‘’Paper 3-GS-II, Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services

Government announces 149 new passport centres

    Important to know:

  • Now, people may not have to travel too far to get your passport as the government has come up with a plan to open passport centres within a radius of 50 km from each other.
  • External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Saturday announced the launch of 149 new Post Office Passport Seva Kendras (POPSKs).
  • These will be in addition to the 86 POPSKs announced by the Ministry of External Affairs in the first phase, an initiative undertaken jointly by the MEA and the Department of Post.
  • Since coming to power, the NDA government has also opened 16 PSKs, with a priority given to the Northeastern States. Prior to this, there were 77 PSKs in the country.

   Planned POPSKs:

  • The Ministry and the DoP were working to map 810 head post offices.
  • More POPSKs would be opened in the third phase after the completion of mapping and checking the viability of post offices.
  • Swaraj also launched a portal for the Know India Programme (KIP), an initiative by the Ministry for Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) in the age group of 18 to 30 years.
  • In 2016, the scheme was revamped to increase its duration from 21 to 25 days, with a 10-day visit to one or two States and preference given to PIOs from Girmitiya countries.
  • From 2016, six KIPs are being organised a year.

    Source: The Hindu

‘’Paper 4-GS-III, Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment Disaster and disaster management.

Nod to shut gates of Sardar Sarovar

   Insights:

  • In a major boost to the ruling BJP before the Gujarat Assembly polls, the Narmada Control Authority (NCA) has given the final go ahead to the government to close the Sardar Sarovar Dam (SSD) gates, almost 56 years after the dam’s foundation was laid in south Gujarat by the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in 1961.
  • The NCA permitted increasing the dam’s height by lowering of 30 gates and impounding of water in the reservoir up to its full reservoir level of 138.68 metres.
  • The latest and final clearance for the project that has faced environmental issues, displacement of tribals and a protracted legal battle, will lead to the completion of the project.
  • The project will result in an increase in the dam’s storage capacity from 1,565 million cubic metres (MCM) to 5,740 MCM and also increase hydro power generation from the current 1,300 MW to 1,450 MW.

   For common people:

  • The SSD is primarily aimed at meeting the water requirements of the drought- prone and desert areas of Gujarat and Rajasthan.
  • According to the Union Water Resources Ministry, this additional storage would irrigate about eight lakh hectares. Additionally, about one crore people will get assured drinking water.
  • In February this year, the Supreme Court cleared the decks for the completion of the project by ordering compensation to the tune of Rs. 60 lakh per family for the project-affected families, who will be displaced in Madhya Pradesh with the raising of the dam’s height in Gujarat.

   Rehabilitation concerns:

  • Prior to the NCA meeting on Friday, its Environment Sub-group reviewed implementation of environment safeguard measures and recommended lowering of the gates for completion of the project.
  • The Resettlement and Rehabilitation sub-group had also reviewed the rehabilitation and resettlement of project affected families as per the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal (NWDT) Award and the Supreme Court order delivered in February 2017.

    Source: Economics Times

‘’Paper 4-GS-III, Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment Disaster and disaster management.

Citizens act to save 100 trees in Hyderabad

   For environment:

  • The proposed flyover under the Strategic Road Development Plan (SRDP) here has taken a toll of 15 trees so far – but a 100 others can escape the same fate.
  • These trees are being saved on the Kukatpally Housing Board road, as citizens put their money into their activism.
  • The onset of monsoon has given citizens and voluntary agencies the cue to prepare for the ambitious translocation of the remaining trees onto a water body.
  • The activity is privately funded, with no governmental commitment on funds.

   The attempt begins:

  • It started with plans to shift about 15-20 smaller trees to a water body inside the Hyderabad Central University or onto a water body near Kukatpally MMTS station or Gopi lake in Lingampally.
  • But, the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) refused permission.
  • Activists got second chance thanks to a tussle between two housing groups.
  • The proposed flyover’s ramp is supposed to land at the Malaysian Township but the residents objected, and it was decided to shift it farther on the road.
  • Municipal officials and public representatives are trying to resolve the tussle, giving the green activists a breather.
  • The campaigners made an online appeal and shared messages, prompting voluntary organisations to offer to raise about ₹5 lakh for the shift.
  • Friends have offered help in cash and kind for the translocation of the Peltophorum trees to Nekrampur Lake. We want to shift them near a water body as the trees are 8-10 years old and will adapt faster near a wetland.
  • We are talking to HCU and local communities as well. We want GHMC on our side and will talk to them about the trimming disposal.
  • The issue is being taken up with the GHMC Commissioner for relocating the trees at the earliest and during weekends when the traffic is less.

    Source: Hindustan Times