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Prime Minister to launch Accessible India Campaign for Physically disabled people n important aim of the society is to integrate persons with disabilities in the society so that they can actively participate in society and lead a normal life. Ideally, a disabled person should be able to commute between home, work place and other destinations with independence, convenience and safety. The more persons with disabilities are able to access physical facilities, the more they will be part of the social mainstream. With firm commitment of the government towards socio-economic transformation of the persons with disabilities there is an urgent need to create mass awareness for universal accessibility. DEPwD is also in the process of creating a mobile app, along with a web portal for crowd sourcing the requests regarding inaccessible places. With the app, downloaded on his/her mobile phone, any person would be able to click a photograph or video of an inaccessible public place (like a school, hospital, government office etc.) and upload the same to the Accessible India portal. The portal will process the request for access audit, financial sanction and final retrofitting of the building to make it completely accessible. The mobile app and portal will also seek engagement of big corporates and PSUs to partner in the campaign by offering their help to conduct access audit and for accessibility- conversion of the buildings/transport and websites. India is a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD), Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, has formulated the Accessible India Campaign (Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan), as a nation-wide campaign for achieving universal accessibility for PwDs. The campaign targets three separate verticals for achieving universal accessibility namely the built up environment, transportation eco-system and information & communication eco-system. The campaign has ambitious targets with defined timelines and will use IT and social media for spreading awareness about the campaign and seeking commitment / engagement of various stakeholders. The Department has asked various State Govts. to identify about 50 to 100 public buildings in big cities and also identify citizen centric public websites, which if made fully accessible would have the highest impact on the lives of PwDs. Once identified, “Access Audit” of these buildings and websites will be conducted by professional agencies. As per the audit findings, retrofitting and conversion of buildings, transport and websites would be undertaken by various government departments. This will be supported by the Scheme of Implementation of Persons with Disabilities Act (SIPDA), an umbrella scheme run by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD) for implementing various initiatives for social and economic empowerment of PwDs. Article 9 of UNCRPD casts an obligation on all the signatory governments to take appropriate measures to ensure to persons with disabilities access, on an equal basis with others, to the physical environment, to transportation, to information and communications, including information and communications technologies and systems, and to other facilities and services open or provided to the public, both in urban and in rural areas. Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities. Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act 1995 under Section 44, 45 and 46 also categorically provides for non-discrimination in participation, non-discrimination of the roads and built up environment. As per Section 46 of the PwD Act, the States are required to provide for : i) Ramps in public buildings ii) Provision of toilets for wheelchair users iii)Braille symbols and auditory signals in elevators or lifts iv) Ramps in hospitals, primary health centres and other rehabilitation centres. Article 9 – Accessibility of UNCRPD 1. To enable persons with disabilities to live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life, States Parties shall take appropriate measures to ensure to persons with disabilities access, on an equal basis with others, to the physical environment, to transportation, to information and communications, including information and communications technologies and systems, and to other facilities and services open or provided to the public, both in urban and in rural areas. These measures, which shall include the identification and elimination of obstacles and barriers to accessibility, shall apply to, inter alia: Buildings, roads, transportation and other indoor and outdoor facilities, including schools, housing, medical facilities and workplaces; Information, communications and other services, including electronic services and emergency services. 2. States Parties shall also take appropriate measures to: Develop, promulgate and monitor the implementation of minimum standards and guidelines for the accessibility of facilities and services open or provided to the public; Ensure that private entities that offer facilities and services which are open or provided to the public take into account all aspects of accessibility for persons with disabilities; Provide training for stakeholders on accessibility issues facing persons with disabilities; Provide in buildings and other facilities open to the public signage in Braille and in easy to read and understand forms; Provide forms of live assistance and intermediaries, including guides, readers and professional sign language interpreters, to facilitate accessibility to buildings and other facilities open to the public; Promote other appropriate forms of assistance and support to persons with disabilities to ensure their access to information; Promote access for persons with disabilities to new information and communications technologies and systems, including the Internet; Promote the design, development, production and distribution of accessible information and communications technologies and systems at an early stage, so that these technologies and systems become accessible at minimum cost.
Mark Zuckerberg affirms net neutrality but backs zero-rating plans in his internet.org at his visit to India Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said his company is committed to net neutrality but supported zero-rating plans which have been criticised by many as violative of the principles of free Internet. Internet.org is a partnership between social networking services company Facebook and six companies (Samsung, Ericsson, MediaTek, Opera Software, Nokia and Qualcomm) that plans to bring affordable access to selected Internet services to less developed countries by increasing efficiency, and facilitating the development of new business models around the provision of Internet access. critics: It has been criticized for violating net neutrality and favoring Facebook’s own services over its rivals. Internet.org as “being just a Facebook proxy targeting India’s poor” as it provides restricted Internet access to Reliance Telecom’s subscribers in India. In May 2015, Facebook announced that the Internet.org Platform would be opened to websites that met its criteria. Facebook Zero, is an initiative by Facebook to improve Internet access for people around the world. What is Net Neutrality? Net neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers and governments should treat all data on the Internet the same, not discriminating or charging differentially by user, content, site, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or mode of communication. The term was coined by Columbia University media law professor Tim Wu in 2003. How did net neutrality shape the internet? 1. web users are free to connect to whatever website or service they want. ISPs do not bother with what kind of content is flowing from their servers. This has allowed the internet to grow into a truly global network and has allowed people to freely express themselves. 2.To start a website, you don’t need lot of money or connections. Just host your website and you are good to go. If your service is good, it will find favour with web users. This has led to creation Google, Facebook, Twitter and countless other services. They succeeded because net neutrality allowed web users to access these websites in an easy and unhindered way. What will happen if there is no net neutrality? If there is no net neutrality, ISPs will have the power to shape internet traffic so that they can derive extra benefit from it. For example, several ISPs believe that they should be allowed to charge companies for services like YouTube and Netflix because these services consume more bandwidth compared to a normal website. Basically, these ISPs want a share in the money that YouTube or Netflix make. Without net neutrality, the internet as we know it will not exist. Instead of free access, there could be “package plans” for consumers. Lack of net neutrality, will also spell doom for innovation on the web. It is possible that ISPs will charge web companies to enable faster access to their websites. Those who don’t pay may see that their websites will open slowly. This means bigger companies like Google will be able to pay more to make access to Youtube or Google+ faster for web users but a startup that wants to create a different and better video hosting site may not be able to do that. Instead of an open and free internet, without net neutrality we are likely to get a web that has silos in it and to enter each silo, you will have to pay some “tax” to ISPs. What is the state of net neutrality in India? Legally, the concept of net neutrality doesn’t exist in India. TRAI(Telecom Regulatory Authority of India), which regulates the telecom industry, has tried to come up with some rules regarding net neutrality several times.But no formal rules have been formed to uphold and enforce net neutrality. However, despite lack of formal rules, ISPs in India mostly adhere to the principal of net neutrality. There have been some incidents where Indian ISPs have ignored net neutrality but these are few and far between. (courtesy:Business standard, Times of India) Leave a Reply You must be logged in to post a comment.
Trai Mark Zuckerberg affirms net neutrality but backs zero-rating plans in his internet.org at his visit to India Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said his company is committed to net neutrality but supported zero-rating plans which have been criticised by many as violative of the principles of free Internet. Internet.org is a partnership between social networking services company Facebook and six companies (Samsung, Ericsson, MediaTek, Opera Software, Nokia and Qualcomm) that plans to bring affordable access to selected Internet services to less developed countries by increasing efficiency, and facilitating the development of new business models around the provision of Internet access. critics: It has been criticized for violating net neutrality and favoring Facebook’s own services over its rivals. Internet.org as “being just a Facebook proxy targeting India’s poor” as it provides restricted Internet access to Reliance Telecom’s subscribers in India. In May 2015, Facebook announced that the Internet.org Platform would be opened to websites that met its criteria. Facebook Zero, is an initiative by Facebook to improve Internet access for people around the world. What is Net Neutrality? Net neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers and governments should treat all data on the Internet the same, not discriminating or charging differentially by user, content, site, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or mode of communication. The term was coined by Columbia University media law professor Tim Wu in 2003. How did net neutrality shape the internet? 1. web users are free to connect to whatever website or service they want. ISPs do not bother with what kind of content is flowing from their servers. This has allowed the internet to grow into a truly global network and has allowed people to freely express themselves. 2.To start a website, you don’t need lot of money or connections. Just host your website and you are good to go. If your service is good, it will find favour with web users. This has led to creation Google, Facebook, Twitter and countless other services. They succeeded because net neutrality allowed web users to access these websites in an easy and unhindered way. What will happen if there is no net neutrality? If there is no net neutrality, ISPs will have the power to shape internet traffic so that they can derive extra benefit from it. For example, several ISPs believe that they should be allowed to charge companies for services like YouTube and Netflix because these services consume more bandwidth compared to a normal website. Basically, these ISPs want a share in the money that YouTube or Netflix make. Without net neutrality, the internet as we know it will not exist. Instead of free access, there could be “package plans” for consumers. Lack of net neutrality, will also spell doom for innovation on the web. It is possible that ISPs will charge web companies to enable faster access to their websites. Those who don’t pay may see that their websites will open slowly. This means bigger companies like Google will be able to pay more to make access to Youtube or Google+ faster for web users but a startup that wants to create a different and better video hosting site may not be able to do that. Instead of an open and free internet, without net neutrality we are likely to get a web that has silos in it and to enter each silo, you will have to pay some “tax” to ISPs. What is the state of net neutrality in India? Legally, the concept of net neutrality doesn’t exist in India. TRAI(Telecom Regulatory Authority of India), which regulates the telecom industry, has tried to come up with some rules regarding net neutrality several times.But no formal rules have been formed to uphold and enforce net neutrality. However, despite lack of formal rules, ISPs in India mostly adhere to the principal of net neutrality. There have been some incidents where Indian ISPs have ignored net neutrality but these are few and far between. (courtesy:Business standard, Times of India) Leave a Reply You must be logged in to post a comment.
France, India to launch global solar alliance French President Francois Hollande and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch an international solar alliance aimed at eventually bringing clean and affordable solar energy within the reach of all. There is a gap at present in the application of solar technologies to the very large un-met demand for solar-powered technologies in solar resource rich countries. This gap arises primarily from lack of systematic information about the on-ground requirements as well as scarce opportunities for capacity building and training of users of technologies and finally, a shortage of suitable financing arrangements to make new technologies affordable to very poor users who require them. The potential energy from sunlight which shines on these countries throughout the year should be harnessed and used to transform lives through simple devices such as solar panels and solar appliances that already exist and need to be scaled up and made accessible where they are needed. This can dramatically improve the quality of life in rural and peri-urban areas that are currently in darkness due to lack of electricity grid. A partnership is proposed, to consist of countries, majority of whom face similar challenges resulting from low rates of energy access-such as farmers who cannot use technology to improve productivity and incomes, or a shortage of clean drinking water due to high costs of purification, or lack of modern healthcare facilities with lighting and refrigeration services, or insufficient numbers of schools with lights, fans and modern equipment. These countries need a voice on the international stage. If they can share their experiences and mobilize in order to close their technological gaps by cooperating with each other, solutions will be found and will also be scaled up leading to lower costs. This cooperation and coordination role is proposed to be filled by ISA, a grouping of countries who are keen to transform their solar resource wealth into improved lives for their people through application of solar technologies. After 2002 UN World Summit on Sustainable Development, many advocacy organizations were set up, primarily to disseminate knowledge about renewable energy. Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number 7.1, 7.2, 7.a and 7.b clearly state that renewable energy must be given priority in the future agenda of all countries. These read as follows: “Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all” Mission and Vision is to provide a platform for cooperation among solar resource rich countries where global community including bilateral and multilateral organizations, corporates, industry, and stakeholders can make a positive contribution to the common goals of increasing utilizing of solar energy in meeting energy needs of ISA member countries in a safe, convenient, affordable, equitable and sustainable manner. To achieve the objectives, ISA will have five key focus areas:- a. Promote solar technologies and investment in the solar sector to enhance income generation for the poor and global environment. b. Formulate projects and programmes to promote solar applications. c. Develop innovative Financial Mechanisms to reduce cost of capital. d. Build a common Knowledge e-Portal. e. Facilitate capacity building for promotion and absorption of solar technologies and R& D among member countries. ISA is proposed to be a multi country partnership organization with membership from solar resource rich countries between the two tropics. The total Government of India support including putting normative cost of the land will be about Rs 400 crore (US$ 62 million). Government of India support of Rs 175 crore(US$ 27 million) will be utilized for creating building infrastructure and recurring expenditure. It will be provided over a 5 year period from 2016-17 to 2020-21. Opinions of world leaders: There are several countries blessed with high solar radiation. We are making efforts to bring these countries together for enhanced solar energy utilization through research and technology upgradation. These countries have immense strength and capabilities to find solutions for their energy needs through solar energy. -Narendra Modi, Hon’ble Prime Minister of India I welcome this initiative because if (these) countries can formulate ambitious targets for renewable by modifying regulatory frameworks for financing and improving technologies for lowering price of solar energy, then it will be a major contribution to the implementation of climate agreement. –Francois Hollande, President of France ISA can provide a unique focus in supporting global efforts to increase the uptake of renewable energy through the development of solar policies, the promotion of applications to reduce poverty and the facilitation of energy access. I welcome this initiative by an IRENA Member Country and the Chair of the IRENA Council, India, and look forward to supporting ISA member countries in all possible ways. –Adnan Z. Amin, Director General, IRENA
Draft National Policy on Capital Goods and Engineering A draft base paper on National Policy on Capital Goods was prepared by the Department of Heavy Industry (DHI)- Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Joint Task Force on Capital Goods and Engineering. WHAT ARE CAPITAL GOODS? Any tangible assets that an organization uses to produce goods or services such as office buildings, equipment and machinery. Consumer goods are the end result of this production process. “Capital Goods” sector comprises of plant and machinery, equipment / accessories required for manufacture / production, either directly or indirectly, of goods or for rendering services, including those required for replacement, modernization, technological upgradation and expansion. It also includes packaging machinery and equipment, refrigeration equipment, power generating sets, equipment and instruments for testing, research and development, quality and pollution control. Capital goods sector is extremely crucial for the development of the country’s economy for the following two important reasons: – 1.Capital Goods is considered as a strategic sector and development of domestic capabilities is essential from a national self-reliance and security perspective . 2.Capital Goods sector has multiplier effect and has a bearing on the growth of user industries as it provides critical inputs, i.e., machinery and equipment to the remaining sectors covered under the manufacturing activity. The capital goods sector contributes 12% to the total manufacturing activity (which is about 15% of the GDP). It is a large and diverse sector in India with a market size of INR 2, 50, 000 Cr in 2013–14 and a domestic production of close to INR 1, 92, 000 Cr. The sector is estimated to grow to a market size of approx INR 4, 65, 000 Cr in 2016–17 with domestic production of approx INR 4, 00, 000 Cr. The sector is a major employer, with close to 13, 00, 000 people employed across various sub-sectors. The sector has grown at the rate of 15% per annum over the last decade. Heavy electrical and power plant equipment is the largest sub-sector contributing to approx 65% of total capital goods requirement. The sector contributes significantly to exports with over Rs 52, 000 crores in 2013-14 which have grown at approx 20% per annum over the last decade. The sector also imports to the extent of Rs. 1, 14, 500 crore, which is 37% of the total demand of capital goods. The capital goods component in industrial production has lagged in recent years due to slow pace of domestic demand leading to growing dependence on imports and following slow growth in the world economy. Further, in the globalized world and as trade barriers in the form of tariffs are reduced, not all capital goods manufacturers have been able to tap the global opportunity. Today, the sector has witnessed a gradual improvement and registered a positive growth from April to December 2014 at 5.7%. Key Issues: Imports continue to address ~35-40% of domestic demand for capital goods with the proportion being significantly higher in “critical components” segment for each subsector. Machine tools, heavy electrical and power plant equipment are sub-sectors that are particularly weak in self reliance with ~40% of demand being met by imports. Indian share in global exports in the capital goods sector is still low, ranging between 0.1% and 0.6%, across various sub-sectors. In contrast, share of global exports for China ranges between 7.7% and 16.3% depending on the sub sector. The prospects for growth of the capital goods sector in India have always been projected to be good. Basis this, industry has invested significantly in capacity while the market 3 growth has not been commensurate with the same. This has led to large blocks of underutilized capacity, waiting to capitalize on the latent demand in the market. Beyond 4-5 large players, the market is fragmented with the majority of operative units in the SME sector. These SMEs are challenged vis-à-vis large foreign competitors with low operating scale and issues related to access to capital. Historically, lower appetite for capital investment in R& D and limited know-how of process technologies, the technology profile of domestic products ranges from basic to intermediate. Support facilities, technology development institutions and skilled man-power continue to lag behind global standards Cost disabilities such as higher cost of power, finance and infrastructure leading to higher operating cost. Vision: “To increase the share of capital goods contribution from present 12% to 20% of total manufacturing activity by 2025” Mission Become one amongst top 10 capital goods producing nations of the world 4 – Raise exports to a significant level of at least 40% of total production. objectives: Creating an Eco-system for globally competitive Capital Goods Sector. Creation and Expansion of Market for Capital Goods Sector Promotion of Exports Human Resource Development Technology & IPR Introduction of Mandatory Standards Focus on SME Development
Best IAS And KAS Coaching Centre In Bangalore Government of India and World Bank sign a loan agreement for Neeranchal National Watershed Project The Government of India signed a loan agreement with World Bank here for the Neeranchal National Watershed Project. The Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP), which commenced from the year 2009-10, is an ongoing Centrally Sponsored Scheme supporting watershed development in 28 states, following the Common Guidelines for Watershed Development Projects – 2008 (Revised 2011). The IWMP is delivered by the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) through the Department of Land Resources (DOLR) at the national level, and through dedicated State Level Nodal Agencies (SLNA) set up for this purpose, in the States. The project to be implemented by the Ministry of Rural Development over a six-year period (2016-21) will support the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayi Yojana in hydrology and water management, agricultural production systems, capacity building and monitoring and evaluation. The total cost of the project is Rs. 2142.30 crore of which the Government’s share is Rs. 1071.15 crore (50 percent) and rest is the loan component from the World Bank. Why Neeranchal? For achieving the major objectives of the Watershed Component of the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayi Yojana (PMKSY) For ensuring access to irrigation to every farm (Har Khet Ko Pani) and efficient use of water (Per Drop More Crop). Bring about institutional changes in watershed and rainfed agricultural management practices in India. Devise strategies for the sustainability of improved watershed management practices in programme areas, even after the withdrawal of project support. Support improved equity, livelihoods, and incomes through forward linkages, on a platform of inclusiveness and local participation. The programme will lead to reducing surface runoff of rainwater, increasing recharge of ground water and better availability of water in rainfed areas resulting in incremental rainfed agriculture productivity, enhanced milk yield and increased cropping intensity through better convergence related programmes in project area. Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayi Yojana: Central scheme that aims at providing irrigation facilities to every village in the country by converging ongoing irrigation schemes implemented by various ministries. Scheme envisages: Ensure access to some means of protective irrigation to all agricultural farms in the country in order to produce ‘per drop more crop’ to bring desired rural prosperity. Flexibility and autonomy: to states in the process of planning and executing irrigation projects in order to ensure water to every farm. Irrigation plans: ensure that state and district irrigation plans are prepared on the basis of sources of availability of water and agro-climatic conditions in that region. Promoting extension activities: related to ‘on farm water management and crop alignment’ for farmers as well as grass root level field functionaries. Agencies involved: nodal agency for implementation of PMKSY projects will be state agriculture department. Inter-ministerial National Steering Committee (NSC) will periodically review these projects. Budgetary allocation: 1, 000 crore rupees for fiscal year 2015-16. Funding Pattern: Centre- States will be 75: 25 per cent. In case of north-eastern region and hilly states it will be 90:10.
Best IAS And KAS Coaching Centre In Bangalore India among top 5 most promising markets globally :Survey India has emerged as one of the five most promising markets for businesses globally, says the annual global CEO survey of consultancy giant PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) released at the WEF Annual Meeting. The survey pointed out: India offers one of the best opportunities for both domestic as well as global companies. The confidence level among Indian CEOs remains higher than the global average although they have also become less confident since last year about the growth prospects of their own companies. CEOs in India (64 per cent), Spain (54 per cent) and Romania (50 per cent) stand out as more optimistic. CEOs are less optimistic about prospects this year and those who think global growth would improve over the next 12 months have declined to 27 per cent from 37 per cent seen in 2015. 90 per cent of the Indian CEOs cited inadequate basic infrastructure as a major threat and 80 per cent mentioned exchange rate volatility and 77 per cent cited over-regulation. USA, China, Germany, the UK and India are the top five markets considered most important for overall growth prospects by the respondents, according to the The survey covered 1, 409 CEOs spread across 83 countries. India have given strong indication of general uplift in sentiments by showing much more confidence than their global counterparts when it comes to revenue growth for their companies. Around 75 per cent of Indian CEOs believe there are more growth opportunities for their companies today than three years ago. 93 per cent of Indian CEOs agree that tax is a business cost that needs to be efficiently managed like any other business cost. 87 per cent agree that a stable tax system is more important than low rates of tax . Cyber security is also a worry for 61 per cent of CEOs, representing as it does (pose) threats to both national and commercial interests PricewaterhouseCoopers: PricewaterhouseCoopers is a multinational professional services network. It is the largest professional services firm in the world, and is one of the Big Four auditors, along with Deloitte, EY and KPMG. Vault Accounting 50 has ranked PwC as the most prestigious accounting firm in the world for seven consecutive years, as well as the top firm to work for in North America for three consecutive years. As of 2015, PwC is the 6th-largest privately owned organization in the United States.
Best IAS And KAS Coaching Centre In Bangalore Government approves over Rs 5000 cr funding to push solar projects The Cabinet committee on economic affairs (CCEA) has approved setting up over 5, 000 Mega Watt of Grid-Connected Solar Photo Voltaic Power Projects on build, own and operate basis. The government approved a ‘viability gap funding’ (VGF) of Rs 5, 050 crore for setting up over 5, 000 MW of grid. Viability Gap Funding (VGF) Means a grant one-time or deferred, provided to support infrastructure projects that are economically justified but fall short of financial viability. The VGF will be provided through reverse bidding. Whosoever will quote the lowest VGF will win. One part of these funds will be for domestic modules. These companies will be given Rs 1.25 crore per MW and those coming through international competitive bidding will get Rs one crore per MW It will be implemented by Solar Power Developers with Viability Gap Funding under Jawahar Lal Nehru National Solar Mission. The total investments expected under the scheme is about Rs 30, 000 crore. It will give jobs to 30 thousand people, with reduction of more than 8 Million tonne of CO2 emissions into environment every year. Jawahar Lal Nehru National Solar Mission: The Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission is a major initiative of the Government of India and State Governments to promote ecologically sustainable growth while addressing India’s energy security challenges. It will also constitute a major contribution by India to the global effort to meet the challenges of climate change. The Mission is one of the several initiatives that are part of National Action Plan on Climate Change. The program was inaugurated in 2010 with a target of 20 GW by 2022 which was later increased to 100 GW in 2015 Union budget of India. United States filed a case with WTO against India for restricting the critical materials used to domestic content. The immediate aim of the Mission is to focus on setting up an enabling environment for solar technology penetration in the country both at a centralized and decentralized level. The first phase (up to 2013) will focus on capturing of the low hanging options in solar thermal; on promoting off-grid systems to serve populations without access to commercial energy and modest capacity addition in grid-based systems. In the second phase, after taking into account the experience of the initial years, capacity will be aggressively ramped up to create conditions for up scaled and competitive solar energy penetration in the country.
Best IAS & KAS Coaching Centre in Bangalore Confusion over sand-mining norms in Kerala sparks concern A notification issued by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change prescribing regulations on river sand mining is feared to result in a mismatch with the Kerala State legislation on the issue. What does the central notification mandates? District Environment Impact Assessment Authority empowered to issue environmental clearance for sand mining below five hectares. It prescribes guidelines for the preparation of a district survey report to identify river sand resources, protection of the riverine ecology and steps to check illegal mining. It mandates to establish District expert appraisal committee to screen projects . Must have no representatives of local bodies. Submission of district survey report every 5 years once. Use of technology aided system for monitoring illegal mining. What does the Kerala Protection of River Banks and Regulation of Removal of Sand Act, 2001 mandates? District-level expert committees chaired by the respective District Collectors have been constituted to check illegal mining. The State government had imposed a total ban on sand mining from six rivers and imposed restrictions on mining from five rivers for a three-year period. It has local representatives . Submission of the sand audit report for every 5 years. River management fund for management of river bank. Penalty of up to two years imprisonment with fine . Extraction of ordinary sand, removal of sand deposits from farms and silt from dams and reservoirs are the activities that have been exempted. Experts and environmental activists fear: This confusion would create a situation for illegal mining to flourish in the State. It is neither necessary nor desirable to have a district expert committee set up under the State Act and a District EIA Authority mandated by the Central notification, both chaired by the District Collector. It will only lead to confusion and conflict. Exemptions cited in the notification would be manipulated to bypass the requirement of environment clearance for river sand mining.
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