NPC holds meet on sustainable food safety

by | Aug 22, 2019 | Sustainability

The two-day national conference organized by National Productivity Council focuses on capacity building of sustainable food value chains.
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A two-day National Conference on Capacity Building of Sustainable Food Value Chains for Enhanced Food Safety and Quality organized by National Productivity Council (NPC) in collaboration with Asian Productivity Organization, Tokyo, Japan began in New Delhi today. The Conference was inaugurated by Secretary, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Ministry of Commerce & Industry and Chairman of NPC, Dr. Guruprasad Mohapatra. In his inaugural address, Dr. Mohapatra highlighted the relevance of sustainable food value chains and the international standards enacted through the Food Safety and Security Act, 2006. He also acknowledged the demand for food safety assurances leading to proliferation of food safety and quality assurance programs, a PIB release said.

Director General, NPC, Arun Kumar Jha, in his address, emphasized on the importance and potential of food processing industry. Chairperson, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Rita Teaotia, in her keynote address said that there is a need to develop the mitigation strategies for curbing food wastages, enhancing food security and food quality.

Dr. Manickam Asaithambi, Asian Productivity Organization, Japan, lauded the efforts of NPC to organize this program on sustainable food value chains which is an international phenomenon. Dr. Manickam Asaithambi expressed hope that the outcomes of the conference will lead to developing sustainable strategies for food safety in India. Technical sessions on various aspects of food value chains, food safety and quality will be conducted during the conference which will conclude tomorrow.

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Swachh Bharat Grameen 2 gets Cabinet nod

Swachh Bharat Grameen 2 gets Cabinet nod

The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi has approved the Phase II of the Swachh Bharat Mission (Grameen) till 2024-25, which will focus on Open Defecation Free Plus (ODF Plus), which includes ODF sustainability and Solid and Liquid Waste Management (SLWM).

The program will also work towards ensuring that no one is left behind and everyone uses a toilet. SBM(G) Phase-II will also be implemented in a mission mode with a total estimated budgeted financial implication of Rs 52,497 crore for the period from 2020-21 to 2024-25 including the Central and State shares. In addition to this, the 15th Finance Commission has proposed earmarking Rs 30,375 crores for rural water supply and sanitation to be implemented by rural local bodies for the upcoming financial year. The ODF Plus program will also converge with MGNREGA, specially for grey water management and will also complement the newly launched Jal Jeevan Mission.

Under the program, provision for incentive of Rs 12,000 for construction of Individual Household Toilet (IHHL) to the newly emerging eligible households as per the existing norms will continue. Funding norms for Solid and Liquid Waste Management (SLWM) have been rationalized and changed to per capita basis in place of no. of households. Additionally, financial assistance to the Gram Panchayats (GPs) for construction of Community Managed Sanitary Complex (CMSC) at village level has been increased from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 3 lakh per CMSC.

The program will be implemented by the States/UTs as per the operational guidelines which will be issued to the States shortly. The fund sharing pattern between Centre and States will be 90:10 for North-Eastern States and Himalayan States and UT of J&K; 60:40 for other States; and 100:0 for other Union Territories, for all the components.

The SLWM component of ODF Plus will be monitored on the basis of output-outcome indicators for four key areas: plastic waste management, bio-degradable solid waste management (including animal waste management), greywater management and fecal sludge management.

The SBM-G Phase II will continue to generate employment and provide impetus to the rural economy through construction of household toilets and community toilets, as well as infrastructure for SLWM such as compost pits, soak pits, waste stabilization ponds, material recovery facilities etc.

The rural sanitation coverage in the country at the time of launch of SBM(G) on 02.10.2014 was reported as 38.7%. More than 10 crore individual toilets have been constructed since the launch of the mission; as a result, rural areas in all the States have declared themselves ODF as on 2 October, 2019. The Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation (DDWS) has, however, advised all the States to reconfirm that there are no rural households that still don’t have access to a toilet, and provide the necessary support to any such identified households to build individual household toilets in order to ensure that no one is left behind under the program.

India, Norway go deep on blue economy tie-up

India, Norway go deep on blue economy tie-up

India’s Minister for Earth Sciences, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, and Norway’s Minister for Climate and Environment, Sveinung Rotevatn, opened the India-Norway Task Force on Blue Economy for Sustainable Development today. The two countries also commenced a new collaboration on Integrated Ocean Management & Research.

As a part of the Joint Initiatives, several projects on combating Marine Litter are already being implemented. The two Governments have signed a Letter of Intent confirming that they will develop a new framework for collaboration on Integrated Ocean Management and Research. The letter of intent was signed in the presence of Ratan P. Watal, Member Secretary, EAC to PM; Hans Jacob Frydenlund, the Norwegian Ambassador to India; Nina Rør, Deputy Director General, Ministry of Climate and Environment, Norway; M. Rajeevan, Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences, Govt. of Indiaand Dr. Sumita Misra, Senior Adviser, EAC to PM.

“Managing the resources in the oceans in a sustainable manner is a matter of mutual interest and concern for both countries. The fact that Norway and India are commencing a new initiative is a signal that the cooperation between the two countries is growing even stronger, making the Indo-Norwegian Ocean Cooperation a key pillar in the bilateral relationship,” said Dr. Harsh Vardhan at the signing ceremony.

In addition, Minister Rotevatn highlighted that “the Norway-India cooperation in the field of oceans is based on our shared interest in the blue economy and the sustainable use of marine resources, as well as a desire to advance scientific knowledge about our oceans. Norway and India are engaging on ways to ensure integrated ocean management at the government level. At the same time, Norwegian companies and private institutions are increasingly seeking opportunities with Indian counterparts, making India an even more significant partner for Norway.”

The India-Norway Task Force on Blue Economy for Sustainable Development was launched jointly by the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and the Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg, during her visit to India in January 2019. The purpose of the task force is to develop and follow up joint initiatives between the two countries. The meeting on February 18th 2020 is the third meeting of the Task Force.

The strength and value added of the India-Norway Joint Task Force on Blue Economy is its ability to mobilize relevant stakeholders from both Norway and India at the highest level, and ensure continued commitment and progress across ministries and agencies.

India, Norway join hands to cut marine plastic litter

India, Norway join hands to cut marine plastic litter

India has marked the beginning of super year of Biodiversity with the hosting of the 13th Conference of Parties (COP) of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), an environmental treaty under the aegis of United Nations Environment Programme, from 17 to 22 February 2020 at Gandhinagar in Gujarat.

Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar has said that the year 2020 is a super year of Environment and will set the tone and tenor for the decade ahead. Highlighting the urgent nature of global environment issues including marine plastic litter, plastic pollution and microplastics, the Union minister said the issues cannot be solved by any one country alone.

On the side-lines of the COP, the Union Minister met a delegation led by Norwegian Minister of Climate and Environment, Sveinung Rotevan. India and Norway have agreed to jointly tackle concerns related to oceans, environment and climate matters.

The Opening Ceremony and Plenary session of the COP takes place on 17 February followed by Side Events and Working Group meetings till the Closing Ceremony on 22 February. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the COP 13 via video conferencing. Numerous national and international organizations will showcase best practices in wildlife conservation during the course of the conference.

As the host, India shall be designated as the Presidency during the intersessional period following the meeting. The COP Presidency is tasked to provide political leadership and facilitate positive outcomes that further advance the objectives of the Convention, including steering efforts towards implementing the Resolutions and Decisions adopted by the Conference of Parties.

Migratory species of wild animals move from one habitat to another during different times of the year, due to various factors such as food, sunlight, temperature, climate, etc. The movement between habitats, can sometimes exceed thousands of kilometers/miles for some migratory birds and mammals. A migratory route will typically have nesting sites, breeding sites, availability of preferred food and requires the availability of suitable habitat before and after each migration.

India is home to several migratory species of wildlife including snow leopard, Amur falcons, bar headed Geese, black necked cranes, marine turtles, dugongs, humpbacked whales, etc.

The text of the Joint statement is as follows:
Meeting at the beginning of the ‘2020 Super Year’ for the environment, the Ministers stressed that they will do their share to ensure that the 2020s will be a decade of rapid action on climate and environment.

The two sides expressed interest to continue and strengthen the mutually beneficial cooperation on environment and climate between the two countries, including on ocean affairs.
Actions that target climate change and air pollution at the same time pose a win-win situation. The two sides recognized that such actions should be stepped up, and agreed to work together to raise this agenda.
The Ministers recognized that the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol for phasing down use of Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) could prevent up to 0.40C of warming by end of the century, Further, noting that universal ratification of Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol shall allow realization of its full potential.

The Ministers noted the results of the projects supported by Norway on issues / aspects related with phase down of HFCs. It was agreed to continue such projects for facilitating a smooth transition towards energy efficient solutions and technologies while phasing down HFCs.

If managed properly, the ocean holds the key to meeting many of the Sustainable Development Goals. Integrated ocean management is central to achieving a sustainable blue economy. In 2019 Prime Minister Modi and Prime Minister Solberg welcomed the signing of the MoU on India-Norway Ocean Dialogue and the establishment of the Joint Task Force on Blue Economy for Sustainable Development. The two Ministers were pleased with the progress that has been made under this MoU, including the establishment of the Marine Pollution Initiative. They were particularly satisfied that Norway and India will sign a Letter of Intent on integrated ocean management including sustainable Blue Economy initiatives.

The Ministers also noted the importance of delivering concrete, scalable solutions for ocean health and wealth at the UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon on June 2020.

The Ministers further noted the importance of sustainable management of chemicals and waste and welcomed the cooperation between India and Norway on the implementation of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants and on the minimization of discharge of marine litter.

The Ministers emphasized a shared understanding of the global and urgent nature of marine plastic litter and microplastics and underlined that this issue cannot be solved by any one country alone. They are committed to supporting global action to address plastic pollution and exploring the feasibility of establishing a new global agreement on plastic pollution.

The Ministers agreed to support and work together with other political leaders to prompt a global and effective response to curb the direct and indirect drivers of biodiversity loss. They agreed to work together to deliver an ambitious, strong, practical and effective global biodiversity framework at COP15 of CBD to be held in Kunming, China, in 2020.

The Ministers further discussed the conservation of migratory species of wild animals. The Ministers recognized the importance of integrating ecological connectivity into the post-2020 global biodiversity framework.

The Ministers stressed that international supply chains and finance must de-invest from deforestation and destruction of nature and invest in companies and projects that improve smallholder livelihoods while promoting sustainable production and consumption. They agreed to continue the discussion on forests and deforestation free supply chains.

The Ministers stressed that the fifth United Nations Environment Assembly of the United Nations Environment Programme offers a good opportunity to call for greater international action on several environmental issues, in particular strengthening action for nature to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

Minister Rotevatn thanked Minister Javadekar for the great hospitality extended to him and his delegation during the visit. He invited Minister Javadekar to visit Norway and the Arctic, to further strengthen the collaboration between India and Norway on climate and environment.

Updated (17 Feb 2020, 10:47 pm): 

India assumes presidency of UN body on Migratory Species for 3 years

The Thirteenth Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Migratory Species kicked off in Gandhinagar today in the presence of senior government officials, environment advocates, activists, researchers and biodiversity leaders from as many as 130 countries.

Inaugurating the key UN Summit via video conferencing Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the CMS COP13 is of particular significance to India, which is known for its rich biodiversity and is one of the seven megadiverse countries in the world.

“India has four biodiversity hotspots – Eastern Himalayas, Western Ghats, Indo Myanmar landscape and Andaman and Nicobar Islands and home to as many as 500 species of migratory birds from across the globe”, said the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister stressed that his government is committed to championing sustainable lifestyle, conservation and a green development model. He further added that in India’s role as the COP President in the next three years, it will look at conserving the Central Asian Flyway. To achieve this, India has prepared a National Action Plan. He further added that India is keen to facilitate action plans of other countries in this regard and aims at taking conservation to a new paradigm with active cooperation from all.

As President, India shall also look at strengthening cooperation with ASEAN countries for Indo-Pacific activities and conservation of marine biodiversity. He also added that India has launched the Marine Turtle Policy and Marine Standing Policy to address pollution caused by micro-plastics in the marine ecosystem. Other areas that will be under focus include transboundary cooperation, establishment of eco-development committees etc.

The Conference kicks off ‘“Super Year for Environment”, which will include a UN Summit in September and culminate in the UN Biodiversity Conference at the end of 2020, when a new global biodiversity strategy for the next decade will be adopted – the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.

India today assumed COP Presidency for the next three years with a focus on Collaborative Approach to tackle Biodiversity Issues. Assuming the presidency the Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said that CMS is very important to India and is at an exciting moment of development and the COP in India will mark the start of focused attention to migratory species and their habitats.

Economic Survey lauds India’s SDG progress

Economic Survey lauds India’s SDG progress

Emphasizing the idea that wealth creation should do no harm, the Economic Survey 2019-20 tabled in Parliament today by the Union Minister for Finance & Corporate Affairs Nirmala Sitharaman, highlighted several ideas on the themes of Sustainable Development and Climate Change. The survey affirmed that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) constitute a befitting framework to answer the developmental challenges to achieve a sustainable future, free from social, economic, and environmental inequalities and thereby ensuring a greener and healthy planet for future generations.

Sustainable Development Goals
As per the Survey, India is striving to combine the element of ‘sustainability’ to its economic development through well designed initiatives for inclusive development enshrined in its policies like electrification of rural households, augmenting usage of renewable sources, eliminating malnutrition, eradicating poverty, increasing access to primary education to all girls, providing sanitation and housing for all, equipping young people with skills to compete in the global labor market, enabling access to finance and financial services.

India and the SDGs
The Survey underscored the fact that India has achieved considerable progress in the field of SDGs as measured by the SDG India Index 2019. As per the SDG Index, Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Goa, Sikkim, Chandigarh and Puducherry are the front runners. It is noteworthy that none of the States/UTs fall in the Aspirant category in 2019. Overall, it is encouraging to note that the composite score for India in the index has improved from 57 in 2018 to 60 in 2019, indicating the impressive progress made by the country in its journey towards achieving the SDGs.

SDG Nexus: A New Paradigm Approach
The Survey further highlighted that there are linkages among various SDGs and these have strong impacts on reinforcement of policies. This necessitates a ‘nexus’ approach which in turn employs the principles of integrating management and governance across sectors and scales. As per the Survey this envisages looking at systems instead of individual components or short-term outcomes; looking at the inter-related feedbacks from other sectors; and promoting cooperation among sectors while reducing competition for scarce resources.

An example of such a nexus would be the Education and Electricity nexus wherein it has been observed that basic infrastructure like electricity, separate toilets for girls and boys in schools create a healthy and positive environment at schools. Another such nexus would be between Health and Energy, wherein the success of many of the health improvement schemes relies heavily on the availability of electricity at the health centers, the Survey states.

India and its Forests
The Economic survey underlined that as a responsible nation, with the introduction of various schemes, India has been continuously moving towards economic growth, keeping in mind the imperatives of sustainable development. It further highlighted the fact that India is among a few countries in the world where, despite ongoing developmental efforts, forest and tree cover are increasing considerably. The forest and tree cover have reached 80.73 million hectare which is 24.56 per cent of the geographical area of the country. The Survey further highlighted that the States/UTs showing gain in forest cover are Karnataka (1,025 sq. km), Andhra Pradesh (990 sq. km) and Jammu & Kashmir (371 sq. km) whereas those showing loss in forest cover include Manipur, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram. In the Forest Report 2019, the total carbon stock in forest is estimated as 7,124.6 million tons, showing an increase of 42.6 million tons as compared to the last assessment in 2017.

Agricultural Residue Burning – A Major Concern
The Survey recognizes the fact that open burning of crop residues in the agricultural fields has become a major environmental concern. India, being the second largest agro-based economy with year-round crop cultivation, generates a large amount of agricultural waste, including crop residues. Varieties of surplus crop residues are burnt especially in northern States of Punjab, Haryana, UP and Rajasthan. The Survey said that about 178 million tonnes of surplus crop residues are available in the country, burning of which leads to rise in pollutant levels and deterioration of air quality.

The Survey emphasizes that agricultural residue burning contributes significantly in PM2.5 concentrations. The effect of stagnant atmospheric condition over Delhi during the harvest season of Kharif crop further aggravates the deterioration of the ambient air quality over the region.

The Survey suggests various methods to address this issue which include promoting the practice of conservation of agriculture with low lignocellulosic crop residues like rice, wheat, maize, etc., role of agricultural machineries in helping farmers sow the seeds for the next season, creating a market for crop residue-based briquettes & mandating nearby thermal plants to undertake co-firing of crop-residues with coal, special credit lines for financing farm equipment and pollution control as a parameter for deciding incentives to States/UTs.\

The Survey further highlights the Central Sector Scheme on ‘Promotion of Agricultural Mechanization for In-Situ Management of Crop Residue in the States of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and NCT of Delhi’. Under this scheme, agricultural machines and equipment for in-situ crop residue management such as Super Straw Management System for Combine Harvesters, Happy Seeders, Paddy Straw Chopper, Mulcheretc are provided with 50% subsidy to the individual farmers and 80 % subsidy for establishment of Custom Hiring Centres.

Way Forward
The Economic Survey states that increased focus on sustainability requires various actions towards building individual and institutional capacity, accelerating knowledge and enhancing technology transfer and deployment, enabling financial mechanisms, implementing early warning systems, undertaking risk management and addressing gaps in implementation, up scaling and working with a spirit of cooperative federalism between States and Central Government. The Survey finally exhorts the developed countries to honor their financial obligations and promises under the multilateral environmental agreements.

India to keep leading Sustainable Energy Agenda

India to keep leading Sustainable Energy Agenda

The Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas & Steel Dhamendra Pradhan has said that India will continue to lead the global sustainable energy agenda. Delivering the key note address at the TERI’s World Sustainable Development Summit 2020 on ‘Energy Future Road Map’ here today, the Minister said “We, in India, are in the midst of a major transformative shift in our energy sector, both in scale and complexity and also the interdependence across different systems. The trajectory to end energy poverty in India, as compared to the rest of the world, is based on our special national circumstances. The right mix of enablers are being put in place to ensure that the energy transition is secure, affordable, reliable and sustainable.” He added, “to end energy poverty in the country, we will remain cognizant of the need to root economic development firmly to achieve the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals and commitments made at COP 21.”

Briefing about energy requirements, the Minister said “India is now the third largest energy consumer after the US and China. While our energy demand increased to 882 million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe) in 2017, the per capita consumption of energy is still 30% of the global average. Our energy consumption is projected to grow at 4.2 percent per annum up to 2035. India’s share of the total global primary energy demand is set to roughly double to about 11 percent by 2040, driven by strong economic development. In India, we are finding ways to achieve the twin objectives of more energy availability and less carbon through a healthy mix of all commercially-viable energy sources.”

Pradhan added that despite our system-wide energy transition measures, crude oil would continue to play a critical role at this stage of development in meeting country’s energy requirements. He said the Government has set out a road map for reducing India’s crude oil imports by 10% by 2022. “We are in the process of developing new strategies and initiatives to achieve this target. We are working towards transformation to a gas-based economy, tapping into indigenously produced biofuels, apart from adopting renewable energy and energy efficiency measures, to achieve the much-needed carbon reductions. As part of the energy transition, decarbonization of the energy sector is picking up momentum in India” Pradhan said. The Minister also stated that government is working to improve energy efficiency and productivity, demand substitution, improving refinery processes and promotion of bio and alternate fuels.

Dharmendra Pradhan also said “the biggest game-changer in our drive to bring about greater environmental sustainability and flexibility in the energy system is through the rapid deployment of natural gas in our energy mix”. He also added “we are advancing our collaboration with countries, such as Brazil and the US, to improve blending technologies in transport sector. To reduce vehicular pollution, BS VI quality fuel, equivalent to Euro 6 standard, will be supplied in the entire country from 1 April this year. Given the abundance of biomass in the country, the use of Compressed Bio-Gas (CBG) will be promoted in a big way in automotive, industrial and commercial uses in the coming years.”

The Minister further said that in the global drive to secure sustainable energy, India is defining new pathways keeping in view its unique energy needs. “India will continue to play an active role in leading the global sustainable energy agenda. Our commitment to keep carbon footprint to low levels remains unwavered as we pursue to enhance energy footprint in the country” He added.

On the occasion, Dharmendra Pradhan also released a report ‘Towards a low carbon steel sector’ – Overview of the changing market, technology and policy context for Indian steel.

PM says Jal-Shakti is taking rapid strides

PM says Jal-Shakti is taking rapid strides

In Mann Ki Baat today Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Jal Shakti Campaign is taking rapid, successful strides with the aid of public participation. He shared few extensive and innovative water conservation efforts under way, in every corner of the country.

Mentioning about Jalore district in Rajasthan he said, “There, two historical step wells had turned into storehouses of garbage & dirty water. But one fine day, hundreds of people from Bhadraayun & Thanawala Panchayats took a resolve to rejuvenate them, under the Jal Shakti Campaign. Much before the rains, people immersed themselves in the task of cleaning out the accumulated filthy water, garbage and morass. For this campaign, some donated money; others their labour & sweat. As a result, these step wells have turned into their lifelines now.”

 

Similarly, Saraahi Lake in Barabanki Uttar Pradesh, was brought to life by the collective efforts of Villagers. Another example of Public participation is Village Suniyakot along the Almora-Haldwani Highway in Uttarakhand. Here villagers took it upon themselves to ensure that water reached their village. People raised money, donated labor. A pipe was laid up to the village and a pumping station was set up. Thus decade old problem of water crisis was solved.

Prime Minister urged everyone to share their stories of such endeavors of water conservation and water harvesting by using #Jalshakti4India.

Jal Shakti Abhiyan—a campaign for water conservation and water security commenced last monsoon in July, 2019. The campaign focused on water stressed districts and blocks.

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