Down To Earth (March 01-15 2024)

Self Help Groups (SHGS) In India


  • There were media highlights of exemplary initiatives to illustrate the formidable influence of self-help groups, on the occasion of the International Women's Day 2024.

About the Self Help Groups (SHGs)

  • These have emerged as a significant channel for empowering women and alleviating poverty in India. These groups, typically comprising 10-20 members from similar socio-economic backgrounds, pool their resources to enable financial stability and self-employment.

Genesis in India

  • The concept of SHGs started in the 1970s in a few rural pockets, the most notable among them being the formation of the Self-Employed Women's Association (SEWA) in Gujarat.
  • In 1992, these groups were linked to banks for the disbursal of small loans — named SHG Bank Linkage Project (SHG-BLP)—for setting up livelihood opportunities, like livestock rearing or a tailoring unit.

The Role of SHGs

  • SHGs play a crucial role in promoting self-employment and mitigating poverty.
  • They help their members start businesses, improve their standard of living, and come out of poverty.
  • SHGs foster economic independence, social stature, and community resilience.

Challenges and Issues Related to SHGs

  • Lack of Education Among Members: Many SHG members lack formal education, which can limit their understanding of business principles and their ability to manage the group effectively.
  • Inefficient Management: Poor management practices can lead to conflict among members and hinder the group's ability to achieve its objectives.
  • Limited Access to Markets: Only 20% of SHGs are linked to markets for their products.
    • This limited market access can restrict the growth and sustainability of these groups.
  • Digital Divide: The digital divide is another significant challenge. Many SHG members lack access to digital technology, which can limit their ability to access information and opportunities.
  • Financial Bottlenecks: SHGs often face financial challenges, such as difficulty in obtaining loans and managing funds.
  • Entrepreneurial Obstacles: SHG members often lack the skills and resources needed to start and grow a business.
  • Socio-Structural Challenges: SHGs often operate within societies that have deeply ingrained gender and social inequalities.
    • These inequalities can limit the opportunities available to SHG members and hinder their ability to achieve their goals.
  • Group Dynamics: Conflict among members and non-cooperation can lead to dormancy or discontinuation of the group.

Related Initiatives

  • The National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM), aimed at raising the annual income of each woman in SHGs to Rs 1 lakh by 2024, is aggressively promoting entrepreneurship and economies of scale among them.
  • The government has also set up a special fund — Community Investment Fund — that provides SHGs with up to Rs 50,000 a year to decide and design local livelihood programmes.
    • It has transformed SHGs from an informal alliance to a formal village group for undertaking development works.
  • Kudumbashree in Kerala: Kudumbashree is one of the largest women-empowering projects in the country. It aims to eradicate poverty through community action under the leadership of Local Self Governments.
  • Jeevika in Bihar: Jeevika is a World Bank-aided project implemented by the Bihar Rural Livelihoods Promotion Society.
    • It aims to improve rural livelihood options and work towards social and economic empowerment of rural poor.
  • Mahila Arthik Vikas Mahamandal in Maharashtra: MAVIM is the State Women's Development Corporation of Maharashtra, working towards women's empowerment through capacity building and providing access to resources.
  • Looms of Ladakh: Looms of Ladakh is a women cooperative society that aims to empower local women by promoting traditional crafts and securing better market opportunities.
    • Changpa women engender an economic turnaround by taking over the trade chain of the world's most expensive fibre.
  • Telangana Mahila Shakti: This initiative aims to transform the lives of 63.86 lakh members of SHGs in Telangana from mere participants to prosperous entrepreneurs.
  • Lakhpati Didi: This is an initiative under the National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM), aimed at raising the annual income of each woman in SHGs to Rs 1 lakh by 2024.
  • SHG Bank Linkage Project (SHG-BLP): Launched in 1992, this project has become the world's largest microfinance project.
    • It links SHGs to banks for the disbursal of small loans for setting up livelihood opportunities.

The Impact of SHGs

  • India has around 1.2 crore SHGs, 88% of them all-women.
  • These groups have had a positive effect on women economically, socially, and politically, empowering them through various pathways such as familiarity with handling money, financial decision-making, improved social networks, asset ownership, and livelihood diversification.
  • SHGs have also played a key role during the COVID-19 pandemic, leading from the front in producing masks, sanitisers, and protective gear.
  • They created awareness about the pandemic, delivered essential goods, ran community kitchens, and supported farm livelihoods.
  • Women self-help groups in Odisha have become implementing partners for crucial government services.
    • Over 18,000 of the state's women have transformed the idea of cleanliness into a sustainable business model.


  • In India, women self-help groups have been a source of empowerment, fostering economic independence, social stature and community resilience. By pooling resources, providing microfinance opportunities and promoting entrepreneurship, these groups have significantly contributed to the reduction of poverty and demonstrated a successful model of grassroots development.
  • SHGs have proven to be a powerful tool for socio-economic empowerment, particularly for women in rural areas. They have not only helped in improving the economic conditions of their members but have also played a significant role in promoting social change.
    • However, there is a need for more robust support systems and policies to further strengthen the SHG movement and maximise its impact.

Teak Plantation in India


  • Recently, it was found that the farmers need to be sensitised about the right planting materials and cultivation techniques to benefit from high-value teak plantations.

About the Teak Plantation in India

  • Teak (Tectona grandis), one of the premier hardwood timber species in the world, is a symbol of prosperity.
  • It is naturally distributed over nine million hectares in the country, and 2-3 million hectares have been planted.
  • The world's first-ever plantation of teak was set up in Nilambur, Kerala, India by Conolly and Chotu Menon in 1842.
    • Later, the cash crop was widely planted by the forest department to improve degraded forests.
  • However, in India, teak planting, characterised by its high costs and relatively meagre returns, has contributed to a sense of reluctance among farmers to engage in tree plantation initiatives.

The Impact on Farmers

  • Farmers in the rural regions of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Madhya Pradesh were significantly impacted by numerous advertisements featuring loud claims.
  • For example, some companies sold teak seedlings at Rs 400 - 2,500 per plant and promised returns of Rs 50,000-100,000 per tree after a span of 20 years.
  • Even today, in the name of tissue culture, seed-originated teak plants are sold at Rs 100-250 and claimed to provide a yield of 1 cubic metre of wood per tree in 8-12 years, at a density of 2,500-4,000 trees per hectare.

Challenges associated with Teak in India

  • Misleading Claims and Lack of Knowledge: Farmers are often lured by unrealistic promises of high returns from teak plantations, but lack the knowledge and guidance on proper cultivation practices.
  • Improper Spacing and Thinning: Teak trees need proper spacing and thinning to grow well.
    • However, many farmers plant them too close together and neglect thinning, resulting in stunted growth and lower-quality wood.
  • Underdeveloped Teak Plantations: Many years after planting, farmers feel cheated due to the underdeveloped and poor growth of teak plantations.
    • It is not only due to planting stock, but the absence of a proper package of practices for raising and managing teak plantations.
  • Marketing Challenges: Despite being the largest teak-growing country, India imports 60 per cent of teak logs to fulfil the local demand.
    • The market rate of one cubic feet of teak timber is Rs 700-4,000 based on grades and quality.
  • Loss of Genetic Diversity: The teak genetic resources in India are under threat as most of the plantations are established from seed production areas (SPAs) and clonal seed orchards (CSOs), which have a narrow genetic base.

The Role of State Governments

  • Some state governments also rolled out tree plantation subsidies, leading to many farmers planting teak in high density.
  • But many years later, farmers feel cheated due to underdeveloped and poor growth of teak plantations.
  • This is not only due to planting stock, but the absence of a proper package of practices for raising and managing teak plantations.

Shift in Strategy for Private Plantation

  • The Forest Conservation Act, 1980 and National Forest Policy, 1988 imposed a ban on green felling of timber from government-owned forests.
  • The policy recommended meeting timber demand from private lands. This paradigm shift for private plantation of timber species in India pushed prices for teak logs above 500 per cent over normal.

Teak Planting Schemes

  • Many nursery owners and private plantation agencies came up with teak planting schemes to earn higher profits.
  • They promote tissue culture teak plants, saying it increases gain three to five times over traditional planting (seed and stump planting) in the shortest time (8-12 years from planting).

State Government Subsidies

  • Some state governments rolled out tree plantation subsidies, leading to many farmers planting teak in high density.

South Eastern Coalfields' Tree Plantation Drive

  • South Eastern Coalfields Limited (SECL), the Chhattisgarh-based subsidiary of mining major Coal India Limited, has decided to invest a whopping Rs. 169 crores for tree plantation in Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.

The Role of Private Nurseries and Companies

  • To encash this opportunity, many nursery owners and private plantation agencies came up with teak planting schemes to earn higher profits.
  • Records indicate that thousands of companies operated in the market to promote such schemes in India.
  • Private nurseries and companies promote tissue culture teak plants, saying it increases gain three to five times over traditional planting (seed and stump planting) in the shortest time (8-12 years from planting)
  • Such promises attracted thousands of farmers to adopt teak plantations.

Few Farms, Fewer Farmers


  • Recently, a study in Nature Sustainability found that by 2100, the number of farms in the world would halve while the size of farms would double.


  • Some 12,000 years ago, when settled agriculture began, it was a need-based activity. Today, it is a multi-trillion dollar enterprise with 600 million farms feeding the world's 8 billion people.
    • The agricultural world is undergoing a historic change: the number of farms is decreasing sharply while the size of farms is increasing.
  • It has been ongoing since the 1980s, and is expected to peak in the next 30 years.
  • The implications of this shift are profound and far-reaching, affecting not only the agricultural sector but also the global food system and the livelihoods of millions of people.

The Decline in the Number of Farms

  • A recent study published in the journal Nature Sustainability analysed the number and size of farms in 180 countries from 1969-2013.
    • It forecast that the number of farms in the world will dip by half in 2100.
  • This trend is driven by economic growth, which leads to urban migration and leaves fewer people in rural areas to tend the land.
  • In the United States and Western Europe, this trend has been well established for decades.
    • The most recent data from the Department of Agriculture of the US indicates there were 200,000 fewer farms in 2022 than in 2007.

The Increase in Farm Size

  • As the number of farms decreases, the size of the remaining farms is expected to double by the end of the 21st century.
  • Larger farms typically have less biodiversity and more monocultures.
  • Smaller farms, on the other hand, typically have more biodiversity and crop diversity, which makes them more resilient to pest outbreaks and climate shocks.

The Impact on Food Supply

  • The decline in the number of farms and the increase in farm size pose significant risks to the world's food systems.
  • The world's smallest farms make up just 25% of the world's agricultural land but harvest one-third of the world's food.
  • As these small farms disappear, the world's food supply could be at risk.

The Situation in India

  • In India, the number of operational farm holdings has been increasing continuously since 1970-1971.
  • India had 71 million landholdings in 1971, and according to the latest Agriculture Census 2015-2016, these have fragmented into 146.5 million holdings.
  • However, if the global trend is translated into the Indian scenario, this could move in the opposite direction.


  • The global shift towards fewer but larger farms represents a significant change in the agricultural landscape. This change could have far-reaching implications for biodiversity, food security, and the livelihoods of farmers.
  • As we navigate this shift, it is crucial to develop policies and strategies that ensure the sustainability of our agricultural systems and the livelihoods of those who depend on them.

Agriculture and Climate Risk


  • Recently, there were media highlights that the farmers are enjoined across continents with a serious problem of increased cost of agricultural production in an age of climate risk and losses.


  • The agricultural sector, the backbone of the global economy, is facing unprecedented challenges due to climate change.
  • Rising temperatures, erratic rainfall, and extreme weather events are leading to increased costs of agricultural production and significant losses.

The Impact of Climate Change

  • Climate change has led to poorer harvests and higher production costs, affecting the price, quantity, and quality of farmed products.
  • Changes in temperature and precipitation patterns may increase the volatility of farmers' yields, leading to rising but insurable risk.
  • These changes may also reduce the expected yield in an 'average year', causing uninsurable reductions in the returns to farming.

The Economic Consequences

  • The economic impacts of climate change on agriculture are profound.
  • Global agricultural productivity is 20% lower today than what it could have been without anthropogenic climate change.
  • The world is already losing up to 4% of potential crop and livestock production due to disasters, which translates to a loss of 6.9 trillion kilocalories per year, or the annual calorie intake of 7 million adults.

The Situation in Europe

  • In Europe, climate impacts have led to poorer harvests and higher production costs.
  • While climate change is projected to improve conditions for growing crops in parts of northern Europe, the opposite is true for crop productivity in southern Europe.
  • Drought severity in southern Europe could triple by the end of the century.
  • Losses specific to the agriculture sector account for more than 60% of drought-linked losses, or around EUR 5 billion annually.
    • This is projected to increase in the future.

The Situation in India

  • In India, extreme heat has led to a decline in crop yields.
  • Combined with the banning of wheat exports and restrictions on rice exports, this poses a threat to international food markets and countries already affected by shortages of staple foods.
  • Monsoon rains have led to unprecedented flooding, with an increase in water-borne diseases which spread across the most vulnerable and food-insecure regions.


  • The increased cost of agricultural production in an age of climate risk and losses is a pressing issue that requires urgent attention.
  • Policymakers, researchers, and farmers must work together to develop and implement strategies that can mitigate these risks and ensure the sustainability of the agricultural sector in the face of climate change.

Nitrogen Pollution and Water Scarcity


  • Recently, It was found that the Nitrogen pollution could triple water scarcity in river sub-basins worldwide by 2050.



  • Water security is a pressing issue in today's world. While climate changes influence water availability, urbanisation and agricultural activities have led to increasing water demand as well as pollution, limiting safe water use.
  • The study conducted a global assessment of future clean-water scarcity for the 2050s by adding the water pollution aspect to the classical water quantity-induced scarcity assessments.
    • It was done for more than 10,000 sub-basins focusing on nitrogen pollution in rivers by integrating land-system, hydrological, and water quality models.
  • The researchers found that water pollution aggravates water scarcity in more than 2000 sub-basins worldwide.
  • In 2010, 984 sub-basins were classified as water scarce when considering only quantity-induced scarcity, while 2517 sub-basins were affected by quantity and quality-induced scarcity.
    • It even increases to 3061 sub-basins in the worst-case scenario in 2050.
    • When nitrogen concentrations in rivers are high, harmful algal blooms can develop, which produce toxins contaminating the water.
  • In India and Africa, which could become hotspots of scarcity, sewage emerges as the biggest contributor of nitrogen pollution in water in the worst climate scenario.
changes in water scarcity between 2010 and 2050

Global Efforts Related To Nitrogen Pollution

  • United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP): UNEP has undertaken a project funded by the Global Environment Facility and implemented by the International Nitrogen Initiative (INI) to establish an international nitrogen management system.
    • This system will provide scientific support for international policy development. UNEP is working with scientists and other stakeholders to lower the impact of nitrogen on the planet.
  • South Asian Nitrogen Hub (SANH): SANH is a group of 50 institutions, including 18 research institutions in India, that have secured £20 million (about ₹200 crore) from the U.K. government to assess and study the quantum and impact of nitrogen pollution in South Asia.
  • UN Nitrogen Resolution and Columbo Declaration: India championed the UN nitrogen resolution and Sri Lanka championed the Columbo declaration, which called for a global ambition to halve the nitrogen waste.
  • Research on Nitrogen Management Practices: A study published in Nature identified a collection of agricultural practices that can improve the use of nitrogen fertilisers, boosting crop yields while reducing environmental pollution.

Implications and Future Directions

  • The results of the study stress the urgent need to address water quality in future water management policies for the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • The triple increase in global river basins with water scarcity due to future pollution underscores the severity of the clean water crisis and the importance of mitigating future pollution.
  • As the world grapples with the challenges of climate change, urbanisation, and increased agricultural activities, it is crucial to prioritise sustainable water management practices.
    • It includes not only addressing water quantity but also water quality, particularly in terms of controlling and reducing pollution.

State of the World's Migratory Species


  • The Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), a UN biodiversity treaty, recently launched the first-ever report on the 'State of the World's Migratory Species' at the opening of UN wildlife conservation conference (CMS COP14).


  • The report provides a global overview of the conservation status and population trends of migratory animals, combined with the latest information on their main threats and successful actions to save them.

Key Findings

  • Nearly half (44%) of the migratory species listed under CMS are showing population declines.
  • More than one-in-five (22%) of CMS-listed species are threatened with extinction.
  • Nearly all (97%) of CMS-listed fish are threatened with extinction.
  • The extinction risk is growing for migratory species globally, including those not listed under CMS.
  • Half (51%) of Key Biodiversity Areas identified as important for CMS-listed migratory animals do not have protected status.
  • 58% of the monitored sites recognized as being important for CMS-listed species are experiencing unsustainable levels of human-caused pressure.

For Migratory Aquatic Species

  • New mandate issued for addressing impacts of deep-seabed mineral exploitation on migratory species, prey and ecosystems.
  • Mandate strengthened on tackling bycatch and aquatic wild meat.
  • New action plans issued for Atlantic humpback dolphin, Hawksbill turtle and angelshark

For Migratory Birds

  • Agreement on an Initiative for the Central Asian Flyway after nearly two decades of inconclusive negotiations, with the setup of a coordinating unit in India.
  • New approach for global flyways coordination for CMS and non-CMS parties and partners
  • Expansion and reinforcement of the prevention of illegal killing, taking and trade of migratory birds, with launch of a new Task Force in Southwest Asia

For Migratory Terrestrial Species

  • Numerous species-specific and range state-wide initiatives, such as a new transboundary jaguar initiative launched
  • Establishment of a new initiative in northern Africa on the Sahelo-Saharan megafauna, with ambitious action plans for critically endangered species
  • New programme announced to introduce the cheetah in Uzbekistan

Major Threats

  • The two greatest threats to both CMS-listed and all migratory species are overexploitation and habitat loss due to human activity.
  • Three out of four CMS-listed species are impacted by habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation, and seven out of ten CMS-listed species are impacted by overexploitation.
  • Climate change, pollution and invasive species are also having profound impacts on migratory species.


  • Global Partnership on Ecological Connectivity (GPEC): To address the destruction, degradation and fragmentation of habitats, CMS announced it to 'protect and connect natural areas' of migratory species.
    • It aims to ensure that ecological connectivity is maintained, enhanced and restored in places of importance.
  • One Health Central Asia Project: To address concerns on the rise of zoonotic diseases, CMS under the leadership of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) launched this project.
    • Under this project, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan would implement actions to curb the emergence of zoonotic diseases.
  • Samarkand Strategic Plan for Migratory Species (2024-2032): The new Strategic Plan for Migratory Species adopted at 14th Conference of CMS that includes 6 goals covering the conservation of migratory species, the protection and restoration of their habitats and distribution areas, and the elimination or reduction of threats.


Changthang Region of Ladakh


  • Recently, it was found that the Changpa Women engender an economic turnaround by taking over the trade chain of the world's most expensive fibre.
changthang region of ladakh

About the Changthang Region of Ladakh

  • It is a part of the high-altitude Tibetan Plateau, extends from western and northern Tibet into southeastern Ladakh, India.
  • This vast highland, home to giant lakes and unique wildlife, is nestled at an altitude of 14,846 ft above sea level.

The Changpa Nomads

  • The heart of the Changthang region is inhabited by the Changpa people, pastoralist nomads who navigate their existence around their prized assets: goats, yaks, and sheep.
  • The harsh climate — over six months of extreme cold and a short-lived summer — dictates their economy.
  • Men tend to the rearing and shearing of livestock during the brief summer, while women spend the long winter months weaving and knitting wool into various garments and goods.

The Pashmina Trade

  • Changthang is a hub of a lucrative fibre trade, with the indigenous Changra goat used for producing one of the world's most sought-after natural wool — GI Ladakh pashmina or cashmere.
  • The famed pashmina shawl fetches up to Rs 50,000 apiece in upmarket showrooms in Delhi or Mumbai.
  • However, the local rearers earn meagre wages as they only collect and send the raw wool to processors in Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, and Himachal Pradesh.

Empowering Women through Skill Development

  • In 2016, a skill development project for women was initiated, transforming the way the Changpa women engaged with the pashmina trade.
  • The project, named 'Looms of Ladakh', is a federation of rural women from eight villages who aspired to do more with their new-found training.
  • The collective enterprise adopts the 'farm to fashion' model: primary producers are directly involved in procurement of raw wool, processing, and selling.

Changthang Wildlife Sanctuary

  • It is located in the Ladakhi Changthang plateau in the Leh district of Ladakh.
  • It is home to the highest altitude water lakes, namely, Tso Moriri, Pangong Tso, and Tso Kar.
  • The sanctuary is a testament to the region's rich biodiversity and is an important biological reserve pool for many species of migratory birds.

Siali Creepers (Bauhinia Vahlii)


  • Tribal families in Odisha make delicate handicrafts from heavy-duty Siali Creepers (Bauhinia Vahlii).

About the Siali Creepers

  • These are a type of vine that grows abundantly around Sal trees in the forests of Odisha, India.
  • These creepers have become a crucial source of livelihood for the tribal communities in the region.
  • The tribal populations, particularly the Mankadia tribe, turn Siali creepers into craft items that are sold in cities.
    • Around 2,000 landless, poor families in the forests of Odisha earn a livelihood by making craft items with Siali leaves.
  • The forest-dwellers gather the leaves and stems of the creeper. They cut each branch in a way to ensure it can regrow.
    • The leaves are made into plates and the fibres from the stem are used for other products.

The Role of Government Initiatives

  • With help from government drives such as Odisha PVTG empowerment and livelihood improvement programme, the tribal population received training to diversify their art to make craft items such as baskets, table mats, flower pots, wall-hangings, bowls and others.
  • Now, the Odisha Rural Development and Marketing Society, a government-run organisation, directly purchases their craft items at good prices.

The Significance of Siali Creepers

  • Items made from Saili lata have gained popularity among urban residents as they are eco-friendly, biodegradable and reduce the use of plastic.
  • The craft has been passed on through generations of the tribal people, who were hunter-gatherers and semi-nomadic in the past.

Wheat Stock Holding Norms


  • Recently, the Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution tightened some wheat stock holding norms to check hoarding and rise in prices.

About the Revised Norms

  • In an effort to curb hoarding and check the rise in prices of wheat, the central government of India has further tightened the stock holding norms for wholesalers, retailers, big chain retailers, and processors.
  • Traders and wholesalers must now maintain wheat stock up to 500 tonnes instead of 1,000 tonnes, while big-chain retailers can hold 5 tonnes in each outlet and a total of 500 tonnes.
  • Processors must maintain 60% of their monthly installed capacity multiplied by the remaining months till April 2024, instead of the earlier 70%.

The Rationale

  • This measure has been taken to prevent artificial scarcity and curb hoarding.
  • The revised stock limits will be applicable with immediate effect.
  • The traders will get 30 days time to reduce the stock to the revised limits.

Registration and Compliance

  • All wheat stocking entities are required to register on the wheat stock limit portal.
  • They are also required to update the stock position every Friday.
  • Any entity which is found to have not registered on the portal or violates the stock limits will be subject to suitable punitive action under Section 6 and 7 of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955.

The Draft End-of-Life Vehicles (Management) Rules, 2024


  • Recently, the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) issued the Draft End-of-Life Vehicles (Management) Rules, 2024.

About the Draft Rules

  • These are aimed to establish regulations for Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) concerning End-of-Life Vehicles (ELVs), by covering a comprehensive framework, defining responsibilities for producers, registered owners, bulk consumers, collection centres, automated testing stations, and registered vehicle scrapping facilities.
  • These rules aim to manage ELVs in an environmentally sound manner, involving producers, consumers, and various entities within the automotive industry.

Key Aspects of the Rules

  • The obligation of producers to fulfil EPR for introduced vehicles, recycling targets, and the establishment of registered vehicle scrapping facilities with environmentally sound management practices.
  • Producers are required to register with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), meet recycling targets, and purchase Extended Producer Responsibility certificates.
  • Registered owners and bulk consumers must ensure proper management and timely deposition of ELVs, emphasising adherence to environmental norms.
  • The rules also specify the responsibilities of automated testing stations, collection centres, and registered vehicle scrapping facilities, ensuring the de-pollution, dismantling, and recycling/refurbishing of ELVs.

The Role of EPR Certificates

  • The generation and purchase of Extended Producer Responsibility certificates play a pivotal role in meeting obligations and promoting environmentally sound practices.
  • These certificates are a testament to the commitment of producers towards sustainable practices and responsible management of ELVs.

Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Amendment Act, 2024


  • Recently, the Rajya Sabha passed the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Amendment Act, 2024.

About the Act

  • It seeks to address certain shortcomings of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, and adapt regulatory frameworks to contemporary needs.

Amended Provisions

  • Decriminalisation of Minor Offences: It is aimed at promoting compliance without overly burdening stakeholders and ensuring penalties align with the severity of offences.
  • Exemption for Certain Industrial Plants: It empowers the central government to exempt specific categories of industrial plants from certain statutory restrictions.
    • It intends to streamline regulatory processes, reduce duplication of surveillance efforts, and alleviate unnecessary burdens on regulatory agencies.
  • Enhanced Regulatory Oversight: It introduces measures to enhance regulatory oversight and standardisation across states, by granting the central government authority to prescribe guidelines for the nomination of chairpersons of State Pollution Control Boards and issue directives regarding the grant, refusal, or cancellation of industry-related consents.
    • It provides certain mandatory qualifications, experience, and procedures to ensure fair appointment of chairpersons.

Tripling Renewables by 2030


  • Recently, Climate Analytics released the report 'Tripling renewables by 2030: Interpreting the global goal at the regional level' at COP28.


  • The world is at a critical juncture in the fight against climate change. A recent report by Climate Analytics, a global climate science and policy institute, has highlighted the urgent need to triple global renewable capacity by 2030.
  • This ambitious goal, agreed upon at COP28, is possibly the most powerful action the world can take in the transition away from fossil fuels in this critical decade.

The Current Scenario

  • As of 2022, the world's renewable energy capacity stands at 3.4 terawatts (TW).
  • To meet the 1.5°C temperature limit set by the Paris Agreement, global renewable capacity needs to grow to 11.5 TW by 2030.
    • It represents a 3.4x growth from 2022 levels.

The Role of Different Regions

  • Different regions will need to scale at different rates relative to their current renewable capacity, driven by the pace of fossil phase-out needed and future electricity demand growth.


  • It, primarily driven by growth in China and India, makes the biggest overall contribution, providing around half (47%) of the 8.1 TW of renewable capacity additions needed globally by 2030.
    • It represents a 3.6x regional growth rate relative to 2022 levels.
global investment in clean electricity


  • On the other hand, the OECD provides the next biggest share of global capacity additions at around a third (36%).
  • Renewables in the region scale at a slower rate of 3.1x due to lower electricity demand growth and a higher level of existing renewable capacity installed in 2022.

The Investment Needs

  • Tripling renewables in line with the 1.5°C temperature limit would require $12 trillion of investment in the power system up until 2030.
  • It translates to an average of $2 trillion per year starting in 2024.
    • Of this, $8 trillion should be channelled into the installation of renewables and the rest ($4 trillion) into the grid and storage infrastructure needed to support renewables.

The Way Forward

  • Achieving such a rapid renewables rollout would require significantly upscaled international climate finance1. Governments need to take urgent action to turbocharge an already buoyant renewables market.
  • Public finance is key, especially international support to provide access to low-cost capital for emerging markets to join the renewables era, ensuring a clean, secure, and just transition for all.

Questions for Practice

Q1. Discuss the role and importance of Self Help Groups (SHGs) in the socio-economic development of India. What are the major issues and challenges faced by these groups?

Q2. Discuss potential strategies to ensure the viability of small-scale farming. What are its implications for food security, rural economies, and environmental sustainability?

Q3. How does climate change pose risks to agricultural practices and food security? What strategies can be employed to mitigate these risks and promote resilience in agricultural systems?

Q4. How does excessive use of nitrogen-based fertilisers in agriculture contribute to water pollution and scarcity? What are the potential health and environmental consequences of this issue?