PM receives Gates Foundation award in NY

by | Sep 26, 2019 | Environment, Sustainability

Prime Minister Narendra Modi received the ‘Global Goalkeeper’ Award by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in New York
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Prime Minister Narendra Modi received the ‘Global Goalkeeper’ Award by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, on 24 September 2019. The award ceremony took place on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) session in New York.

Prime Minister dedicated the award to those Indians who transformed the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan into a mass movement and made it a part of their daily lives.

“The success of the Swachh Bharat Mission is due to the people of India. They made this their own movement and ensured the desired results were attained,” Prime Minister said after receiving the award.

Terming it as a significant moment personally to receive the award on the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, Modi said Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is proof that when 130 crore Indians take a pledge, any challenge can be overcome. He added that India is making remarkable progress in fulfilling Mahatma Gandhi’s dream of a Swachh Bharat.

“In the last five years, a record of more than 11 crore toilets were constructed. This mission has benefitted the poor and women of the country the most,” he noted. In addition to improving sanitation and health, building of 11 crore toilets has also boosted economic activity in villages, PM added.

Speaking about improving global sanitation coverage, Prime Minister said that India was ready to share its expertise and experiences with other nations, so that there can be collective effort towards increasing sanitation coverage.

Prime Minister also mentioned about India’s efforts towards preventive healthcare through mission mode movements like Fit India Movement and Jal Jeevan Mission.

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Boost for EVs: 1 charging unit per 3 sq. km in cities

Boost for EVs: 1 charging unit per 3 sq. km in cities

In a major decision to give a boost to electric vehicles in country, the government has approved amendments in Electric Vehicle Charging Guidelines and Specifications. These Revised Guidelines and Specifications for charging infrastructure shall supersede the earlier guidelines and standards issued by the Ministry of Power on 14 Dec 2018.

Speaking about the decision, Power Minister RK Singh said that revised guidelines are more consumer friendly as they incorporate a number of suggestions received from various stakeholders. “We have tried to address the concerns of EV owners in new guidelines,” he said and expressed hope that revised guidelines will encourage faster adoption of EVs in India.

In order to address the range of issues of the electric vehicle owners, a phase-wise installation of an appropriate network of charging infrastructure throughout the country has been envisaged in the guidelines ensuring that at least one charging station should be available in a grid of 3 km x 3 km in the cities and one charging station at every 25 km on both sides of highways/roads.

It has been envisaged that in the first phase (i.e. 1-3 years) all Mega Cities with population of 4 million plus as per census 2011, all existing expressways connected to these mega cities & important highways connected with each of these mega cities may be taken up for coverage, while in the second phase (3-5 years) big cities like state capitals, UT headquarters may be covered for distributed and demonstrative effect.

Further, important highways connected with each of these mega cities may also be taken up for coverage. To address the concerns in inter-city travel and long range and/or heavy duty EVs it has been provided that Fast Charging Station for long range and/or heavy duty EVs like buses/trucks etc., shall be installed at every 100 km, shall be installed one on each side of the highways/road located preferably within/alongside the Public Charging Station (PCS) mentioned above.

The above density/distance requirements shall be used by the concerned state/UT Governments/their Agencies for the land use planning for public charging stations as well as for priority in installation of distribution network including transformers/feeders etc by the DISCOMs. This shall be done in all cases including where no central/state subsidy is provided.

Assuming that most of the charging of EVs would take place at homes or at offices where the decision of using Fast or Slow chargers would rest on the consumers, it has been clarified in the guidelines that private charging at residences/offices shall be permitted and DISCOMs may facilitate the same.

As far as the Public Charging Stations (PCS) are concerned, it has already been clarified by Ministry of Power that setting up of PCS shall be a de-licensed activity and any individual/entity is free to set up public charging stations, which has also been reiterated in the guidelines, subject to the conditions as specified in the Guidelines. Further, the guidelines specifies the type of chargers of different standards (viz. CCS, CHAdeMO, Type-2 AC, Bharat AC 001) thus ensuring that the PCS owners have the freedom to install the chargers as per the market requirement. To keep the PCS technology agnostic, it has been provided that any other fast/slow/moderate charger as per approved DST/BIS standards whenever notified can also be installed at the PCS. Thus, the Guidelines provide an extensive flexibility while ensuring a democratic choice to both EV owners and PCS providers to install the type and number of chargers.

Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), a statutory body under Ministry of Power has been nominated as the Central Nodal Agency. Further a provision for State Nodal Agency for the respective states has been provided for in the Guidelines. The roles of the respective Nodal Agencies have been specified. These Nodal Agencies will act as the key facilitator in installation of Charging Infrastructure for Electric Vehicles throughout the country.

The tariff to be charged, from Public Charging Stations as well as from domestic consumers for domestic charging, by the DISCOMs and the Service Charges to be charged by these PCS from EV users have also been covered in the guidelines. It has been provided that the domestic charging shall be akin to domestic consumption of electricity and shall be charged as such.

However, in case of PCS, it has been provided that tariff for the supply of electricity to PCS shall be determined by the appropriate commission in accordance with the Tariff policy issued under section 3 of Electricity Act 2003, as amended from time to time. As far as the Service Chargers at PCS are concerned, while it has been clarified that charging of EV is a service, to ensure that the incentives (financial or otherwise) provided to PCS owners in installation of charging stations are transferred to the EV owners, it has been provided that the appropriate agency/commission shall fix the ceiling of Service Charges in such cases.

UNCCD meet concludes with Delhi Declaration

UNCCD meet concludes with Delhi Declaration

The 12-day long 14th Conference of Parties (COP14) to United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) came to a close today, with thought-provoking discussions on land management, restoration of degraded land, drought, climate change, renewable energy, women empowerment, gender equality, water scarcity and various other issues. India was the host to UNCCD COP14, which witnessed widespread participation from over 9,000 participants from all across the globe at India Expo Centre & Mart, Greater Noida from 2 to 13 September 2019.

COP14 witnessed 11 high-level, 30 committee and over 170 stakeholder meetings, 145 side-events, and 44 exhibitions.

Speaking at the Press Conference today on the outcomes of COP14, Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), Prakash Javadekar exuded confidence that all three Rio conventions will work in synergy.

In an unprecedented global campaign to save productive land, country parties have agreed to make the Sustainable Development Goal target of achieving land degradation neutrality by 2030 a national target for action.

Javadekar reiterated India’s commitment to achieving land degradation neutrality by 2030. He also committed to provide an effective leadership to the UNCCD during his two-year tenure of Presidentship.

Countries will address insecurity of land tenure, including gender inequality in land tenure, promote land restoration to reduce land-related carbon emissions and mobilize innovative sources of finance from public and private sources to support the implementation of these decisions at country-level.

The framework used for reporting action will be improved to ensure it captures key issues, such as gender equality, drought response and the influence of consumption and production patterns and flows on land degradation. Through the Delhi Declaration, ministers expressed support for new initiatives or coalitions aiming to improve human health and well-being, the health of ecosystems, and to advance peace and security. The Environment Minister stated, “Delhi Declaration is an ambitious statement of global action by each country on how to achieve Land Degradation Neutrality”.

“To my mind, this was the COP where we put people at the heart of what we do,” said Ibrahim Thiaw, Executive Secretary of UNCCD, with Parties adopting a breakthrough decision on land tenure rights and drawing on the unique voices, experiences of youth and women.

COP 14 also adopted a landmark decision to buttress global efforts to better mitigate and manage the risks of drought and to build resilience.

Thiaw also highlighted the contribution of COP 14 to the Climate Action Summit, stressing that land restoration, at scale, is one of the cheapest solutions to address the global crises of climate and biodiversity loss.

Attention was also drawn to the role the private sector would play in land restoration going forward, including through promoting sustainable value chains, as well as the incentives that will draw them in, such as the regulation in support of innovation for sustainable land management and rewarding conservation, restoration and sustainable use of resources.

MP body signs MOU for sustainable tourism

MP body signs MOU for sustainable tourism

Madhya Pradesh Tourism Board has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Ecotourism Society of India (ESOI) to take its commitments to responsible and sustainable tourism to the next level. In accordance, Faiz Ahmed Kidwai, Secretary, Tourism, Govt of Madhya Pradesh, Managing Director, Madhya Pradesh Tourism Board and Madhya Pradesh State Tourism Development Corporation and Dr. Anjuna Dhir, Director – Programmes, Eco Tourism Society of India (ESOI) signed the MOU as on 11 September 2019.

Last year on 25 & 26 September a two-day conference on Sustainable Tourism Criteria for India (STCI) was jointly organized by the Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India, The Ecotourism Society of India (ESOI) and Madhya Pradesh Tourism Board. In the conference Madhya Pradesh Tourism Board made a commitment to practice sustainable tourism and adopt the Sustainable Tourism Criteria for India (STCI). Through this MOU, it is decided that sustainable tourism and Responsible Tourism will take the forefront and achieve the commitments of the Madhya Pradesh Tourism’s action plan in this area.

Speaking on the occasion, Faiz Ahmed Kidwai, Secretary, Tourism, Govt. of Madhya Pradesh, Managing Director, Madhya Pradesh Tourism Board and Madhya Pradesh State Tourism Development Corporation said “This MOU will certainly help us developing Madhya Pradesh a world recognized Sustainable Tourism destination and in exchange assist MP Tourism to become STCI Compliant and to be known as one of the pioneer states to adopt sustainable tourism practices in its Hotels”.

The Ecotourism Society of India (ESOI) was established in 2008 at the behest of the Ministry of Tourism (MOT) as a non-profit organization to promote environmentally responsible and sustainable practices in the tourism industry across the country. This national body was formed by a group of eminent professionals from the tourism industry, Government, Parliament and environmentalists & Conservationists.

Madhya Pradesh offers an assortment of attractions to everyone who loves to travel. It is the state with the forest area cover of 77,700 sq. km (approximately one-fourth of the total area) filled with Sal Trees & Bamboos. It has numerous wildlife hotspots with 11 National parks & 24 Wildlife sanctuaries such as Satpura Wildlife Sanctuary and Chambal Ghadiyal Sanctuary. The UNESCO world heritage sites of Khajuraho, Bhimbetka & Sanchi are the iconic sites in Madhya Pradesh. Madhya Pradesh has re-gained the tag of being “Tiger State of the Country” by having maximum tiger count (526) in the state. The roar of Tigers has increased in the dense and beautiful forests of Madhya Pradesh.

Circular economy gets fillip as PM launches SHS 19

Circular economy gets fillip as PM launches SHS 19

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today launched Swachhata Hi Seva (SHS) 2019, a massive countrywide awareness and mobilization campaign on Swachhata in Mathura. SHS 2019, with special focus on ‘plastic waste awareness and management’ is being organized from 11 September to 2 October 2019, as the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) is poised to dedicate an ODF India to Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th birth anniversary. The launch of SHS was organized jointly by the central Departments of Animal Husbandry and Dairying and Drinking Water and Sanitation and the Government of Uttar Pradesh.

The Prime Minister also visited the Pashudhan Arogya Vigyan Mela, where he saw cows being operated upon to remove plastic waste from their stomachs. He then interacted with a group of women from Uttar Pradesh who segregate plastic waste into recyclables and non-recyclables, and in a unique gesture, also participated in the segregation activity himself.

Plastic recycling is an important part of global recycling economy, which is currently valued at $317 billion and employees millions of people. Recycled PET can be used to make many new products, including fiber for polyester carpet; fabric for T-shirts, long underwear, athletic shoes, luggage, upholstery and sweaters; fiberfill for sleeping bags and winter coats; industrial strapping, sheet and film; automotive parts, such as luggage racks, headliners, fuse boxes, bumpers, grilles and door panels.

Addressing an audience of about 20,000 farmers, sarpanches, women groups and swachhagrahis, the Prime Minister urged all citizens to free their houses, offices and work space from single use plastic. Drawing people’s attention to the hazardous effects of such plastic for the environment, and for the health of animals and aquatic life, he reiterated his appeal to use cloth or jute bags while going out for shopping and to use metal or earthen glasses for serving water in offices. He asked people to collect all the plastic waste from their surroundings at an identified place and to ensure its safe disposal with the support of the local administration during the Swachhata Hi Seva.

Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath applauded the positive impacts of the SBM and highlighted the contribution of SBM in dealing with the menace of deadly disease Encephalitis in eastern UP. He added that the significant increase in the sanitation coverage under SBM will now be leveraged for achieving the goal of plastic waste free India on the lines of ODF India.

Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Union Minister of Jal Shakti said that the entire world is eagerly waiting for the day when India becomes ODF. He said that the SHS 2019 campaign would give a big boost to generate mass awareness on plastic waste and its subsequent collection, recycling and disposal, and will be a new Jan Andolan for protecting environment under the inspiring leadership of the Prime Minister.

This year’s Swachhata Hi Seva will see mass awareness generation activities on plastic waste management from 11 September to 1 October; nationwide Shramdaan for plastic waste collection and segregation on 2 October; and recycling and effective disposal of the collected plastic waste from 3 October to 27 October 2019 (Diwali). The Prime Minister has also written personal letters to all Sarpanches and Swachhagrahis, motivating them make the Swachhata Hi Seva 2019 a grand success. These letters were read out today at special Gram Sabhas across the country.

The aim is to equip masses with the knowledge to distinguish between recyclable v/s non-recyclable plastics. The govt. plans to eliminate the use of non-recyclable plastics such as poly bags, straws/stirrers, thermocol decoration, plastic cups etc. and promote the collection and recycling of PET bottles (water/oil/juice/cola bottles), HDPE containers (shampoo/conditioner bottles) to generate revenue and lakhs of jobs for our nation.

The logo of this year’s ‘Swachhata Hi Seva’ mission depicts a plastic bottle and a human hand inside of a recycling sign, denoting shraamdan for plastic recycling to promote circular economy to generate revenue and lakhs of jobs for our nation. The plastic PET bottle is included in the logo since it is the most recycled type of plastic globally.

“The government aims to tackle the plastic pollution issue by weeding out its roots. Technically, all plastics are recyclable but not everything that’s ‘recyclable’ actually gets recycled. The journey of recycling starts with consumers responsibly segregating and disposing various materials like paper, wood, plastic, metals, debris, glass etc. The next step is to have an effective collection & waste management system in place to send plastic waste to the recycling units. In the absence of a robust waste collection and disposal mechanism, a lot of waste is ending up in landfills and water bodies. The need of the hour is to replace the existing linear economic models with circular economic models to eliminate waste by increasing reusability and ensuring recycling of highly recyclable plastic waste such as small and big plastic bottles. Our country has an army of 40lakh ragpickers, which can be mobilized to make our country a Plastic Waste Free India,” Commented Vinod Shukla, President – Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay Smriti Manch, a national NGO working for the upliftment of ragpickers. He is the nephew of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay.

The plan is to collect PET bottles through nationwide shraamdan since it is the highest recycled plastic type in India. As per the report released by the National Chemical Laboratory (NCL) – CSIR, the current recycling rate of PET bottles is 80% in India, more than the USA, Japan, Europe, and China. Another 10% get reused in Indian households. This includes PET bottles, containers, and jars with a capacity of 150 ml to 20 liters.

“Plastic, which has been named as one of greatest invention of 21st century, is being defamed as the curse to humanity, since it is a new material compare to metals, glass, which we are using since centuries. The awareness about the use and end-of-life treatment of plastic waste is not well understood amongst key stakeholders hence it is being littered irresponsibly and became a global environmental challenge. But every great challenge comes with a unique growth opportunity and same is the case for plastics, especially for highly recycled plastic types such as PET. The Indian PET bottles recycling generate 3,500 crore annually. The need is to open avenues to ensure the collection and repurposing/recycling/upcycling of highly recycled plastics such as water/juice/cola/oil bottles,” said Sachin Sharma, Director, Gem Enviro Management, which is one of the largest plastic recyclers in India.

Union Minister of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Giriraj Singh, Minister of State, Jal Shakti, Rattan Lal Kataria, other ministers from the State and local MP and MLAs also participated in the event.

Modi moots holistic land-water goals at UNCCD meet

Modi moots holistic land-water goals at UNCCD meet

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today inaugurated the High-Level Segment Meeting of the 14th Conference of Parties (COP14) to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), at Expo Mart, Greater Noida. Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines; Amina Jane Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General United Nations; Ibrahim Thiaw, Executive Secretary, UNCCD; Prakash Javadekar, Union Minister for Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEF&CC); Babul Supriyo, MoS, MoEF&CC, and other dignitaries were present at the occasion.

The Prime Minister reaffirmed India’s commitment to addressing all the three main concerns of the Rio Conventions. He also stated that India has hosted global gatherings through the CoP’s for all the three Conventions. “Going forward, India would be happy to propose initiatives for greater South-South cooperation in addressing issues of climate change, biodiversity and land degradation,” he said.

Modi announced, “India would raise its ambition of the total area that would be restored from its land degradation status, from twenty-one million hectares to twenty-six million hectares between now and 2030.” This will be focused on restoring land productivity and ecosystem services of 26 million hectares of most degraded and vulnerable land, with emphasis on the degraded agricultural, forest and other wastelands by adopting a landscape restoration approach.

Modi also announced India’s proposal to setup a global technical support institute for the member countries of the UNCCD for their capacity building and support regarding the Land Degradation Neutrality Target Setting Program. “I am happy to state that India would be happy to help other friendly countries develop land restoration strategies through cost effective satellite and space technology,” he said.

Acknowledging the importance of the role of water, Narendra Modi called upon the leadership of UNCCD to conceive a global water action agenda which is central to the Land Degradation Neutrality strategy. “When we address degraded lands, we also address water scarcity. Augmenting water supply, enhancing water recharge, slowing down water run-off and retaining moisture in the soil are all parts of a holistic land and water strategy,” he noted.

The Prime Minister also advocated for the need to eradicate the menace of single use plastic. He said, “My Government has announced that India will put an end to single use plastic in the coming years. I believe the time has come for even the world to say good-bye to single use plastic.”

Prakash Javadekar in his opening remarks lauded the Prime Minister’s efforts towards green activities, “Prime Minister played a leading role in Paris Summit; he has been the guiding force behind India’s ambitious program of achieving 175 GW of renewable energy production.”

The Environment Minister pointed out that the COP14 has emerged as a global platform to discuss matters of great importance concerning the environment. “More than 190 Countries, 100 Ministers and 8000 participants from all across the globe came together to discuss and work on promotion of land restoration and climate resilience at UNCCD COP14,” he noted.

The Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Ralph Gonsalves also spoke at length on climate change and desertification. He also acknowledged the Prime Minister for his concerted efforts in addressing these issues. “We all should stand united to resolve the Climate Change issue and make UNCCD COP14 path breaking. I acknowledge the role of Government of India & initiatives of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi for environment.”

Noting the five summits to be held in New York soon, Ibrahim Thiaw, UNCCD Executive Secretary, said, “the agreements we reach here about how to restore, protect and manage our land on a massive scale and how to trigger a seismic shift in private sector partnerships to make it happen can immediately help ramp up the ambition of action plans for everyone involved.”

Over the past week, various deliberations were conducted on restoration of degraded land, the Environment Minister in a Press Conference later today also announced that the Delhi declaration will be announced tomorrow which will be accountable for the actions by various countries, “The draft Delhi declaration is almost ready, discussions throughout last week was very productive; this is one area where there is more unanimity than divergence of views.”

Cabinet gives nod to raise ethanol procurement prices

Cabinet gives nod to raise ethanol procurement prices

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given its approval for the following, including fixing higher ethanol price derived from different raw materials under the Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) Programme for the forthcoming sugar season 2019–20. The ethanol supply year is from 1 December 2019 to 30 November 2020.

  1. The price of ethanol from C heavy molasses route be increased from Rs 43.46 per lit to Rs 43.75 per liter.
  2. The price of ethanol from B heavy molasses route be increased from Rs 52.43 per lit to Rs 54.27 per liter.
  3. The price of ethanol from sugarcane juice/sugar/sugar syrup route be fixed at Rs 59.48 per liter.

Additionally, GST and transportation charges will also be payable. OMCs have been advised to fix realistic transportation charges so that long distance transportation of ethanol is not disincentivized.

OMCs are advised to continue according priority of ethanol from 1) sugarcane juice/sugar/sugar syrup, 2) B heavy molasses 3) C heavy molasses and 4) Damaged Food grains/other sources, in that order.

All distilleries will be able to take benefit of the scheme and large number of them are expected to supply ethanol for the EBP programme. Remunerative price to ethanol suppliers will help in reduction of cane farmer’s arrears, in the process contributing to minimizing difficulty of sugarcane farmers.

Ethanol availability for EBP Programme is expected to increase significantly due to higher price being offered for procurement of ethanol from all the sugarcane based routes, subsuming “partial sugarcane juice route” and “100% sugarcane juice route” under “sugarcane juice route” and for the first time allowing sugar and sugar syrup for ethanol production. Increased ethanol blending in petrol has many benefits including reduction in import dependency, support to agricultural sector, more environment friendly fuel, lesser pollution, and additional income to farmers.

Background:
Government has been implementing Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) Programme wherein OMCs sell petrol blended with ethanol up to 10%. This program has been extended to whole of India except Union Territories of Andaman Nicobar and Lakshadweep islands with effect from 1 April 2019 to promote the use of alternative and environment friendly fuels. This intervention also seeks to reduce import dependence for energy requirements and give boost to agriculture sector.

Government has notified administered price of ethanol since 2014. For the first time during 2018, differential price of ethanol based on raw material utilized for ethanol production was announced by the government. These decisions have significantly improved the supply of ethanol thereby ethanol procurement by Public Sector OMCs has increased from 38 crore liter in ethanol supply year 2013–14 to over 200 crore liter in 2018–19.

Consistent surplus of sugar production is depressing sugar price. Consequently, sugarcane farmer’s dues have increased due to lower capability of sugar industry to pay the farmers. Government has taken many decisions for reduction of cane farmer’s dues.

With a view to limit sugar production in the country and to increase domestic production of ethanol, Government has taken multiple steps including, allowing diversion of B heavy molasses and sugarcane juice for ethanol production. As the ex-mill price of sugar and conversion cost have undergone changes, there is a need to revise the ex-mill price of ethanol derived from different sugarcane based raw materials. There is also a demand from the industry to include sugar and sugar syrup for ethanol production to help in solving the problem of inventory and liquidity with the sugar mills.

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