Today's Headlines

Today's Headlines - 27 July 2023

Raigad landslide brings back focus on Madhav Gadgil report

GS Paper - 1 (Geography)

landslide in Maharashtra’s Raigad district claimed 27 lives, flattened an entire village, and brought back into focus the 2011 Dr Madhav Gadgil report on conservation of the Western Ghats. Deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said as per the recommendation of the report, the mapping of all the landslide-prone villages in the state, including those on the Western Ghats, was carried out during his tenure as the Chief Minister of the state between 2014 and 2019 and was submitted to the Union government.

What does the report state?

  • In 2010, then Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh appointed the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP), to be chaired by ecologist Dr Madhav Gadgil. The commission submitted its 552-page report to the Centre in August 2011.
  • The report recommended classifying 64 percent of the Western Ghats, spread over six states, into Ecologically Sensitive Zones called ESZ 1ESZ 2 and ESZ 3. It also recommended designating the entire region as an Ecologically Sensitive Area (ESA).
  • Almost all developmental activities like miningconstruction of thermal power plantsdams were to stop along with the decommissioning of similar projects that have completed their shelf life in ESZ 1.
  • It said that both the Athirappilly and Gundia hydel project sites should not be accorded environmental clearance as they fall in this zone.
  • For Goa, WGEEP recommended an indefinite moratorium on new environmental clearances for mining in ESZs 1 and 2, a phasing out of mining in Ecologically Sensitive Zone 1 by 2016, and continuation of existing mining in Ecologically Sensitive Zone 2 under strict regulation with an effective system of social audit.
  • In the Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg districts of Maharashtra, the panel advised that in ESZs 1 and 2no new polluting (red and orange category) industries, which would include coal-based power plants, should be permitted to be established, and the existing red and orange category industries should be asked to switch to zero pollution by 2016.
  • Further, it found that plains and coastal tracts in these districts were under “severe environmental and social stress”.
  • In all the zonesgenetically modified crops should not be allowed, use of plastic bags be prohibited, Special Economic Zones should not be permitted, new hill stations should not be allowed, changing the land use from farmland to non-farm land and the stoppage of diversions of rivers to protect the ecology of the region, and public lands should not be converted into private lands.
  • The report also suggested a bottom-to-top approach instead of a top-to-bottom approach in governance of the environment, indicating decentralization and more powers to local authorities.
  • It recommended theestablishment of a Western Ghats Ecology Authority under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, as a professional body to manage the ecology of the region and to ensure its sustainable development.

What was the need for this report?

  • The Gadgil commission was formed by the Ministry of Environment in 2010 to study the impact of population pressureclimate change and development activities on the Western Ghats.
  • Accorded the World Heritage status by UNESCO, the Western Ghats are a 1,600-km-long mountain chain running the western coast of the country covering six states — GujaratMaharashtraGoaTamil NaduKarnataka and Kerala.
  • These Ghats are home to high mountain forests, which moderate the tropical climate of the region and present one of the best examples of the monsoon system on the planet.
  • They are home to 325 globally threatened flora, fauna, bird, amphibian, reptile and fish species. About 60 percent of the mountain range is in Karnataka.


No-confidence motion against government

GS Paper - 2 (Polity)

The ongoing strife in Manipur in Parliament, which has brought the monsoon session to a standstill, opposition parties belonging to the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) bloc have taken a significant step. They decided to move a no-confidence motion against the government, with a particular focus on the situation in the northeastern state.

What is a no-confidence motion?

  • no-confidence motion is a parliamentary process that allows the opposition to challenge the government's majority and ability to govern. If the motion is passed, the government must resign.
  • Any member of the Lok Sabha can move a no-confidence motion. However, the motion must be supported by at least 50 members of the House.
  • A no-confidence motion must be in writing and must be signed by the member moving it.
  • The motion must be submitted to the Speaker of the Lok Sabha on any day on which the House is sitting.
  • The Speaker of the Lok Sabha will decide whether to admit the motion for discussion and debate.
  • If the motion is admitted, the Speaker will then decide on the date and time for the discussion. The Speaker may grant time for the discussion of the motion (under sub-rule (2) and (3) of rule 198 of Lok Sabha Rules.

How many no-confidence motions have been moved in the Lok Sabha?

  • Since independence, 27 no-confidence motions have been moved in the Lok Sabha.
  • The first no-confidence motion was moved against Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in 1963.
  • PM Indira Gandhi faced the most no-confidence motions (15), followed by Lal Bahadur Shastri and PV Narasimha Rao (three each).
  • The Atal Bihari Vajpayee government lost the no-confidence motion by a margin of one vote (269–270) in April 1999.
  • The most recent no-confidence motion was moved against the Narendra Modi government in 2018.

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