SUBJECT :Climate Change 
In an effort to meet targets under the recently approved Paris climate change agreement and to take forward the ongoing clean and green India drive, the government is expected to take multiple measures in 2016 which will help it cut the country's carbon footprint and also promote efficient use of energy and natural resources.

These measures include review of its existing Comprehensive Environmental Pollution Index (CEPI) system, installing sophisticated equipments to gauge air pollution level in 66 million plus cities, coming out with new rules to manage different kinds of waste, involve people and private bodies to increase forest cover and take steps to conserve water and protect coastal zones.

The broad outline of these measures was discussed in a meeting on Friday when environment minister Prakash Javadekar is learnt to have asked heads and senior officials of 26 divisions of his ministry to pull up their socks to cut delays in decision making process and prepare for the future while involving the public through different platforms.

The meeting was meant for discussion over key green issues to formulate an action plan for the year 2016, specifically in view of the country's commitment to not only fulfill its promises under the Paris pact but also to meet India's targets under the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals.

"We have discussed how to avoid delays. We have already changed the very culture of this ministry in last 19 months, but we want to avoid delay further and bring it to (the level of) 'zero' delay", said Javadekar after the meeting.

He said the thrust of the action plan for 2016 would be on increasing public participation and bringing down delays.

The minister said, "Much work needs to be done post-Paris. Many things which have been agreed in Paris need to be given a real shape and for that India will be proactively engaging with the (other countries in the) world and will take necessary steps".

It is expected that the issue will further be discussed in the meeting of the Prime Minister's Council on Climate Change this month. As part its 'climate action plan' (called Intended Nationally Determined Contribution), India has promised to substantially increase its forest cover and reduce its carbon emission intensity to 33-35% by 2030 compared to its 2005 levels.

Besides, it also promised to increase the share of clean energy (solar, wind, bio-mass, small hydro and nuclear) in its total energy mix to 40% by 2030. All these would require a lot of work on the ground and at the policy level.

Taking note of non-functional sewage treatment plants (STPs) in many states, Javadekar after the meeting said the Centre has decided to make it mandatory under Environment Protection Act for states to ensure proper working of treatment plants.

"In many states, the sewage treatment plants are not working. It is the responsibility of the state government. We will issue directions under Section 5 of the Environment Protection Act, 1986 to such states so that it becomes mandatory for them to ensure that all the plants are functional," he said.

Source: January 2, 2016, The Economic Times