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Paper: General Studies 3

Topic: Government Budgeting

Why in the news?

  • The government has prepared a “substantial inventory” of land assets that can be monetised, and the process of such sales will be finalised very soon. The Centre is also keen on strategic sales, and three fresh expressions of interest will be announced next week
  • The Union Budget 2019 has set a high target of Rs 1.05 lakh crore from disinvestment for the current fiscal year, compared with Rs 90,000 crore in the Interim Budget. Apart from residual stake sales, buybacks and strategic sales, land monetisation will be a key component of the Centre’s push to raise resources.

What is disinvestment?

Disinvestment means selling of assets. Here, in the case of PUSs, disinvestment means Government selling/ diluting its stake (share) in Public Sector Undertakings in which it has a majority holding. Disinvestment is carried out as a budgetary exercise, under which the government announces yearly targets for disinvestment for selected PSUs.

It is of two types:

  • Sale of minority stake in which the Government retains control over the CPSE by keeping its ownership over 50%.
  • Strategic disinvestment – Strategic disinvestment would imply the sale of a substantial portion of the Government shareholding of a central public sector enterprise (CPSE) of up to 50%, or such higher percentage as the competent authority may determine, along with transfer of management control.

Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) is the nodal agency that oversees disinvestment.

Proceeds of the disinvestment are deposited in the National Investment Fund which is a ‘Public Account’ under the Government Accounts and the funds remain there until withdrawn/invested for the approved purposes.

National Tiger Conservation Authority

Paper: General Studies 3

Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

Why in the news?

Telangana’s Principal Chief Conservator of Forests has refused entry to Atomic Minerals Directorate  for Exploration and Research in the Amrabad Tiger Reserve citing lack of full clearance from the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA)

What is National Tiger Conservation Authority?

  • The National Tiger Conservation Authority is a statutory body under the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change constituted under enabling provisions of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, as amended in 2006, for strengthening tiger conservation, as per powers and functions assigned to it under the said Act.

What are the functions of the NTCA?

Powers and functions of the National Tiger Conservation Authority as prescribed under section 38O of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, as amended in 2006 are as under:-

  • to approve the tiger conservation plan prepared by the State Government under sub-section (3) of section 38V of this Act;
  • evaluate and assess various aspects of sustainable ecology and disallow any ecologically unsustainable land use such as, mining, industry and other projects within the tiger reserves;
  • lay down normative standards for tourism activities and guidelines for project tiger from time to time for tiger conservation in the buffer and core area of tiger reserves and ensure their due compliance;
  • provide for management focus and measures for addressing conflicts of  men and wild animal and to emphasize on co-existence in forest areas outside the National Parks, sanctuaries or tiger reserve, in the working plan code;
  • provide information on protection measures including future conservation plan, estimation of population of tiger and its natural prey species, status of habitats, disease surveillance, mortality survey, patrolling, reports on untoward happenings and such other management aspects as it may deem fit including future plan conservation;
  • approve, co-ordinate research and monitoring on tiger, co-predators, prey habitat, related ecological and socio-economic parameters and their evaluation;
  • ensure that the tiger reserves and areas linking one protected area or tiger reserve with another protected area or tiger reserve  are not diverted for ecologically unsustainable uses, except in public interest and with the approval of the National Board for Wild Life and on the advice of the Tiger Conservation Authority;
  • facilitate and support the tiger reserve management in the State for biodiversity conservation initiatives through eco-development and people’s participation as per approved management plans and to support similar initiatives in adjoining areas consistent with the Central and State laws;
  • ensure critical support including scientific, information technology and legal support for better implementation of the tiger conservation plan;
  • facilitate ongoing capacity building programme for skill development of officers and staff of tiger reserves, and
  • perform such other functions as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of this Act with regard to conservation of tigers and their habitat.

District Environment Impact Assessment Authority

Paper: General Studies 3

Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

Why in the news?

  • The proposed Environment Impact Assessment Notification, 2019, makes the District Magistrate (DM) the chairperson of an expert authority, or the District Environment Impact Assessment Authority (DEIAA), that will accord environment clearance for “minor” mining projects. Minor mining broadly refers to sand and stone mining in plots smaller than 25 hectares.
  • The EIA 2019 aims to be an update of the EIA 2006. This document prescribes the environment clearance process whereby developers of infrastructure projects that have the potential to significantly alter or impact forests, river basins or other ecologically sensitive regions seek permission from the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) and experts appointed by it.
  • So far the EIA 2019 that has been circulated to States is a ‘zero draft’ meaning that it is at a stage where comments are being sought from State authorities after which the draft will be modified and then further opened to public comments.

What is the District Environment Impact Assessment Authority?

  • It is a district level committee constituted to give environmental clearances to minor projects.
  • While expert committees constituted by the MoEF appraise projects, those below a certain size are appraised by State-level authorities called the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA).
  • On March 2016, the Ministry further delegated the authority to grant clearances for up to five hectares of individual mining lease of minor minerals and 25 hectares in clusters, to the DEIAA.


Prelims Specific

  • Prashnottara Ratnamalika is a text written by one of India’s greatest spiritual and literary geniuses, Sri Adi Sankaracharya. Adi Shankara was associated with the Advaita Vedanta school of philosophy.
  • India’s nomination of the Jaipur City, Rajasthan got inscribed today on the World Heritage List of UNESCO during the 43rd Session of the World Heritage Committee held at Baku, Azerbaijan.  The nomination of Jaipur City has successfully been done by complying with the various UNESCO guidelines of 2017. With Successful inscription of Jaipur City, India has 38 world heritage sites , that include 30 Cultural properties, 7 Natural properties and 1 mixed site.