Why in news? The Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan (RGSA) has been recently restructured by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA).
The Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan:
The Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan strengthens the Panchayati Raj system across the country and address critical gaps that constrain its success.
RGSA seeks to:
Enhance capacities and effectiveness of Panchayats and the Gram Sabhas;
Enable democratic decision-making and accountability in Panchayats and promote people’s participation;
Strengthen the institutional structure for knowledge creation and capacity building of Panchayats;
Promote devolution of powers and responsibilities to Panchayats according to the spirit of the Constitution and PESA Act;
Strengthen Gram Sabhas to function effectively as the basic forum of peoples participation, transparency and accountability within the Panchayat system;
Create and strengthen democratic local self-government in areas where Panchayats do not exist;
Strengthen the constitutionally mandated framework on which Panchayats are founded.
The Restructuring of the ‘Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan’:
The restructured scheme will focus on training, building infrastructure, stepping up initiatives for e-governance under e-Panchayat Mission Mode Project (MMP) to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
It will be implemented during period from April 2018 to March 2022 with total proposed cost of the scheme is Rs. 7255 crore.
This scheme will extend to all States and UTs of the Country and will also include institutions of rural local government in non-Part IX areas, where Panchayats do not exist.
The scheme will have both Central Component – National Level activities including “National Plan of Technical Assistance”, “Mission Mode project on e-Panchayat”, “Incentivization of Panchayats” and State component – Capacity Building of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs).
The Central Component will be fully funded by the Government of
However, Centre:State funding pattern for State Component will be 60:40 for all States, except North East and Hill States where Centre:State funding pattern will be 90:10.
For all Union Territories (UTs) (with and without legislatures), the Central share will be 100%.
The Scheme will converge capacity building initiatives of other Ministries with particular focus on those Ministries which will be impacted substantially by this Scheme.
FACT # 2
Why in news? The Sunderban Reserve Forest is likely to be declared a Ramsar Site soon.
The Convention on Wetlands, called the Ramsar Convention, is the intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.
The Convention was adopted in the Iranian city of Ramsar in 1971 and came into force in 1975.
Since then, almost 90% of UN member states, from all the world’s geographic regions, have acceded to become “Contracting Parties”.
Under the “three pillars” of the Convention, the Contracting Parties commit to:
work towards the wise use of all their wetlands;
designate suitable wetlands for the list of Wetlands of International Importance (the “Ramsar List”) and ensure their effective management;
Cooperate internationally on trans-boundary wetlands, shared wetland systems and shared species.
RAMSAR SITES IN INDIA:
The convention entered into force in India on 1 February 1982.
India currently has 26 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Sites), with a surface area of 689,131 hectares.
RAMSAR WETLAND SITE
Pong Dam Lake
East Kolkata Wetland
Jammu & Kashmir
Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary
Point Calimare Wildlife and Bird Sanctuary
Rudra Sagar Lake
Upper Ganga River (Brijghat to Narora Stretch)
The Sundarbansis a vast forest in the coastal region of the Bay of Bengal and considered one of the natural wonders of the world.
Located in the delta region of Padma, Meghnaand Brahmaputra river basins, this unique forest extends across Khulna, Satkhira, Bagerhat districts of Bangladesh and South 24 Parganas, North 24 Parganas districts of West Bengal, India.
The Sundarbans contain the world’s largest coastal mangroveforest, with an area of about 10,000 km2 (3,900 sq mi), of which about 6,000 km2 (2,300 sq mi) are located in Bangladesh and about 4,000 km2 (1,500 sq mi) in India.
The Bangladeshi and Indian parts of the Sundarbans, while in fact adjacent parts of the uninterrupted landscape, have been listed separately in the UNESCO World Heritage List: as Sundarbans and Sundarbans National Park, respectively.
Both parts are also recognized as Ramsar sites.
The Sundarbans is a network of marine streams, mud shores and mangrove forests.
The salinity level is higher in the mangroves than in the freshwater swamp forests located further inland.
The Sundarbans flora is characterised by the abundance of sundari, gewa, goranand keora all of which occur prominently throughout the area.
The region is also known to contain numerous wildlife species, birds and reptiles, including Bengal tiger, chital, crocodile, snakesmany of which are considered endangered.
Despite a total ban on all killing or capture of wildlife other than fish and some invertebrates, it appears that there is a consistent pattern of depleted biodiversity or loss of species in the 20th century, and that the ecological quality of the forest is declining.
Despite preservation commitments from both Governments, the sunderbans are under threat from both natural and manmade sources.
In 2007 the landfall of Cyclone Sidr damaged around 40% of Sundarbans.
The forest is also suffering from increased salinity due to rising sea levels and reduced freshwater supply.
The proposed coal-fired Rampal power station situated 14 kilometres north of the Sundarbans is anticipated to further damage this unique forest
FACT # 3
Why in news? Scientists from CSIR-Institute of Minerals and Materials Technology (CSIR-IMMT) have found four new bacterial strains that remove sulphur from fossil fuels.
As Sulphur is one of the major pollutants emitted during the combustion of fossil fuels, BDS is a mehod used for its rectification.
Biodesulfurization (BDS) is the process of sulfur removal from fuels by means of living organisms.
It is a non-invasive approach that can specifically remove sulfur from refractory hydrocarbons under mild conditions and it can be potentially used in industrial desulfurization.
In this process, bacteria remove organo-sulfur from petroleum fractions without degrading the carbon skeleton of the organo-sulfur compounds.
Like other desulfurization processes, biodesulfurization helps to reduce fuel corrosion of engines and increase fuel values.
The four bacterial strains discovered by CSIR are Rhodococcus rhodochrous, Arthrobacter sulfureou, Gordonia rubropertinita and Rhodococcus erythropolis.
The process of bio-desulfurization using these four bacterial strains is also eco-friendly and economical.
These bacterial strains can be potentially used on commercial scale for removal of sulphur from fossil fuels on commercial scale.