Parliament Q & A
New Project To Save Forests
- Whether the Ministry proposes to launch a new project to save the forests of Himachal Pradesh;
- If so, the details thereof; and
- Whether it is proposed to conduct a survey so that information regarding deforestation during the past years and its reasons could be obtained?
Answered by: Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Shri Bhupender Yadav on 06.04.2023.
(b). Question does not arise.
(c). The Forest Survey of India (FSI), Dehradun, an organization under the Ministry has been carrying out the assessment of forest cover of the country, biennially since 1987, and the findings are published in India State of Forest Report (ISFR). As per latest ISFR 2021, the total forest cover of the country is 7,13,789 square kilometres which is 21.71% of the geographical area of the country. The trend for the last three ISFRs shows an increase in forest cover of the country. The forest cover has increased by 3,976 square kilometre between ISFR 2017 and ISFR 2019 assessment while there is an increase of 1,540 square kilometre between ISFR 2019 and ISFR 2021 assessment. The Protection and management of forests are primarily the responsibility of concerned State/UT Governments, and various afforestation activities and forest protection measures are being taken up by the states to increase the forest cover and for sustainable management of the forests as per approved working plans.
As per the ISFR 2021, the forest cover of the state Himachal Pradesh has increased by 9 square kilometer as compared to the ISFR 2019.
- The details of the Ramayana Circuit;
- The details of the States getting or likely to get benefits of the Ramayana Circuit;
- The districts of the States of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar that would be benefited from the Ramayana Circuit scheme; and
- The quantum of funds being spent by Government on the Ramayana circuit
Answered By the Minister of Tourism Shri G. Kishan Reddy on 06.04.2023.
(a) to (d): The Ministry of Tourism has sanctioned 76 projects for Rs.5292.57 Crore in identified themes under its Swadesh Darshan scheme (SDS) which includes 2 projects sanctioned under Ramayana Circuit theme. No project under Ramayana Circuit theme has been sanctioned in the State of Bihar. The details of the projects sanctioned under Ramayana Circuit theme are as under:
Name of State/ Year of Sanction
Development of Chitrakoot and Shringverpur
Development of Ayodhya
Hazardous Effects Of Plastic On Environment And Human Life
- Whether Government is aware of large-scale use of plastic in packaging industry and its hazardous effects on the environment and human life, if so, the details thereof;
- The action proposed by Government to reduce use of plastic in packaging of water and food items due to difficulties in recycling them;
- Whether Government proposes to impose restrictions on packaging industry to stop the use of plastic and suggest appropriate alternative material in the packaging of food and water and if so, the details thereof; and
- Whether Government has undertaken adequate research and development to identify an alternative to plastic?
Answered by: Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Shri Bhupender Yadav on 06.04.2023
(a). Unmanaged and littered plastic waste including plastic packaging waste has adverse impacts on terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. As per Annual Report of CPCB for the year 2019-20, the plastic waste generation in the country has 34.69 lakh tonnes per annum (TPA) during the year 2019-20 of which approximately 15.8 Lakh TPA of plastic waste was recycled and 1.67 Lakh TPA was co-processed in cement kilns.
As per the Guidelines on Extended Producer Responsibility for Plastic Packaging notified on 16th February 2022, presently a total of 6792 of Producers, Importers and Brand Owners have been registered on the Centralized Online Extended Producer Responsibility Portal on Plastic Packaging. The registered PIBOs cumulatively have around 2.39 Million Tons of plastic packaging covered under Extended Producer Responsibility for the year 2022-23.
(b) & (c): The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has notified the Food Safety and Standards (Packaging) Regulations, 2018, which prescribes general and specific requirements for different food packaging materials including plastics. These regulations also specify that paper, glass, metals and plastic materials, if used for packaging food stuffs, shall be manufactured in accordance to Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and various national/international standards. Further, packaging material of plastic origin is required to meet the prescribed overall migration limits and specific migration limits.
Following regulatory measures have been taken by FSSAI to enable Food and Beverage industry to reduce their plastic foot print: - (i) issued guidelines for use of bamboo as food contact material; (ii) allowed serving of drinking water in paper-sealed reusable glass bottles for captive use within the hotel premises subject to certain conditions; (iii) Removed the restriction on use of returnable bottles for packaging of artificially sweetened beverages; (iv) Permitted the use of liquid nitrogen dosing in PET bottles during the packaging of drinking water; (v) permitted the use of other food grade packaging materials for packaging of drinking water other than plastics that are used currently; (vi) promoted bio degradable packaging as part of Eat Right India initiative and encouraged Food Business to reduce use of plastics.
The EPR guidelines on plastic packaging mandate the reuse of rigid plastic packaging, subject to the regulations as prescribed by Food Safety and Standards Authority of India for food contact applications. The EPR guidelines also promote sustainable plastic packaging thus reducing the plastic foot print.
(d). The Department of Science and Technology and Department of Biotechnology support research and development projects for alternatives to banned single-use plastic items, as per scheme guidelines. The School of Advanced Research in Petrochemicals (SARP), CIPET is working on eco-friendly alternatives to banned single use plastic items. Further, to encourage innovation in development of alternatives to banned identified single use plastic items and digital solutions to plastic waste management, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change had organized an India Plastic Challenge –Hackathon 2021, for students of higher education institutions and start-ups.
A National Expo on eco-alternatives to banned single use plastics items and Conference of Startups - 2022 was organized jointly with Government of Tamil Nadu in Chennai on 26-27th September 2022 to raise awareness on alternatives. More than 150 manufacturers of eco-alternatives from across the country participated in the Expo. The Eco-alternatives were made from coir, bagasse, rice and wheat bran, plant and agricultural residue, banana and areca leaves, jute and cloth.
Financial Planning For Centenary And Annual Programs
- Whether Government has made any financial plan for the art and culture promotion scheme, museum promotion, international co-operation centenary and annual programs of the Ministry during the year 2022-23 and 2023-24, if so, the details thereof; and
- Whether Government has prepared any action plan for Central autonomous bodies, museums, academies, libraries and other cultural institutions across the country, if so, the details thereof?
Answered By: Minister of Culture Tourism and Development of North Eastern Region Shri G. Kishan Reddy on 06.4.2023
(a) Ministry of Culture is administering six Central Sector Schemes, and its financial plan for the implementation of promotion of art and culture, museum promotion, international co-operation, centenary and annual programs during the years 2022-23 and 2023-24 as mentioned below.
- Centenaries and Anniversaries Scheme
- Kala Sanskriti Vikas Yojana
- Development of Museum
- Development of Libraries & Archives
- Global Engagement & International Cooperation
- National Mission on Cultural Mapping and Roadmap
(b) As per the mandate of Ministry of Culture, the Ministry deals with the Tangible and Intangible Cultural Heritage of India.
- This heritage encompasses several strands including monuments and archaeology, folk and tribal art, literature, archives, library, performing arts including music dance and drama, visual arts in the form of paintings, sculptures and graphics.
- All activities of the Ministry relating to promotion, preservation and conservation of the Cultural Heritage of the Country are implemented through a network of two attached offices, 7 subordinate offices and 34 autonomous organizations under its control and number of schemes directly operated by the Ministry for promotion and dissemination of Art & Culture.
- Its activities, projects and programmes are organized under various schemes of archaeology, museums, archives, anthropology, performing arts, public libraries, Buddhists and Tibetan institutes, centenaries and anniversary, international cultural relations, Gandhi heritage mission.
Construction And Demolition Waste
- Whether Government is cognizant of the growing instances of non-adherence of dust mitigation measures mandated under the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) leading to the dispersion of construction and demolition waste in the air;
- If so, the details thereof and if not, the reasons therefor;
- The manner in which the monitoring of construction, re-modelling, repair and demolition of civil structures is being undertaken in the regions under CAQM; and
- The status of progress on building an online mechanism for monitoring and reporting of the compliance of dust mitigation measures?
Answered by: Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Shri Bhupender Yadav 06-04-2023
(a) & (b): Dust arising out of ongoing construction and demolition activities and infrastructure development in the National Capital Region is one of the contributors to the overall adverse air quality in the region. Accordingly, this sector has been a priority area for the Central Government and the Commission for Air Quality Management in NCR and Adjoining Areas (CAQM). CAQM has issued statutory directions, advisories and guidelines for appropriate dust mitigation measures, besides calling for compliance of various statutes, viz. C&D Waste Management Rules and related CPCB guidelines on dust mitigation measures.
(c) & (d): CAQM has an extensive monitoring mechanism for compliance of dust mitigation measures in the NCR. Flying Squads/ Inspection Teams constituted by the CAQM have been regularly carrying out incognito inspections of the C&D project sites, besides inspections by the respective State Pollution Control Boards / DPCC and various departments/ agencies of the concerned State Govts. / GNCTD.
Under statutory directions of the Commission, to facilitate remote monitoring of bigger C & D projects, all projects in the NCR on plot areas equal to or more than 500 sqm. are required to register on the respective dedicated web portals in the States of Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and the NCT of Delhi and certify self-compliance of various stipulated measures. Such portals have been developed and are operational in the NCRE states and GNCTD. The project sites registered on the web portal are also required to be video fenced to also enable remote monitoring of the compliances by the inspection agencies through the respective web portals.
Further, under statutory directions of the CAQM, ‘Dust Control and Management Cells' (DCMC) have been setup by different road owning/ monitoring agencies in NCR to specifically monitor and manage dust pollution from major road infrastructure building/ construction works and road maintenance activities.
FDI In Space Sector
- Whether the Government has a policy framework in place to streamline foreign direct investment (FDI) for space intensive activities?
- If so, the details thereof; if not, the reasons therefor; and
- The role of the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Centre (IN-SPACe) in channelising the FDI for space activities?
Answered by: Minister of State in the Ministry of Personnel, PG & PENSIONS and in the Prime Minister’s Office Dr. Jitendra Singh On April 06, 2023.
- Presently FDI in space sector is allowed upto 100% in the area of Satellites-Establishment and Operations through Government route only.
- Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Centre (IN-SPACe) being the regulatory and promotional body for space activities was involved in revision of FDI policy which is presently under consideration of the Government. The specific role of IN-SPACe for channelising FDI will evolve after approval of revised FDI policy by the Government.
Steps To Control Wild Fire In Similipal National Park
Will the Minister of ENVIRONMENT, FOREST AND CLIMATE CHANGE be pleased to state:
- Whether Government is aware that many a time wild fire erupts in Similipal National Park, Biosphere and in Similipal Tiger Reserve causing major loss to natural resources, flora and fauna, animals, birds and other creatures;
- If so, whether the Central Government has taken any major initiatives to control and curb the wild fire incidents which occur frequently almost every year;
- Whether the Central Government has formulated any concrete action plan to stop the eruption of the wild fire in order to prevent the major losses; and
- If so, the details thereof?
Answered by: Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Shri Bhupender Yadav on 06.04.2023
(a) to (d): Forest fires occur every year during summer due to various natural and anthropogenic reasons. Most forest fires in the country, including in Similipal National Park, are ground fires which mainly affect ground vegetation.
Prevention and control of forest fires is primarily the responsibility of the State Governments. The Ministry supports the efforts of the States by providing financial assistance under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Forest Fire Prevention and Management. Funds are provided under the scheme for fire prevention and management measures such as modern tools for extinguishing fires, use of communication and information technology, creation and maintenance of fire lines in forest areas, engagement of fire watchers, creation of water storage structures in forest areas, strengthening of forest infrastructure, procurement of firefighting equipment, soil and moisture conservation works in high risk areas, awareness creation, and incentivizing villages/communities for protection against forest fire.
The Ministry formulated the National Action Plan on Forest Fire (NAPFF) in the year 2018. The plan aims to minimize the incidence of forest fire in the country by informing, enabling and empowering forest fringe communities and incentivizing them to work in tandem with State Forest Departments,reducing the vulnerability of forests across diverse forest ecosystems against fire hazards, enhancing the capabilities of forest personnel and institutions in fighting fires, and speeding up recovery after fire events. The Ministry has also constituted a Central Monitoring Committee which reviews theimplementation of NAPFF and preparedness of States regarding forest fire prevention and management.
The Forest Survey of India, an organization under the Ministry, disseminates satellite based forest fire alerts to State Forest Departments and other registered mobile users whenever forest fires are detected.
Declining Standard Of Education In Government Schools
- Whether Government is aware of the fact that the standard of education in Government schools is declining when compared with private schools;
- If so, the details thereof along with the reasons therefor, State/UT-wise; and
- The details of concrete steps being taken by Government to improve the level of education in Government schools at par with private schools?
Answered by: Minister of State in the Ministry Of Education Smt. Annpurna Devi on 05.04.2023
(a) to (c): The Government of India has been implementing a programme of sample based National Achievement Survey (NAS) aimed at classes III, V, VIII and X with a cycle period of three years. The last round of NAS was held on November 12, 2021 across India covering students of grades 3, 5, 8 and 10. The aim and objective of NAS is to assess children’s progress and learning competencies as an indicator of the health of the education system, so as to take appropriate steps for remedial actions at different levels. The assessment covers student across government as well as private schools. National, State/UT and District Reports for NAS 2021 have been released on 25.05.2022.
National Education Policy 2020 envisages making concerted national effort to ensure universal access and accord opportunity to all children of the country to obtain quality and holistic education from pre-school to grade 12 in all schools including private schools.
Education is in the concurrent list of the Constitution and majority of the schools are under the domain of respective State and UT Governments. Samagra Shiksha focuses
on improvement in quality of education by providing support for different interventions to all States and UTs, like in-service training of teachers and school heads, conduct of achievement surveys at state and national level, composite school grant to every school for providing a conducive learning environment, grants for library, sports and physical activities, support for Rashtriya Avishkar Abhiyan, ICT and digital initiatives, School Leadership development programme, remedial teaching for academically weaker students, support for Padhe Bharat Badhe Bharat, etc.
The following initiatives have been taken by the Government to improve the standard of education in the country:
- The Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Samagra Shiksha and PM Poshan have been aligned to the recommendation of NEP 2020. Samagra Shiksha is an Integrated Centrally Sponsored Scheme for school education extending from pre-school to class XII and aims to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education at all levels of school education. National Initiative for Proficiency in Reading with Understanding and Numeracy (NIPUN Bharat) has been launched under Samagra Shiksha for ensuring that every child in the country necessarily attains foundational literacy and numeracy (FLN) by the end of Grade 3, and e-content for the same has been released in DIKSHA platform.
- NISHTHA integrated training programme 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0 Integrated Teacher Training Programme has been introduced for different stages of school education for Teachers, Head Teachers/Principals and other stakeholders in Educational Management.
- Learning Outcomes for the Secondary level have been notified.
- A 70 indicator based matrix Performance Grading Index (PGI) has been developed to grade the States/UTs.
- The Structured Assessment for Analyzing Learning levels (SAFAL) framework has been developed by CBSE and launched on 29thJuly, 2021 for Competency-based assessment in CBSE schools for grades 3, 5 and 8 focusing on testing for core concepts, application-based questions and higher-order thinking skills.
- VIDYA PRAVESH—Guidelines for three-month Play-based School Preparation Module for Grade-I Children, has been released on 29th July, 2021 to ensure that all children are exposed to a warm and welcoming environment when they enter Grade-I.