Current based PRELIMS QUESTION 24 April 2020

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1. Consider the following statements regarding the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP).
1. The GRAP was formulated in 2016 and approved by the Supreme Court in the same year.
2. The plan is incremental in nature. So, it does not include action by various state governments to be taken throughout the year to tackle emissions.
3. The plan requires action and coordination among 13 different agencies in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan (NCR areas).
Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?
(a) 2 and 3 only
(b) 1 and 2 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3
Answer-d
Explanation
Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP)
The GRAP was formulated in 2016 and approved by the Supreme Court in the same year.
It was notified in 2017 by the Centre, and draws its authority from this notification.
It was planned after several meetings of EPCA (Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority) with state government officials and experts.
GRAP institutionalised the measures to be taken when air quality deteriorates.
It aims to roll out progressively tougher actions as pollution levels rise, without waiting for an emergency to impose strict measures.
How does GRAP work?
The plan is incremental in nature. So, it does not include action by various state governments to be taken throughout the year to tackle emissions.
Rather, when the air quality shifts from poor to very poor, the measures listed have to be followed.
If air quality reaches the severe stage, GRAP talks about shutting down schools and implementing the odd-even road-space rationing scheme.
The plan requires action and coordination among 13 different agencies in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan (NCR areas).
At the top is the EPCA, mandated by the Supreme Court.
Before the imposition of any measure, EPCA holds a meeting with representatives from all NCR states.

A call is taken on which actions have to be made applicable in which town.

How effective has GRAP been?
GRAP has been successful in doing two things that had not been done before –
i. creating a step-by-step plan for the entire Delhi-NCR region
ii. getting on board several agencies: all pollution control boards, industrial area authorities, municipal corporations, regional officials of IMD and others
The biggest success of GRAP has been in fixing accountability and deadlines.
For each action to be taken under a particular air quality category, executing agencies are clearly marked.
In a territory like Delhi, where a multiplicity of authorities has been a long-standing impediment to effective governance, this step made a crucial difference.
Clear demarcation of responsibilities has made easier the coordination among as many as 13 agencies from 4 states.
Three major policy decisions that can be credited to EPCA and GRAP are-
1. the closure of the thermal power plant at Badarpur
2. bringing BS-VI fuel to Delhi before the deadline set initially
3. the ban on Pet coke as a fuel in Delhi NCR
What are the shortfalls?
A major concern with the EPCA and the GRAP has been the focus on Delhi.
Delhi has always been the first one to have stringent measures enforced.
Other states have managed to delay several measures, citing lack of resources.
For GRAP as well as EPCA, the next challenge is to extend the measures to other states effectively.

2. Consider the following statements regarding the new Light Combat Helicopter (LCH).
1. It is powered by twin Shakti engines and inherits many technical features of the Advanced Light Helicopter.
2. It is a 5.5 tonne class combat helicopter designed and developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
3. LCH is capable of operating at altitudes as high as Siachen glacier with 500kg load.
Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?
(a) 2 and 3 only
(b) 1 and 2 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3
Answer-d
Explanation
Light Combat Helicopter (LCH)
Shri Rajnath Singh inaugurated the new Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) Production Hangar at Helicopter Division in Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Complex at Bengaluru, Karnataka. Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) is a 5.5-tonne class combat helicopter designed and developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) – a Defence Public Sector Undertaking (DPSU).
It is powered by twin Shakti engines and inherits many technical features of the Advanced Light Helicopter.
LCH has the distinction of being the first attack helicopter to land in Forward Bases at Siachen, 4,700 mts above sea level with 500kg load.
This is the first time in the country that a helicopter has carried out air to air missile engagement. None of the helicopters with the military services in the country has demonstrated such a capability.
Other weapons on LCH include a 20mm Turret gun and 70 mm Rockets, the firing trials of which have already been completed last year.
The DAC has accorded approval for procurement of initial batch of 15 LCHs (10 for IAF and 5 for Army).

3. Consider the following statements regarding the Namami Ganga Programme.
1. It is implemented by National mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG).
2. This project aims at Ganga Rejuvenation by combining the existing ongoing efforts and planning under it to create a concrete action plan for future.
3. This program focuses on in-situ treatment & bio-remediation of the river.
Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?
(a) 2 and 3 only
(b) 1 and 2 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3
Answer-d
Explanation
National Mission for Clean Ganga
The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) was implemented by the National Council for Rejuvenation, Protection and Management of River Ganga also known as the National Ganga Council.
This mission was established in 12th August 2011 under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 as a registered society.
The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) under National Ganga Council is supported by the State level Programme Management Groups (SPMGs) in the state of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal. It is an initiative taken by the Government of India to address the pollution of river Ganga by providing financial and technical assistance.
Objectives of National Mission for Clean Ganga
The Government of India organised the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) at Delhi’s Vigyan Bhavan.
NMCG focuses on pollution reduction interventions including interception, diversion and the treatment of wastewater that flows through the open drains. It aims to reduce pollution through bioremediation, apt in-situ treatment, pioneering technology, sewage treatment plants (STP) and effluent treatment plants (ETP).
Some of the major objectives of the Nation Mission for Clean Ganga are:
• The mission incorporates rehabilitating and boosting the existing STPs and instant short-term steps to curb pollution at exit points on the riverfront in order to check the inflow of sewage.
• To maintain the continuity of the water flow without changing the natural season variations.
• To restore and maintain the surface flow and groundwater.
• To regenerate and maintain the natural vegetation of the area.
• To conserve and regenerate the aquatic biodiversity as well as the riparian biodiversity of the river Ganga basin.
• To allow participation of the public in the process of protection, rejuvenation and management of the river.
Initiatives towards Clean Ganga
A lot of initiatives were taken before the establishment of the Clean Ganga Mission that targeted towards the reduction of pollution and cleaning of the river Ganga. Some of the major initiatives taken by the Government of India before the implementation of this mission are discussed below:
• Ganga Action Plan: It was announced in 1985 by the Ministry of Environment & Forests. This was the first River Action Plan that was introduced for the improvement of water quality through interception, diversion and treatment of domestic sewage. The plan aimed in preventing the entry of toxic and industrial chemical wastes to the river.
• National River Conservation Plan: This conservation plan was developed as an extension for the Ganga Action Plan with an aim to cover all the major rivers of India.
• National River Ganga Basin Authority (NRGBA): Controlled by the Prime Minister of India, the National River Ganga Basin Authority was formed under Section-3 of the Environment Protection Act, 1986 by the Central Government in 2009. It declared the Ganga as the ‘National River’ of India.
• A Government clean-up campaign was started in 2010 to prevent the entry of untreated municipal sewage or industrial runoff into the river.
What is Namami Gange?
The Namami Gange Yojana is implemented by the National Mission for Clean Ganga along with its State Programme Management Groups (SPMGs). Union Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley announced the implementation of Namami Gange on 10 July 2014.
This programme was established as a conservation mission with a budget of Rs. 20,000 crore. Namami Gange aims at reducing the pollution of the river Ganga along with the conservation and rejuvenation of the river banks.
It is a flagship programme under the Union Government. The main pillars of the Namami Gange have been discussed below:
• Sewerage Treatment Infrastructure & Industrial Effluent Monitoring.
• Development of river-front as well as river-surface cleaning.
• Bio-Diversity & Afforestation.
• Public Awareness.
India had also joined hands with Germany to rejuvenate Ganga as the country’s Ministry of Water Resources and German International Cooperation (GIZ), owned by the German Federal Government signed an agreement in this regard. In August 2017, Germany officially sealed an aid deal of ₹900 crores during a meeting between its Ambassador to India Dr Martin Ney and Uttarakhand’s chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat. Overall, the EU state has pledged the assistance of 120 million Euros, or ₹100 crores, to the state of Uttarakhand, where the river originates.
https://nmcg.nic.in/NamamiGanga.aspx

4. Consider the following statements regarding the National Ganga Council.
1. The National Ganga Council is formed under the Environment (Protection) Act (EPA), 1986.
2. National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) acts as an implementation arm of the National Ganga Council.
3. Recently, the Prime Minister chaired the first meeting of the National Ganga Council at Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh.
4. This also known as the National Council for Rejuvenation, Protection, and Management of River Ganga was set up in 2016 and it replaced the National River Ganga Basin Authority (NRGBA).
Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?
(a) 1, 2 and 4 only
(b) 2, 3 and 4 only
(c) 1 and 4 only
(d) All of the above
Answer-a
Explanation-
National Ganga Council
Recently, the Prime Minister chaired the first meeting of the National Ganga Council at Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh.
The first meeting of the Council was aimed at reinforcing the importance of a ‘Ganga-centric’ approach in all departments of the concerned states as well as relevant Central Ministries.
The National Ganga Council, also known as the National Council for Rejuvenation, Protection, and Management of River Ganga was set up in 2016. It replaced the National River Ganga Basin Authority (NRGBA).
Key Points
The ‘Namami Gange’ should holistically evolve to ‘Arth Ganga’ i.e. a sustainable development model with a focus on economic activities related to Ganga.
Setting up of a digital dashboard where data from villages and urban bodies to be monitored on a daily basis by NITI Ayog and Ministry of Jal Shakti.
The need to increase the efficiency of district Ganga committees for effective implementation of the Namami Gange Programme.
The potential of religious and adventure tourism in the Ganga river basin area to be explored in future.
As the income generated from tourism activities would help to generate sustainable income for cleaning the Ganga.
National Ganga Council
The National Ganga Council is chaired by Prime Minister.
The National Ganga Council is formed under the Environment (Protection) Act (EPA), 1986.
It has been given overall responsibility for the superintendence of pollution prevention and rejuvenation of River Ganga Basin, including Ganga and its tributaries.
National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) acts as an implementation arm of the National Ganga Council.
NMCG was established in the year 2011 as a registered society.
It has a two-tier management structure and comprises of Governing Council and Executive Committee.
The aims and objectives of NMCG are:
To ensure effective control of pollution and rejuvenation of the river Ganga by adopting a river basin approach to promote inter-sectoral coordination for comprehensive planning and management.
To maintain minimum ecological flows in the river Ganga with the aim of ensuring water quality and environmentally sustainable development.

5. Consider the following statements regarding the Mekong-Ganga Cooperation (MGC).
1. It is an initiative by six countries – India and five ASEAN countries, namely, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.
2. It aims to facilitate closer contacts among people inhabiting these two (Ganga and Mekong) major civilisational river basins and enhancing cooperation in culture, tourism, education, transport and communications among member countries.
Which of the following statements is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2
Answer-c
Explanation-
Mekong-Ganga Cooperation (MGC)
The Mekong-Ganga Cooperation (MGC) is an initiative by six countries – India and five ASEAN countries, namely, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam for cooperation in tourism, culture, education, as well as transport and communications.
It was launched in 2000 at Vientiane, Lao PDR. Both the Ganga and the Mekong are civilizational rivers, and the MGC initiative aims to facilitate closer contacts among the people inhabiting these two major river basins.
The MGC is also indicative of the cultural and commercial linkages among the member countries of the MGC down the centuries.
The 1st MGC Ministerial Meeting was held in Vientiane from 9-13 November 2000. It issued the Vientiane Declaration on MGC covering cooperation in the 4 traditional areas.
MGC Ministerial Meeting was held after a gap of four years since 2012. New areas have since been added to the Work Programme such as cooperation in the field of SMEs, Rice Germplasm, health and pandemics, Nalanda University Archival Resource Centre and Quick Impact Projects.
MGC cooperation has been expanding in the fields of trade, tourism, development, movement of people and goods.
Areas of Cooperation
India announced 50 new ITEC scholarships for MGC countries in areas of culture, tourism, engineering, management, teachers training, film directing, sound, lighting and stage management in addition to 900 scholarships already given every year. New Centres of excellence in Software Development and Training were announced. Existing capacity building programmes in law enforcement, financial markets, ICT and space, to supplement the requirements of MGC partners was also announced.
3 Quick Impact Projects in Lao PDR and 2 in Myanmar are under consideration in addition to 9 in Cambodia and 5 in Vietnam already under implementation.
MGC partners were invited as ‘Guests of Honour’ in the 5th International Buddhist Conclave which was held from 2-5 October 2016 in Delhi, Varanasi and Sarnath.
275 persons from 39 countries including prominent Buddhist personalities from Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam participated.
India drafted a Plan of Action (POA) 2016-18 which was endorsed to become the core guideline for future action.
On the future direction of MGC, it was recommended that POA 2016-18 may be continued.
ACCC+ India meeting is to be held in Surakarta, Indonesia in March 2017. It supported extension of trilateral highway to Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. Cooperation in tourism, particularly in tourism-marketing, exploring tourist destinations for outbound tourists was suggested.