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Notes for UPSC

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Soil Health Card Scheme


  • The Government has introduced Soil Health Card Scheme in all States/UTs with an aim to assist all State Governments to evaluate fertility in all farm holdings across the country and issue soil health cards to farmers regularly in a cycle of 2 years.
    • Soil Health Cards provide information to farmers on nutrient status of their soil along with recommendations on appropriate dosage of nutrients to be applied for improving soil health and its fertility.
  • Launched by the central government in February 2015, the scheme is tailor-made to issue ‘Soil card’ to farmers which will carry crop-wise recommendations of nutrients and fertilizers required for the individual farms. 
  • This is aimed to help farmers to improve productivity through judicious use of inputs.
  • In order to improve quality of soil and ultimately for better nutrient values and higher yields, experts say while at present, general fertilizer recommendations are followed by farmers for primary nutrients, the secondary and micro nutrients are often overlooked. 
  • This has become a limiting factor in increasing food productivity. The Soil Health Card scheme will address these.
  • At present, general fertilizer recommendations are followed by farmers for primary nutrients (N, P & K). 
  • However, secondary and micro nutrients are often overlooked leading to deficiency of nutrients like Sulphur, Zinc and Boron. 
  • Keeping this in view, Government of India is promoting soil test based balanced and judicious use of chemical fertilizers, along with bio-fertilizers and locally available organic manures.
  • It is for the first time that Government of India has launched Soil Health Card scheme to cover 14 crore holdings once in a cycle of 3 years to promote soil management practices and restore soil health.
  • Nationally agreed norms / standards of 10 ha for rainfed areas and 2.5 ha for irrigated areas will be applied for soil sample collection. 
  • By implication, a total of 2.53 crore samples will be collected and tested to generate 14 crore soil health cards to individual farmers, once in 3 years.  
    • The target for the year 2015-16 is 84 lakh of samples, against which 34 lakh samples have already been collected.

Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY)


v  Groups of farmers would be motivated to take up organic farming under Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY). 
  • Fifty or more farmers will form a cluster having 50 acre land to take up the organic farming under the scheme. 
v  In this way during three years 10,000 clusters will be formed covering 5.0 lakh acre area under organic farming. There will be no liability on the farmers for expenditure on certification.

v  Every farmer will be provided Rs. 20,000 per acre in three years for seed to harvesting of crops and to transport produce to the market.

v  Organic farming will be promoted by using traditional resources and the organic products will be linked with the market.

v  It will increase domestic production and certification of organic produce by involving farmers
v  In order to implement the Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana in Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana in the year 2015-16, an amount of Rs.300 crore has been allocated.


Clean Ganga Fund (CGF)

The Union Cabinet  gave its approval for establishment of the Clean Ganga Fund (CGF). 

The following broad activities will be financed from the Fund: 

a) Activities outlined under the ‘Namami Gange’ programme for cleaning of river Ganga. 

b) Control of non-point pollution from agricultural runoff, human defecation, cattle wallowing, etc. 

c) Setting up of waste treatment and disposal plants along the river around the cities. 

d) Conservation of the biotic diversity of the river. 

e) Community based activities to reduce polluting human interface with the river. 

f) Development of public amenities including activities such as Ghat redevelopment. 

g) Research and Development and innovative projects. 

h) Research and Development projects and innovative projects for new technology and processes for cleaning the river. 

i) Independent oversight through intensive monitoring and real time reporting. 

j) Any other activity as approved by the Trust. 

Considering that the measures taken till now are inadequate and a national effort is required to mobilize resources for improving the condition of the river Ganga, the Government announced the setting up of an Integrated Ganga Conservation Mission called "Namami Gange" and an initial sum of Rs. 2,037 crore has been allocated in the Union Budget 2014-15. 


The Cabinet has now agreed to set up "Clean Ganga Fund (CGF)" with voluntary contributions from residents of the country and Non-Resident Indian (NRIs) / Person of Indian Origin (PIO) and others to harness their enthusiasm to contribute towards the conservation of the river Ganga. 

The Fund will have the objective of contributing to the national effort of cleaning of the river Ganga. 

Domestic donors to the Fund shall be eligible for tax benefits as applicable in the case of the Swachh Bharat Kosh. 

  • The Fund would be managed by a Trust to be headed by Finance Minister. 
  • The secretariat of the Trust will be set up in Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation under the Mission Director, Clean Ganga. 

Background: 


  • The Ganga Action Plan was launched on 14th January 1986 with the main objective of pollution abatement, to improve water quality by interception, diversion and treatment of domestic sewage and toxic and industrial chemical wastes present, from identified grossly polluting units entering in to the river. 
  • After reviewing the effectiveness of the "Ganga Action Plan", the Government announced the "Mission Clean Ganga" project on 31st December, 2009 with the objective that by 2020, no municipal sewage and industrial waste would be released in the river without treatment, with the total budget of around Rs.15,000 crore. 
  • The Government also established the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA), chaired by the Prime Minister, with the objective to ensure effective abatement of pollution and conservation of the river Ganga, by adopting a river basin approach for comprehensive planning and management. 

  • The proposal to set up CGF is to attract private contributions globally for increasing people's participation in this massive task. As this would also cover NRIs, CGF would also fulfil the Budget announcement in the Regular Budget 2014-15. Considering that the measures taken till now are not adequate and a national effort is required to mobilize resources for improving the condition of the river Ganga, the Government has announced the setting up of an Integrated Ganga Conservation Mission called "Namami Gange". 
  • Considering that there is a need to increase people's participation from across the country and abroad, it is proposed to set up a "Clean Ganga Fund (CGF)" with voluntary contributions. 


The main features of CGF are: 

i. CGF will have the objective of contributing to the national effort of improving the cleanliness of the river Ganga with the contributions received from the residents of the country, NRIs/ PIO and others. 

ii. CGF will be operated through a bank account by a Trust. 

iii. Domestic donors to the fund shall be eligible for tax benefits as in the case of "Swachch Bharat Kosh". Foreign donors could get suitable tax exemptions in domestic law, wherever permissible. iv. CGF will explore the possibility of setting up daughter funds in other jurisdictions/countries of high donor interest such as USA, UK, Singapore, UAE, etc. to enable tax benefits to donors in their respective jurisdictions. 

v. CGF will be catalytic in nature and will identify and fund specific projects which could be pilot projects, R&D projects, innovative projects or other focused projects. The Fund will define specific and measurable objectives to form the basis for planning, funding, and evaluation. 

vi. Broad activities proposed to be financed from CGF include, inter alia, Activities outlined under the 'Namami Gange' programme for cleaning of river Ganga; control of non-point pollution from agricultural runoff, human defecation, cattle wallowing etc.; setting up of waste treatment and disposal plants along the river around the cities; conservation of the biotic diversity of the river; community based activities to reduce polluting human interface with the river; Development of public amenities including activities such as Ghat redevelopment; R&D and innovative projects; Research and Development projects and innovative projects for new technology and processes for cleaning Ganga; independent oversight through intensive monitoring and real time reporting; any other activity as approved by Governing Council. This is an indicative list and can be expanded within the overall objective by the Governing Council. The Fund shall not be utilised for activities such as dredging. 

vii. CGF will be subject to such audit as required by law as well as audit by any agency determined by Government. CGF would be administered by a Trust to be chaired by Finance Minister and upto 8 members from different fields including NRIs, nominated by the Government. Secretary (Economic Affairs), Secretary (Overseas Indian Affairs), Secretary (Environment, Forest and Climate Changes) and Secretary (Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation) will be members. The CEO of the Fund will be the Member Secretary of the Trust. Two Secretaries from the concerned state governments shall be additional members on a rotation basis. Government may also nominate experts and / or persons of eminence in public life as expert invitees. The Secretariat of the Governing Council shall be set up in Ministry of Water Resources. The Mission Director shall be the CEO of the Fund unless a separate CEO is appointed. 

  • The Governing Council will prepare the norms, procedures, cost norms and operational guidelines for obtaining financing from the Fund, which will be notified by the National Mission for Clean Ganga. 

“Namami Gange”

An Integrated Ganga Conservation Mission called “Namami Gange” has been proposed to be set up in the Union Budget 2014-15 and a sum of Rs. 2,037 crores has been set aside for this purpose. 
  • In addition a sum of Rs. 100 crores has been allocated for developments of Ghats and beautification of River Fronts at Kedarnath, Haridwar, Kanpur, Varanasi, Allahabad, Patna and Delhi in the current financial year.

Namami Gange approaches Ganga Rejuvenation by consolidating the existing ongoing efforts and planning for a concrete action plan for future. 
The interventions at Ghats and River fronts will facilitate better citizen connect and set the tone for river centric urban planning process.
  • Recognizing the multi-sectoral, multi-dimensional and multi-stakeholder nature of the Ganga Rejuvenation challenge, the key Ministries comprising of 
    • (a) WR, RD&GR, 
    • (b) Environment, Forests & Climate Change, 
    • (c) Shipping, 
    • (d) Tourism, 
    • (e) Urban Development, 
    • (f) Drinking Water and Sanitation and Rural Development have been working together since June, 2014 to arrive at an action plan. 
  • The concerned Ministers have nominated a Group of Secretaries to develop a draft action plan and have held periodical meetings to review the progress and provide guidance. The Group of Secretaries submitted its initial report on 21st July, 2014 and after taking into account the feedback received from the Hon’ble Ministers, the final report has been submitted on 28th August, 2014.

While the report is being examined in the Ministry, NMCG has been working in parallel on a draft strategy taking into account all these developments.
As already identified in the report of the GoS, the long-term vision will emanate from the Ganga River Basin Management Plan being prepared by the Consortium of 7 IITs, first version of which is likely to be available by the end of this year.
On a medium term basis, certain interventions both infrastructure and non-infrastructure need to be introduced to set the tone for implementation of long term vision as also take up so called “no regret” activities in the interim. 
Following are proposed to be taken up under Namami Gange:
(i) Nirmal Dhara- ensuring sustainable municipal sewage management
  • Project prioritization in coordination with Ministry of Urban Development.
  • Incentive for states to take up projects on Ganga Main-stem by providing an additional share of central grants for sewerage infrastructure.
  • Uniform standards for both MoUD scheme and Namami Gange programme, 10 years mandatory O&M by the same service provider at par with NGRBA programme and PPP, Mandatory reuse of treated water
  • Expanding coverage of sewerage infrastructure in 118 urban habitations on banks of Ganga- estimated cost by MoUD is Rs 51000 Crores
(ii) Nirmal Dhara- managing sewage from Rural Areas
  • Mo DWS scheme for all Ganga bank Gram Panchayts (1632) free from open defecation by 2022, at a cost of Rs 1700 Crores as central share
(iii) Nirmal Dhara- managing Industrial discharge
  • Making ZLD mandatory
  • Rationalized water tariff to encourage reuse
  • Real time water quality monitoring
(iv) Aviral Dhara
  • Enforcing River Regulatory Zones on Ganga Banks
  • Rational agricultural practices, efficient irrigation methods
  • Restoration and conservation of wetlands
(v) Ensuring ecological rejuvenation by conservation of aquatic life and biodiversity
(vi) Promotion of Tourism and Shipping in a rational and sustainable manner
(vii) Knowledge Management on Ganga through Ganga Knowledge Centre leading to a Ganga University of River Sciences
However, to control the spread of pollution and to contain it in manageable limits certain interventions would be necessary in short term. 

Group of Secretaries under guidance of Hon’ble Ministers has identified following activities:
i) Scheme for rehabilitation and up-gradation of existing STPs along Ganga
ii) Ensuring 100% sewerage infrastructure in identified town alongside Ganga
iii) In situ sewage treatment in open drains
iv) Support for preparation of DPRs
v) River Front Management for Ghat’s developments in selected cities and towns
vi) Industrial pollution abatement at Kanpur on priority
vii) Action Plan for Char Dham Yatra –Public amenities, waste disposal and sanitation
viii) Capacity building of urban local bodies
ix) Afforestation – Conservation of Flora
x) Conservation of Aquatic life – special attention on Dolphin, Turtles and Ghariyals etc.
xi) Disposal of flowers and other puja material
xii) Ganga Vahini
xiii) GIS data and Spatial Analysis for Ganga basin
xiv) Study of communities depending on Ganga for their traditional livelihood
xv) National Ganga Monitoring Centre
xvi) Special guidelines for sand mining in Ganga
xvii) Assessment of Special Properties of Ganga Water
xviii) Communication and Public Outreach Activities

NRI Ganga Fund:-
  • NRIs have been a very important contributor to the development process in India, in areas such as education, health and preservation of culture. In this context, to harness their enthusiasm to contribute towards the conservation of the river Ganga, NRI Fund for Ganga will be set up which will finance special projects. 
  • NRI Ganga Fund could be setup under the aegis of Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs or Ministry of Finance with focus on funds sourcing and corpus management.
  • Fund deployment/ appropriation could be made by NMCG under an approved Management Plan.

National Mission for Clean Ganga(NMCG)

National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) is a society registered in 2011 under the Societies Registration Act 1860.
  • It acted as implementation arm of National Ganga River Basin Authority(NGRBA) which was constituted under the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act (EPA),1986. 
  • NGRBA has since been dissolved with effect from the 7th October 2016, consequent to constitution of National Council for Rejuvenation, Protection and Management of River Ganga (referred as National Ganga Council) under the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act (EPA),1986.


The Act envisages five tier structure at national, state and district level to take measures for prevention, control and abatement of environmental pollution in river Ganga and to ensure continuous adequate flow of water so as to rejuvenate the river Ganga as below:-

1. National Ganga Council under chairmanship of Hon’ble Prime Minister of India. 
2. Empowered Task Force (ETF) on river Ganga under chairmanship of Hon’ble Union Minister of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation. 
3. National Mission for Clean Ganga(NMCG)
4. State Ganga Committees and 
5. District Ganga Committees in every specified district abutting river Ganga and its tributaries in the states. 
  • NMCG has a two tier management structure and comprises of Governing Council and Executive Committee. 
    • Both of them are headed by Director General, NMCG. 
  • Executive Committee has been authorized to accord approval for all projects up to Rs.1000 crore. 
  • Similar to structure at national level, State Programme Management Groups (SPMGs) acts as implementing arm of State Ganga Committees. 
  • Thus the newly created structure attempts to bring all stakeholders on one platform to take a holistic approach towards the task of Ganga cleaning and rejuvenation. 
  • The Director General(DG) of NMCG is a Additional Secretary in Government of India. For effective implementation of the projects under the overall supervision of NMCG, the State Level Program Management Groups (SPMGs) are, also headed by senior officers of the concerned States.