Govt Initiatives on Water, Sanitation, Environment

GS Paper 2

Jal Shakti Abhiyan: Catch the Rain (JSA: CTR) 2024 Campaign

    • News: The Union Minister for Jal Shakti, recently launched the fifth edition of “Jal Shakti Abhiyan: Catch the Rain” campaign in New Delhi.
    • Introduction: It was first launched in 2019 as a “Jan Andolan” and since 2021, it has become an annual feature.
    • Aim: It aims to initiate and accelerate water conservation at the grassroots level through citizen participation.
    • Coverage: It covers all the blocks of all districts (rural as well as urban areas) across the country.
    • Tag Line: “Catch the Rain – Where it Falls When it Falls”. 
    • Implementation: The campaign will be implemented by the National Water Mission(NWM), Ministry of Jal Shakti.
    • 2024 Theme : Nari Shakti se Jal Shakti

Key Aspects: 

    • Water conservation & rainwater harvesting.
    • Enumerating, geo-tagging & making inventory of all water bodies & preparing scientific plans for water conservation.
    • Setting up of Jal Shakti Kendras in all districts
    • Intensive afforestation
    • Awareness generation

Pradhan Mantri Samajik Utthan evam Rozgar Adharit Jankalyan (PM-SURAJ) Portal

  • News: PM of India  has recently launched Pradhan Mantri Samajik Utthan evam Rozgar Adharit Jankalyan (PM-SURAJ) portal.
  • Aim: Credit support to entrepreneurs from disadvantaged sections of society.


  • The portal will act as a one-stop point where people from disadvantaged sections of society can apply for and monitor the progress of all loan and credit schemes already available to them.
  • This initiative will help in providing financial assistance directly to beneficiaries, eliminating middlemen and commissions.
  • The scheme will focus on providing credit to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes, minorities, women, and persons with disabilities. 


  •  Increased access to credit for entrepreneurs from disadvantaged sections of society 
  •  Creation of new jobs and businesses 
  •  Reduction of poverty and inequality o Promotion of inclusive growth
  • Promotion of inclusive growth 
  • Implementing Agency: Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment 

CAROTAR – Customs (Administration of Rules of Origin under Trade Agreements) Rules

    • News: Thailand raises objections to India’s CAROTAR regulations during the India-ASEAN FTA review, highlighting trade concerns and growing Chinese influence.
    • Launch: These Rules came into effect from September 21, 2020.
    • Aim: 
      • To regulate domestic importers by strictly verifying the rules of origin under the free trade agreements (FTAs).
      • To curb the influx of Chinese products claiming fraudulent exemptions under the guise of ASEAN exports.
    • Nodal Agency: Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs.

Key Provisions:

  • It mandates the supplier to provide the Indian purchaser with a Certificate of Origin (CoO) from the issuing authority in the exporter’s state, confirming the product’s origin for import validation.
  • The COO contains details of goods covered and originating criterion fulfilled. 
  • Imported products should have undergone value addition of at least 35% in the countries of origin.
  • Requires keeping the origin-related information specific to every Bill of Entry (B/E) for a minimum of 5 years.


      • Under FTA, the trading partners agree to significantly reduce or eliminate import/customs duties on the maximum number of goods traded between them, besides relaxing norms to promote trade in services and investments.
      • The ‘rules of origin’ provision prescribes for minimal processing that should happen in the FTA country so that the final manufactured product may be called originating goods in that country.
      • Under this provision, a country that has inked an FTA with India cannot dump goods from some third country in the Indian market by just putting a label on it. 
      • It has to undertake a prescribed value addition in that product to export to India. 
      • Rules of origin norms help contain dumping of goods.

Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC):

  • CBIC is a part of the Department of Revenue under the Ministry of Finance.
  • It deals with the tasks of formulation of policy concerning levy and collection of Customs, Central Excise duties, Central GST and IGST, prevention of smuggling, and administration of matters relating to Customs, Central Excise, Central GST, IGST, and Narcotics to the extent under CBIC’s purview.

Concerns with CAROTAR:

      • Concerns Raised at WTO: India’s free trade partners have raised concerns at the World Trade Organization (WTO) that its insistence on additional documents to determine the origin of imported goods could raise non-tariff barriers to trade.
        • A non-tariff barrier is any measure, other than a customs tariff, that acts as a barrier to international trade. These include: Regulations: Any rules which dictate how a product can be manufactured; Rules of origin: Rules which require proof of which country goods were produced in.
        • Countries such as Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia and Sri Lanka have sought clarifications on the new rules.
      • CAROTAR Mandate: In cases where origin declared in a CoO is doubtful, the customs officer under the CAROTAR is mandated to demand relevant origin details from the importer, before seeking verification from the partner country.
      • Excessive Demands: There is an excessive demand for submission of origin-related information and retrospective applications of law.
      •  Arbitrary Interpretation: There might be arbitrary interpretation of the regulation by the customs authorities. 
      • Impact on Trade Agreements: Rules also increase the cost of applying preferential tariffs and act as obstacle to the use of trade agreements.
      • Prolonged Verification: Indonesia stated that the verification and clearance process has become longer, and is not in line with the spirit of trade liberalization as agreed in the ASEAN-India FTA.
      • Information Leakage: There is also a risk from unauthorized parties such as information leakage issue under the CAROTAR scheme.
      • Impact on Importers: The stringent requirements will impact the importers, especially those who are legitimately claiming Preferential Tariff Treatment. 
        • Preferential tariff treatment means a reduced rate of customs duty.
      • Thailand’s Objection: Thailand’s objection came in the backdrop of growing Chinese influence. 
        • Beijing and became the largest source of FDI for Thailand during the last calendar year. 
        • Beijing and Bangkok have also expanded defence cooperation during the last decade. 

India’s Increasing Trade Gap with ASEAN: 

  • Shooting Trade Gap: India-ASEAN trade gap in FY23 surged to $43.57 billion in favour of bloc countries, growing sharply by over 40% compared to $25.75 billion in FY22.
  • Reasons for Trade Gap: 
      • Several multinational companies are increasing investments in ASEAN nations as part of their China-plus-one policy.
      • The China Plus One Strategy, also known as Plus One or C+1, is a supply chain strategy that encourages companies to minimize their supply chain dependency on China by diversifying the countries they source parts from.
      • The production-linked incentive (PLI) schemes have also increased demand for intermediate products that are being sourced from ASEAN countries.

India’s Initiatives to Bridge Trade Gap with ASEAN: 

  • India is trying to boost export to Association of Southeast Asian Nations countries.
  • India is looking for better market access and countries like Thailand are also looking to fast track trade facilitation. 
  • India is seeking for liberal product-specific rules (PSRs) in electronics, chemicals and textiles.
    • PSRs determine the circumstances in which goods imported from a member, that have components or inputs from a non-member, are still eligible for preferential tariff treatment. 
    • PSR rules are negotiated to simplify the use of FTA as India’s utilisation rate of ASEAN FTA has remained weak over the years.
  • India also wants to streamline non-tariff barriers that have been a concern for its exporters. 


  • The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, was established on 8 August 1967 in Bangkok, Thailand, with the signing of the ASEAN Declaration (Bangkok Declaration) by the Founding Fathers of ASEAN: Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. 
  • Brunei Darussalam joined in 1984, followed by Vietnam in 1995, Lao PDR and Myanmar in 1997, and Cambodia in 1999, making up ten Member States of ASEAN.

National Action for Mechanised Sanitation Ecosystem (NAMASTE)

  • Aim: To guarantee the safety and dignity of sanitation workers in urban India ensuring them a sustainable livelihood.
  • Nodal Ministry: It is a joint initiative of Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment and Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. 
  • Timeline: NAMASTE will be implemented over a period of three years from 2023-24 to 2025-26.
  • Type: Central Sector Scheme. 
  • Replaced by: This scheme has replaced the Self-Employment Scheme for the Rehabilitation of Manual Scavengers (SRMS), which was started in 2007.
  • Aim: 
      • Zero fatalities in sanitation work in India 
      • All sanitation work is performed by formalized skilled workers 
      • No sanitation workers come in direct contact with human faecal matter
      • Strengthening and capacitating SRU to ensure safe delivery of mechanized sanitation services
      • Sanitation workers are collectivized into SHGs and are empowered to run sanitation enterprises 

Components of the Scheme:

  • Identification: Identifying and registering Sewer/Septic Tank Workers (SSWs).  
  • Training and Equipment: Occupational training on safe sanitation practices and distribution of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits to SSWs. 
  •  Financial Support: Subsidies for purchasing sanitation equipment like mechanized cleaning devices through Safai Karamcharis Finance & Development Corporation 
  •  Healthcare: Extending health insurance benefits to SSWs and their families. 
  •  Livelihood Assistance: Capital Subsidy for promoting alternative livelihood opportunities for sanitation workers to reduce dependence on hazardous cleaning. 
  •  IEC Campaigns: Information, Education, and Communication campaigns to raise awareness about NAMASTE and safe sanitation practices. 

UPSC Prep: Current Affairs Explained – KIRTI to Oscars

GS Paper 3

“Indian Network for Fishery and Animal Antimicrobial Resistance” (INFAAR) Report

    • News: The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) jointly published the surveillance data of the Indian Network for Fishery and Animal Antimicrobial Resistance (INFAAR) for 2019-22.
    • Aim: The Report marks the first comprehensive analysis of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) trends in India’s fisheries and livestock sectors.

Anti -microbial Resistance (AMR): 

  • Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) occurs when germs become resistant to the antibiotics created to kill them.
  •  This makes infections harder — and sometimes impossible — to treat, resulting in longer hospital stays and even death.
  • Antibiotics play a critical role in treating individuals with a range of diseases.
  • However, when the infection is due to drug-resistant bacteria, the number of effective antibiotics becomes limited and so does a doctor’s ability to cure the infection.

Why Do Bacteria Become Resistant To Antibiotics: 

      • There are many reasons bacteria can develop resistance to antibiotics, but the most important one is inappropriate and indiscriminate use of antibiotics.
      • Nearly 60% of hospitalized patients receive an antibiotic, but more than half of these prescriptions are inappropriate because the patient doesn’t have an infection, or the wrong antibiotic was prescribed.

Methodology Used for Sampling: 

      • Three imperative aquaculture systems—freshwater, brackish-water, and marine—were surveyed, covering diverse environments.
      • Antibiotics tested included amikacin, ampicillin, amoxicillin-clavulanic acid, aztreonam, cefotaxime, cefepime, cefoxitin, ceftazidime, chloramphenicol, co-trimoxazole, enrofloxacin, gentamicin, imipenem, meropenem, and tetracycline.
      • Samples collected from 3,087 farms spanning 42 districts in 12 states of India, including fish or shrimp tissues and pond or seawater samples.
      • A total of 6,789 bacterial isolates were analyzed, including freshwater, shrimp, and 457 isolates.
        • Isolate: A sample Collected for Anti-microbial Profiling.
      • Resistance profiles were examined for Staphylococcus aureus, coagulase-negative Staphylococcus species (CONS), Escherichia coli, Vibrio parahaemolyticus, Vibrio sp., and Aeromonas species.

Findings of Report: 

  • Resistance Patterns in Fisheries Sector: 
    • Species Specific Resistance: Isolates of Staphylococcus aureus and coagulase-negative Staphylococcus species exhibited high resistance against penicillin across all systems.
    • Variation across Environments: Freshwater fish showed notable resistance to ciprofloxacin, while marine samples demonstrated higher resistance to cefotaxime.
    • Shrimp Aquaculture: Notable resistance against ampicillin and cefotaxime was observed in shrimp samples, indicating a concerning trend.
  • Resistance Patterns in Livestock Sector: 
        • Animal Origins: E. coli and Staphylococcus isolates from cattle, buffalo, goat, sheep, pig, and poultry were characterized for AMR profiles.
        • Poultry Resistance: Poultry-origin isolates exhibited higher resistance rates across various antibiotics compared to other food animals.
  • Multidrug Resistance Analysis: 
        • Emergence of MDR: Approximately 39% of aquaculture-origin E. coli isolates and 15.8% of poultry isolates exhibited multidrug resistance (MDR).
        • ESBL and AmpC Producers: Detection of extended spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL) and AmpC type β-lactamase producers underscores the complexity of AMR challenges.
  • Key Recommendations in the Report:
    • Judicious Usage: High resistance to critical antibiotics underscores the importance of prudent antibiotic use in food animal production.
    • Policy Implications: The findings will inform policy and decision-making for AMR containment in India’s fisheries and livestock sectors.

Tartrazine, Carmoisine, Sunset Yellow and Rhodamine-B

    • News: Karnataka has banned the use of artificial colours in gobi manchurian & Cotton Candy. The ban was imposed after carcinogenic chemicals were found in the artificial colours used in food items.
    • Banned Artificial Colouring Agents:  Rhodamine-B, tartrazine dye, and sunset yellow colouring. 
  • Rhodamine B: 
    • It is a chemical colour used in dyeing clothes, paper, leather, printing, and plastics. 
    • It is used to give red and pink colours.
    • Rhodamine B is not one of the permitted food colouring agents under India’s food safety regulation.
  • Risks
    • Rhodamine-B is carcinogenic. 
    • Rhodamine B may also damage the eye and cause irritation in the respiratory tract.
    • Rhodamine B is not fit for consumption and may lead to acute toxicity. 
    • Tartrazine & Sunset Yellow can cause allergic or pseudo-allergic reaction.
    • Carmoisine can cause skin rashes & respiratory allergies. 
    • Consumption of snacks containing these artificial colours may pose long-term health risks, including cancer.
  • Punishment on Violation: 
    • Using these harmful chemicals violates the Food Safety and Standards (Food Products, Standards and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011.
    • Violation attracts imprisonment of up to 7 years and fine of up to Rs 10 lakhs. 
  • Food Colours Allowed by FSSAI:
    • The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), India’s apex food safety regulator, allows the use of very few natural and synthetic colours in food items. 
    • There is also a restriction on which colours can be used in what type of food product.
    • Natural Food Colours: The natural food colours whose use is allowed includes carotene and carotenoids (yellow, orange), chlorophyll (green), riboflavin (yellow), caramel, Annatto (orange-red, derived from the seed of an American tree), saffron, and circumin (yellow, from turmeric).
    • Synthetic Colours: The synthetic colours allowed include red from Ponceau 4R, Carmoisine, and Erythrosine; yellow from Tartrazine and Sunset Yellow FCF, blue from Indigo Carmine and Brilliant Blue FCF, and green from: Fast Green FCF.
    • Permitted Food Items: 
      • Permissible food colourings are not allowed in all food items.
      • Food items that can use these colours include ice creams, biscuits, cakes, confectionaries, fruit syrups and crushes, custard powder, jelly crystals, and carbonated or noncarbonated beverages.

Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)

  • News: MIT chemists have designed a sensor that detects tiny quantities of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).
  • PFAS: 
    • These chemicals, often referred to as “forever chemicals,” are present in many consumer products, including food packaging and nonstick cookware.
  • Properties
    • These compounds are also known as “forever chemicals” because they do not break down naturally.
    • Chemically, individual PFAS can be very different. However, all have a carbon-fluorine bond, which is very strong  and  therefore, they do not degrade easily.
    • These are known for their unique properties, such as high chemical stability & resistance to heat, grease and water.
  • Applications :
    • They are also commonly used in water-repellent clothing, stain-resistant fabrics, grease-resistant pizza boxes, cosmetics, and firefighting foams.
    • The widespread use of PFAS has resulted in increasing levels of contamination of the air, water & soil.
  • Risks:  Exposure to PFA attributes to variety of health risks including decreased fertility, developmental effects in children, interference with body hormones, increased cholesterol levels & increased risk of some cancers.
  • New Sensor Technology:
    •  Using the new sensor technology, the researchers showed that they could detect PFAS levels as low as 200 parts per trillion in a water sample.
    • The device they designed could offer a way for consumers to test their drinking water.
    • It could also be useful in industries that rely heavily on PFAS chemicals, including the manufacture of semiconductors and firefighting equipment.

Fact for Prelims

Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary

  • News: Alarmed by the ascent of trekkers to the Kumara Parvatha peak in the ecologically fragile Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary, the Karnataka government imposed a temporary ban on trekking in the State.
  • Location: Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary is located in Somwarpet taluk of the Kodagu (Coorg) district of Karnataka.
  • Highest Peak: Pushpagiri (Kumara Parvatha,1712 m) is the highest peak in the Wildlife Sanctuary.
  • Waterfalls: Mallalli falls and Kote abbe falls (or Mukkodlu falls) are located inside the Wildlife Sanctuary.
  • Flora and Fauna:
    • Tress found are evergreen or semi-evergreen. 
    • Important animals found are tiger, panther, wild dog, Nilgiri Marten, elephant, bison, sloth bear, Lion-tailed macaque, common langur, sambar, spotted deer, barking deer, Malabar Giant Squirrel, Giant Flying Squirrel, Wild boar, etc. 

Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary

  • News: Assam Cabinet has decided to de-notify prime rhino habitat .
  • Location: Pobitora National Park is situated in the Morigaon district of Assam which is near Guwahati. 
  • Flora and Fauna: 
  • The sanctuary has the highest concentration of the one-horned rhinos on earth.
  • The Grasslands of Pobitora offer sightings of the Greater One Horned Rhinoceros, Wild Water Buffalo, Monitor Lizard, Wild Boar, etc.
  • Pobitora also holds the distinction of being the source population of the Indian Rhinoceros Vision, 2020 (IRV), Eight Rhinos were translocated from Pobitora Wild life Sanctuary and introduced into Manas National Park. 
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