Here is the digest of important newspaper articles and quiz!
Draft Forest Policy
The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has proposed a new policy for the management of forests. It is prepared by Indian Institute of Forest Management. It is open for public comments till June 30, 2016. The salient features of the policy can be summarised as below.
1) The policy proposes a green cess to promote “ecologically responsible behaviour” and called on the government to promote the sustainable use of wood.
2) The forest policy also emphasises that the government “must double tree cover, outside forests, within a decade.”
3) Result Based Framework – The policy emphasizes on switching focus from forests to landscapes, from canopy cover to healthy ecosystems, from substituting wood to promoting sustainable wood use, from participatory approaches to empowerment, from joint forest management to community forest management and from qualitative policy statements to a results-based policy framework.
It proposes a national implementation framework to be in place within six months of the notification, and exhorts States to draft their state forest policies and prepare an implementation framework.
4) Environmental cess, green tax, carbon tax etc. may be levied on certain products and services for facilitating ecologically responsible behaviour, garnering citizen’s contribution and supplementing financial resources.
5) Native Species – India has set an ambitious target of bringing a third of its geographical area under forest-and-tree cover within a decade, up from the current one-fourth.
The policy acknowledges it but recommends that this be done by replenishing these lands with native species rather than “introducing exotic species.”
Regarding Union government’s controversial decision to declare certain animals as “vermin” and implicitly sanctioning the slaughter of nilgai, wildpigs and monkeys in certain States, the forest policy recommends mitigating human-wildlife conflicts by taking up habitat enrichment, providing adequate and timely compensation in case of injury or loss of human life, property, crop damage or livestock casualties and developing teams of well-equipped and trained forest personnel. An independent expert said promoting the use of wood outside forests could incentivise forest dwellers to not gather firewood from forests.
Aadhar to be linked with caste certificate
State governments have been asked to link Aadhaar with caste and domicile certificates to be issued to school students The States have been told to ensure that such certificates are issued within 60 days to the students when they are studying in Class V or VIII.
The development assumes significance as there have been complaints of delay in grant of scholarship to students belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes along with harassment by government officials.
What will be the benefit of the certificates? – The main objective of issuance of caste or tribe certificate is to facilitate access of bona-fide candidates belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes to the reserved posts and services under the State or Central governments and secure admission in educational institutions and get other facilities.
Panel suggestions for relaxation in CRZ norms
A panel had been set up to review the Coastal Zone 2011 notification under Shailesh Nayak has suggested relaxation in No Development Zones (NDZ) in CRZ-3 areas of States like Kerala based on population density.
The coastal areas with a population density of more than 2,161 people/sq km (Class-3 towns as defined in 2001 census) would be categorised as thickly-populated areas and the NDZ has been reduced to 50 metre against the original 200 metres in seaside areas.
The NDZ will be 200 metre along the other rural areas, which have a population density of less than 2,161 people/ sq km. For backwater islands, the NDZ has been brought down to 10 metres from the existing 50 metre, it recommended.
The CRZ 3 areas are those which are “relatively undisturbed and those do not belong to either CRZ-I or II.
Minority status for Jews in Maharashtra
Jews in Maharashtra have been declared a minority community. In October 2006, the State government declared Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Parsees and Jains religious minorities.
According to the application made by the Indian Jewish Federation to the government, the Jewish population in the State stood at 2,000-2,500.
the minority status will also help to identify the problems of the community, and the government can come up with schemes to resolve them.
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