In a significant decision to fast-track India’s domestic nuclear power program, and give a push to country’s nuclear industry, the Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for construction of 10 units of India’s indigenous Pressurized Heavy Water Reactors (PHWR). The total installed capacity of the Plants will be 7000 MW. The 10 PHWR project will result in a significant augmentation of nuclear power generation capacity.
Focus – Cabinet approves construction of 10 units of India’s indigenous Pressurized Heavy Water Reactors (PHWR)
- India has current installed nuclear power capacity of 6780 MW from 22 operational plants.
- Another 6700 MWs of nuclear power is expected to come on-stream by 2021-22 through projects presently under construction.
- In a first of its kind project for India’s nuclear power sector, the ten new units will come up in the fleet mode as a fully home-grown initiative. It would be one of the flagship “Make in India” projects in this sector.
- With likely manufacturing orders of close to 70,000 crores to the domestic industry, the project will help transform Indian nuclear industry by linking our goal of a strong nuclear power sector with our indigenous industrial capacities in high-end technologies.
- This Project will bring about substantial economies of scale and maximize cost and time efficiencies by adopting fleet mode for execution. It is expected to generate more than 33,400 jobs in direct and indirect employment. With manufacturing orders to domestic industry, it will be a major step towards strengthening India’s credentials as a major nuclear manufacturing powerhouse.
- The ten reactors will be part of India’s latest design of 700 MW PHWR fleet with state-of-art technology meeting the highest standards of safety.
- The approval also marks a statement of strong belief in the capability of India’s scientific community to build our technological capacities. The design and development of this project is a testament to the rapid advances achieved by India’s nuclear scientific community and industry. It underscores the mastery our nuclear scientists have attained over all aspects of indigenous PHWR technology. India’s record of building and operating PHWR reactors over the last nearly forty years is globally acclaimed.
- The Cabinet’s decision reflects the Government’s commitment to prioritize the use of clean power in India’s energy mix, as part of low-carbon growth strategy and to ensure long-term base load requirement for the nation’s industrialization.
- It also supports India’s commitment to sustainable development, energy self-sufficiency and bolsters global efforts to combat climate change.
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for the declaration of Vijayawada Airport as Vijayawada International Airport, as per the provisions of Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014.
Vijayawada International Airport | Significance
The proposal will add to improved connectivity to the State capital. It will provide wider choice of services at competitive costs to the air-travellers and give a boost to domestic/international tourism and socio-economic development of Andhra Pradesh by bringing in international passengers and cargo traffic.
Vijayawada International Airport | Background
- Declaration of an airport as International Airport depends upon traffic potential and demand from airlines for operation of international flights.
- Further, availability of Ground Lighting Facilities, Instrument Landing System for operation of aircrafts at night, adequate runway length to cater to medium capacity long-range aircraft or equivalent type of aircraft, availability of Customs, Immigration, Health and Animal & Plant Quarantine Services are also required for international operations.
- The declaration of Vijayawada Airport as International has been taken up in accordance with the provisions of Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014 and keeping in view the passenger traffic growth, demands from airlines and Andhra Pradesh Government. Airports Authority of India has undertaken upgradation of requisite infrastructure and facilities for international operations.
The Indian Railway PSU, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd (IRCTC) has decided to start two new circuits of their flagship luxury train Maharaja Express, this year.
Maharaja Express | About the new circuits
- These two new trips have been named as “Southern Sojourn”and “Southern Jewels” which will cover prominent destinations in West and South India.
- The Southern Sojourn will cover Goa, Hampi, Mysore, Ernakulam, Kumarakom and Trivandrum. The Southern Jewels will cover Chettinad, Mahabalipuram, Mysore, Hampi and Goa.
- The Southern Sojourn – Monsoon Special shall start from Mumbai on 24th June 2017 & stop at Goa, Hampi, Mysore, Cochin, Alleppey before terminating at Trivandrum.
- The Southern Jewels – Monsoon Special shall depart from Trivandrum on 1st July 2017 and terminate at Mumbai covering Chettinad, Mahabalipuram, Mysore, Hampi and Goa. Each journey shall be of 8 Days/7 Nights duration.
Background of Maharaja Express
Maharajas’ Express commenced its operations in 2010, and since then the train has become the Leading Luxury Train of the World with comparisons to the Royal Scotsman and the Eastern and Oriental Express. The train is the recipient of the coveted Leading Luxury Train of the World Award for the last five years in a row since 2012.
Features of Maharaja Express
The 23 coach long Maharajas’ Express, with a capacity of 88 guests, is a cut above other luxury trains in each aspect – the cabin experience, on-board dining, the excursions and events organized for guests. The train has state of the art features with on-board water filtration plant, spacious cabin sizes with no bunk beds, two bars cum lounges, two restaurants and of course a well-trained on-board team to cater to global expectations.
Union Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Minister Sushri Uma Bharti launched Bundelkhand Water Conservation Programme at Bandri in Sagar District of MP
Water Conservation Programme | About
- Ministry has prepared a master plan for artificial recharge of ground water in Bundelkhand region.
- In UP region of Bundelkhand, around 1100 percolation tanks, 14000 small check dams/Nala bunds and 7200 Recharge pits/shafts have been identified.
- In MP region of Bundelkhand, around 2000 percolation tanks, 55000 small check dams/Nala bunds and 17000 Recharge shafts have been identified.
- As a part of ground water exploration, 234 wells in UP are proposed to be constructed in five districts of Bundelkhand i.e., Banda, Hamirpur, Jalaun, Chitrakoot and Mahoba. Similarly, 259 wells in MP are proposed to be constructed in the districts of Datia, Sagar, Damoh, Tikamgarh, Chhatarpur and Panna in the Bundelkhand region of the State.
Water Conservation Programme | Other initiatives
Ministry of Water Resources has taken up new initiatives under National Ground Water Management Improvement Schemes (NGMIS) with an objective to effectively improve ground water conditions in stressed blocks, ensure sustainability of resource both quantitatively and qualitatively, participatory approach in ground water management and institutional strengthening.
In Bundelkhand region of UP, six districts covering an area of 11851 sq km have been considered under this initiative. In Bundelkhand region of MP, five districts covering an area of 8319 sq km have been considered under this initiative.
Water Conservation Programme | ISBIG
- The Minister informed that ‘Incentivization Scheme for Bridging Irrigation Gap’ (ISBIG) scheme is being prepared by the Ministry with an objective to complete CADWM works along with correction of system deficiencies in canal network for bridging the gap between Irrigation Potential Created (IPC) and Irrigation Potential Utilised (IPU), improving the water use efficiency in irrigation and providing assured supply of water to every farm field and transfer of control and management of irrigation system to the Water Users’ Associations (WUAs).
- In Bundelkhand region of UP, Betwa and Gursarai canal, Rajghat canal, Ken canal system, Gunta Nala dam and Upper Rajghat canal with target to bridge 17,1030 hact under this scheme is being proposed. The scheme will benefit Jhansi, Jalaun, Hamirpur, Lalitpur and Banda districts in Bundelkhand region. In Bundelkhand region of MP Rajghat Canal Project with target to bridge 68007 ha under this scheme is being proposed. The scheme will benefit Tikamgarh and Datia districts.
Water Conservation Programme | Marathwada
Similar programme for Marathwada region of Maharashtra is also being launched. Seven schemes with target to bridge 53365 ha gap between IPC and IPU are being proposed. The scheme will benefit Aurangabad, Latur, Nanded, Prabhani, Nanded, Solapur and Osmanabad districts and involve an expenditure of Rs. 250 crore. An area of 3727 sq.km in Marathwada is proposed to be covered under National Ground Water Management Improvement Schemes involving an expenditure approximate of Rs. 380 crore. Aquifer mapping of 9101 sq. km. of area in Marathwada has been completed. Management Plan of 7775 sq. km has been submitted to Maharashtra government. Under Fast track implementation of water conservation schemes 50 new water bodies with estimated cost of about Rs. 60 crores with tentative potential creation of 5000 ha would be taken up.
The Department of Biotechnology and Department of Science and Technology, Ministry of Science and Technology are collaborating with The India-Canada Centre for Innovation Multidisciplinary Partnerships to Accelerate Community Transformation and Sustainability (IC-IMPACTS), to promote multidisciplinary research partnerships. Five projects addressing the issue of Clean Water Technology are being implemented by the Departments at the total cost of Rs. 572 lakhs with matched funding from Canada.
Clean Water Technology
- Biosensors for detection of toxins – impedance-based handheld biosensors for assessment of the water quality and a nanoparticle based water treatment system to eliminate toxins and microorganisms in water. Toxins which will be detected are cyanotoxin (microcystins, anatoxins) and microorganisms (Enterococcus, Salmonella, Staphylococcus).
- Heavy metal detection and removal – Plastic cartridges for colour based test monitoring kit for detection of multiplex heavy metal. Developing fixed bed bio-char columns to remove heavy metals from waste water.
- Bio-recovery from waste water (waste to wealth) – Integrated pilot-scale 915 MHz MW-AOP for advanced anaerobic digestion system for resource recovery
- Survey to identify and explore alternatives in domestic water management –technology and financial appropriateness of water and wastewater infrastructure in selected cities of India
These Technologies are currently being developed with the aim that these technologies will be implemented in India. Prior art is available for the technologies being developed. The technologies are being adapted and modified for Indian conditions. Technologies developed will be taken for feasibility studies and shall be implemented on pilot scale within two years.
The committee constituted to prepare draft Ganga Act submitted its report to the Union Minister of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation.
Draft Ganga Act | About the Committee
- The Chairman of the committee Justice Shri Girdhar Malviya (Retd.) said that it was a big challenge for them but they could meet it successfully. He thanked the officials of Union Water Resources Ministry and National Mission for Clean Ganga for their cooperation to the committee.
- The Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation constituted this committee in July last year to prepare draft Ganga Act. Justice Shri Girdhar Malviya (Retd.) was the Chairman of the committee. Other members were: Shri V.K.Bhasin, Ex-Secretary, Legislative Department, Govt. of India, Prof. A.K. Gosain, IIT Delhi and Prof. Nayan Sharma, IIT Roorkee. Shri Sundeep, Director, National Mission for Clean Ganga was the Member Secretary.
- 79-year-old Justice Malviya who is Chairman of Ganga Mahasabha is associated with Ganga conservation movement. The Mahasabha was founded by his grandfather and founder of BHU Mahamana Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya.
Draft Ganga Act | Highlights of the report
- The committee recognized the enormous challenges being faced to maintain the wholesomeness (Nirmalta and Aviralta) of National River Ganga perpetuated due to over stressed water demand from agricultural, domestic and industrial sectors, on one hand and realized pressure on account of sustaining the religious faith, historical and social belief on other hand.
- The challenges become more complex with no possible increase in availability of water in river course in comparison to the increasing demands but on the contrary apprehension of decreasing flow owing to climate change affects.
Draft Ganga Act | Details about the report
- The draft Act addresses the critical issues pertaining to National River Gaga on its Cleanliness (Nirmalta) and uninterrupted e-flow (Aviralta) and provides corresponding provisions thereof.
- The committee has adopted certain stricter provision to increase accountability and responsibility for use of resources made available by National River Ganga. The option and provision made in suggestive bills available with National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) were also considered and discussed by the committee.
The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, will dedicate to the nation, India’s longest tunnel (road) – the 9-kilometre-long “Chenani – Nashri Tunnel” – on April 2nd, 2017.
India’s Longest Tunnel | About
- India’s Longest Tunnel on NH-44 which connects Jammu with Srinagar, will reduce travel time between the two cities by up to two hours. It achieves a distance-reduction of 31 kilometres, bypassing snow-bound upper reaches. The estimated daily fuel savings are to the tune of Rs. 27 lakhs.
- Besides avoiding large scale deforestation and tree-cutting, the tunnel will provide a safe, all-weather route to commuters travelling from Jammu and Udhampur, to Ramban, Banihal and Srinagar.
- The tunnel is equipped with world-class security systems, and is expected to boost tourism and economic activities in the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
India’s Longest Tunnel | Salient features
- It is a single-tube bi-directional tunnel, with a 9.35 metre carriageway, and a vertical clearance of 5 metres.
- There is also a parallel escape tunnel, with “Cross Passages” connecting to the main tunnel at intervals of 300 metres.
- It also has smart features such as an Integrated Traffic Control System; Surveillance, Ventilation and Broadcast Systems; Fire Fighting System; and SOS call-boxes at every 150 metres.
- The project has been completed at a cost of over Rs. 2500 crore.
National Waterways Bill aims to re-define transportation infrastructure in India. It adds 106 inland waterways to list of national waterways, taking total number to 111.
- India has about 14,500 km of navigable waterways comprising of rivers, canals, backwaters, creeks, etc.
- According to official estimates, about 34 percent of Indian cargo is currently trans-shipped through international hub ports, resulting in revenue loss for Indian ports as well as high costs on customer side.
- Most EU nations and countries like China have maintained and upgraded their river systems on important routes to support large vessels.
- Bangladesh has increased its freight movement through waterways to 35 percent.
- India however, struggles to create depth in its river systems and evolve effective de-silting processes to accommodate even medium or small-sized vessels.
National Waterways Bill | Benefits
- Environmental Aspect: Transportation of cargo through inland waterways helps to rein in carbon emissions
- Human Resource: Transportation of cargo through inland waterways helps curbs rate of road accidents.
- Quantitative Edge: In terms of quantity, inland waterways can move five times more cargo than roadways and railways.
- Cost Effectiveness: Construction and maintenance of waterways system is also cheaper to build and maintain.
National Waterways Bill | Near Future Plan
- To develop new Greenfield ports on both the country’s coasts.
- To expedite work on National Waterways Project, which proposes ‘to have waterways covering entire nation, just like national highways.
- To set up 2,000 water ports, and Roll-on-Roll-off (RoRo) services at five select places in India to transport goods and vehicles, across India.
- There is huge potential for water transport.
- Under this project, Varanasi, Haldia and Sahibganj will be developed as multi-modal hubs with roadways, waterways and railways.
- To construct inland waterways on Ganga, between Varanasi and Haldia, supported with 30 water ports.
- Under ‘Sagarmala Project’, aim is to develop port infrastructure along country’s 7,500-km coastline.
National Waterways Bill | Change in Cabotage Law
- Due to lack of Indian RoRo vessels, 60 percent of India’s export and import containers are transhipped through ports like Singapore and Colombo, which involves huge expenditure and extra transit time.
- So, change in Cabotage Law will definitely change the game.
National Waterways Bill | Gains
STRATEGIC GAINS: It may end Colombo’s monopoly in transhipment in South Asia and attract international carriers to operate in Indian waters. Moreover, Colombo’s China-backed ports have long unnerved India’s strategic community. Challenge remains to establish robust waterways systems bypassing problems like, seasonal river flows, dry summers, low height bridges obstructing traffic and diverting river navigation without hurting irrigation and drinking water needs, the benefits are surely worth taking that plunge.
MONETARY GAIN: More trade means Forex.
ECONOMIC GAIN: More employment generation and flip to other construction based sectors like iron, steel and cement.
So, a delayed but fortunately a step in right direction giving India an edge in the age of global competitive trade.
 Cabotage is transport of goods between two points in same country.
Hydrology Project is one of the major undertakings of the Indian Government. Below is the sumarry of the Hydrology Project.
Hydrology Project | Basic Facts
- World Bank aided Hydrology Project – implemented in two phases including Hydrology Project (1995-2003) and Hydrology Project II (2004-2014).
- Central to improve planning, development, and management of water resources, as well as flood forecasting and reservoir operations in real-time.
- Led to a significant change in availability and reliability of hydro-meteorological data in India.
- Now water resources development projects (such as hydraulic structure construction, irrigation development through surface water and/or groundwater) and other infrastructure developments are based on accurate information, and thus designed appropriately and economically.
- Reservoir operation is based on real time hydrological information in catchment and is integrated with climate forecast which would minimize likelihood of floods and ensure availability of water for various uses.
- Hydrology Project has benefitted nine States (Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and Tamil Nadu) and 6 central agencies (Ministry of Water Resources-MoWR, Central Water Commission-CWC, Central Ground Water Board-CGWB, Central Water and Power Research Station-CWPRS, National Institute of Hydrology-NIH, India Meteorological Department-IMD) during Phase I while four new states (Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Pondicherry and Punjab) and two central agencies (Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) and Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) joined during Phase II.
- Offered a platform for water agencies all over India to learn from each other, which motivated them to modernize existing hydro-meteorological monitoring systems from manual to Real Time Data Acquisition Systems (RTDAS) as well as develop tools for Integrated Water Resources Planning and Management for enhancing productivity and cost effectiveness of water related investments.
HYDROLOGY PROJECT | KEY ACHIEVEMENT
Development of Hydrological Information System (HIS)
- HIS includes development of networks of hydro-meteorological stations and data management systems for surface water, groundwater and water quality.
- Networks of Hydro-meteorological Stations Extended observation networks (for measuring hydro-meteorological parameters) with improved technology for reliable and accurate measurement – including automation with RTDAS, which transmit data directly to data processing centres were developed in various parts of country.
- RTDAS for hydrological monitoring includes radar type water level recorders for rivers and reservoirs, snow gauges, Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers (ADCP), and additional Digital Water Level Recorders (DWLR) for groundwater well.
Web-based Data Management System
- Web-based software have been developed to modernize desktop based data entry, processing, storage and dissemination systems into a centralized database management system to ensure uniformity in HIS procedures across states and regions.
- Users in state and central agencies are enabled to enter and process data on-line, within their own virtual data repository.
- Systems are aimed to centralize operation and maintenance cost of system while states would require only computer and internet to upload and access data.
Surface Water Information System (e-SWIS)
- Under coordination of CWC, e-SWIS has been developed with an objective to enable easily access to hydro-meteorological database by multiple agencies through internet.
- System replicates functionalities of previous Surface Water Date Entry System (SWDES), Hydrological Modelling System (HYMOS) and WISDOM systems.
Groundwater Estimation and Management System (e-GEMS)
- eGEMS system is an internet based central repository and data processing tool for groundwater related data (such as water level, water quality, exploration, geophysics and GIS data).
- It replicates functionalities of previous Ground Water Data Entry System (GWDES and) GEMS systems.
- CGWB is coordinating agency to maintain centralized server system.
GIS based web-Portal for Water Quality Data (e-WQIS)
- eWQIS is an internet based web portal for publishing real-time water quality data from automated water quality stations.
- Portal enhances accessibility of data by end users – CPCB, PCBs and general public, and enables users to receive data summaries and review historical data.
River Basin Planning and Management Tools
- Decision support system for water resources planning, reservoir operation system for flood management and hydrologic design aids have been developed under project.
- These tools enable decision makers and water resources management agencies in integrated planning and management of river basins and enhance productivity and cost effectiveness of water related investments.
- Decision Support System (DSS) for Water Resources Planning and Management Under aegis of NIH and assisted by consultants, extensive software aimed at providing DSS for integrated water resources planning, development and management was developed.
- Modules in DSS (P) includes surface water planning, groundwater use planning, integrated reservoir operation, irrigation management, drought monitoring, assessment and management, planning of conjunctive use of surface and groundwater, and water quality management.
Hydrological Design Aids (HDA)
- Under aegis of CWC and assisted by consultants, HDA software has been developed for surface water.
- Software facilitates and expedites hydrological design of infrastructure (e.g. design flood analysis for gauged and un-gauged catchments), water resources availability assessments and reservoir sedimentation analysis, and would also, for first time, provide basis for uniform approaches among states and between states and central agencies.
- HDA software has in-built facilities to integrate GIS and Excel type functionalities.
- Part of data analysis and processing functionalities included in previously employed HYMOS system has also been incorporated into HDA.
Stream Flow Forecasting and Reservoir Operation Systems for Flood Management
- For first time in India the stream flow forecasting and reservoir operation would be able to provide lead time for preparation of floods in days even for small catchments.
- System makes use of seasonal and satellite based three days climate forecast (MWRF, RIMES Bangkok) and integrates real time hydrological information system, hydraulic and reservoir operation models.
- System facilitates scheduling of reservoir releases and hydropower turbines, operation of spillway gates, issuance of flood warnings, and deployment of area evacuation measures.
- Extensive use of these tools is being carried out in Bhakra-Beas Basin (Real Time Decision Support System—RTDSS) under aegis of BBMB and in Upper Krishna and Upper Bhima basins (Real Time Flood Stream flow Forecasting and Reservoir Operation System -RTSF & ROS) under aegis of Maharashtra Surface Water Dept.
- System would help in minimizing flood impact in lower reach of river basins by minimizing sudden flow releases from reservoirs which has been one of the major reasons for floods downstream.
- BBMB has been able to improve its management of Bhakra and Pong dams during 2013 monsoon season, to the extent that no flooding occurred, whereas in 1988 severe flooding occurred at end of monsoon season under same total inflow conditions in both years.
Groundwater Management – Aquifer Mapping
- CGWB has commenced National Aquifer Mapping Program to prepare aquifer management plans and introduce participatory community groundwater management across nation.
- Under Hydrology Project, 6 pilot projects were selected to test advance techniques and serve as guiding tool for National Aquifer Mapping Program.
- Pilot projects included organization of existing database, hydro-geological modeling and conducting field tests, geophysical investigations and exploratory drilling.
- Geophysical tests involved advanced technologies, wherein heliborne Transient Electro Magnetic (TEM) geophysical surveys was also carried for first time in India.
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