1. FOR CARBON SINK TARGET, INDIA LOOKS AT CATCHMENT AREA PLAN
Having committed a target of creating an additional carbon sink the equivalent of 2.5 billion to 3 billion tonnes carbon dioxide by 2030, India now anticipates that it might not be able to meet that through forests alone.
It is now looking at the soil of catchment areas as an additional alternative; the Ministry of Environment and Forest is working on a landscape-based catchment treatment plan to bridge the gap.
A carbon sink is a system that absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Catchment areas, the alternative that is being planned, can be natural carbon sinks that, if properly managed, can sequester substantial amounts of atmospheric carbon dioxide in the form of organic carbon in the soil.
65 per cent of carbon stock is stored in soil, and 35 per cent in trees and a plan targeting catchment areas will prevent soil erosion, help recharge groundwater and help retain moisture in the soil that will deter forest fires. The plan will require massive investment.
2. BHARATNET PROJECT: CENTRE MAY ACHIEVE EARLY COMPLETION OF 2ND PHASE
Having completed the first phase of BharatNet project to provide broadband connectivity to 1 lakh gram panchayats, the Centre is expecting to preempt its original target of March 2019 for the second phase by concluding it ahead of schedule by December this year. Under the first phase, one lakh gram panchayats have been provided with high-speed broadband connectivity.
The objective of the government’s flagship project is to provide affordable broadband services in rural and remote areas, in partnership with states and the private sector.
3. STAY ORDER ON NATIONAL ANTHEM IN CINEMAS, GOVERNMENT TELLS SC
The Central government asked the Supreme Court to put on hold its December 2016 order making mandatory the playing of national anthem in cinema halls and the audience to stand up during its rendition.
Telling the top court that it has set-up an inter-ministerial committee for framing guidelines describing occasions and circumstances in which the national anthem is to be played or sung and the observance of proper decorum, it said that it would require extensive discussions on wide ranging issues.
Telling the court that the committee has been asked to submit report with its recommendations in six months, the Centre urged the top court to put on hold its direction vis-a-vis playing of national anthem in cinema halls.