’ or undertrials’ index • unknown deceased persons’ index.