News Crux Ecology & Environment

New Deadlines For Thermal Power Plants To Meet Emission Standards


  • On 1st April, 2021, the Union Environment Ministry has declared new rules that pushed back deadlines for coal-fired power plants to adopt new emission norms by up to three years and allowed utilities that miss the new target to continue operating after paying a penalty.
  • India had initially set a 2017 deadline for thermal power plants to install Flue Gas Desulphurization (FGD) units that cut emissions of sulphur dioxides.

Other Features of the new Rule

  • Plants near populous regions and the capital New Delhi will have to comply by 2022, while utilities in less polluting area shave up to 2025 to comply or retire units.
  • A task force will be constituted by the Central Pollution Control Board to categorise plants in three categories “on the basis of their location to comply with the emission norms”.
  • In case of non-compliance, a penalty of up to 0.20 rupees ($0.0027) will be levied for every unit of electricity produced.

Note: Thermal power companies, which produce three-fourths of the country’s electricity, account for some 80% of its industrial emissions of particulate matter, sulphur- and nitrous-oxides, which cause lung diseases, acid rain and smog.

News Crux Ecology & Environment

India's Biggest Floating Solar Power Plant To Be Set Up At Ramagundam


  • India's biggest floating solar power plant with a capacity of 100 MW will be set up at Ramagundam in Telangana.
  • The project expected to be opened in May, is being set up at Ramagundam thermal power plant reservoir.
  • The solar project is commissioned by the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC).
  • The world's largest solar power plant with 600 MW capacity is being set up on Omkareshwar Dam on Narmada river in Madhya Pradesh.

News Crux Health

National Policy For Rare Diseases 2021


  • Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan has approved the “National Policy for Rare Diseases 2021” on 30th of March.
  • The Rare Diseases Policy aims to lower the high cost of treatment for rare diseases with increased focus on indigenous research with the help of a National Consortium. Increased focus of research and development and local production of medicines will lower the cost of treatment for rare diseases.
  • The policy also envisages creation of a national hospital based registry of rare diseases so that adequate data is available for definition of rare diseases and for research and development.
  • The Policy also focuses on early screening and prevention through primary and secondary health care infrastructure such as Health and Wellness Centres and District Early Intervention Centres.
  • The Policy also aims to strengthen tertiary health care facilities for prevention and treatment of rare diseases by designating 8 health facilities as Centre of Excellence. These Centres will also be provided one-time financial support of up to 5 crore rupees for upgradation of diagnostics facilities.
  • A provision for financial support up to 20 lakh rupees under the Umbrella Scheme of Rastriya Arogya Nidhi is proposed for treatment of those rare diseases that require a one-time treatment. Beneficiaries of such financial assistance would not be limited to BPL families. The benefit will be extended to about 40 percent of the population, who are eligible under Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana.

News Crux International

BIMSTEC Finalises Connectivity Master Plan


  • The virtual meeting of the Foreign Ministers of Bay of Bengal Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) grouping on 1 April 2021 finalised a major Connectivity master plan for the Bay of Bengal region.
  • The seven-member regional grouping namely India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Myanmar will take up the Master plan for transport connectivity for adoption in the next summit of the organisation to be hosted by Sri Lanka in a few months from now.
  • The meeting also endorsed three MoUs/agreements relating to convention on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal matters, cooperation between diplomatic and training academies and establishment of BIMSTEC Technology Transfer Facility in Colombo.
  • The connectivity master plan is the outcome of more than a decade of consultations among the member states. The study conducted by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in 2007 and 2014, identified 166 connectivity projects at an estimated cost of USD 50 billion out of which 65 projects were identified as priority projects.

News Crux Defence

Exercise ‘Shantir Ogroshena -2021’


  • Indian Army is participating in Multinational Military Exercise namely SHANTIR OGROSHENA -2021 in Bangladesh.
  • The nine days exercise started on the 4th April 2021 to commemorate the birth centenary of Bangladesh Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and mark glorious 50 years of liberation.
  • Indian Army contingent comprising 30 personnel from the Dogra Regiment is participating in the exercise along with contingents of Bhutan, Sri Lankan and Bangladesh Armies.
  • The theme of the exercise is Robust Peace Keeping Operations.