PM Modi Defends CAA At a Mega Rally in New Delhi

Amidst the widespread protests over the CAA, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a mega rally to begin the campaigning for the upcoming Delhi Assembly Elections and to defend the recently passed Citizenship Amendment Act. He appealed to the youth to read the Act in detail and called for peace. He asked people to “not fall prey to the rumours being spread by ‘Urban Naxals’ and Congress.”

Crux of the Matter
  • The PM reiterated that the Act will only apply to the people who’ve been living in India for several years now. No new refugee will benefit from the Citizenship Amendment Act.
  • He reassured the Muslim community by saying, “The Muslims of India don’t need to worry at all. The CAB and the NRC will not apply to the Muslims of the country. It’s a white lie.”
  • He also asserted that CAA and NRC have nothing to do with Indian Muslims and appealed to not trust in the widespread rumours.
  • The PM in his speech said that there are no detention centres in India and also clarified that no Muslim is being sent to detention centres, nor are there any detention centres in India.
  • In a reply to this comment, the Congress tweeted three reports quoting Home Ministry’s reply in the parliament on detention centres in Assam.
  • The PM accused the opposition of pursuing ‘divide and rule politics’ and promoting violence over the law.
  • The PM strongly defended the law by saying, “The law is about giving rights to persecuted minorities from neighbouring countries and does not snatch anybody’s rights.”
  • Launching a fierce attack on the opposition the PM said, “Mahatma Gandhi had said that the Sikhs & Hindus living in Pakistan will always be welcome in India and now that we’re fulfilling the decades-old promise, why is the opposition protesting against it.”
  • He also reminded that Former PM Manmohan Singh in the parliament had asked to provide citizenship to the refugees who have been religiously persecuted.
  • West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee claimed that the PM has publicly contradicted the home minister’s stand on the implementation of NRC. The PM blamed the West Bengal government for taking part in ‘vote-bank politics’
  • NCP leader Sharad Pawar said, ” I am surprised by PM’s comment that NRC was not discussed in the parliament whereas the President himself mentioned NRC in the joint address to the parliament.

The Citizenship Amendment Bill was introduced in Lok Sabha on July 19, 2016. It was referred to the Joint Parliamentary Committee on August 12, 2016. The Committee submitted its report on January 7, 2019. It was passed by Lok Sabha on 8 January 2019. It lapsed with the dissolution of the 16th Lok Sabha. The Bharatiya Janata Party had promised to grant citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan but not Muslims. In the party’s election manifesto in 2014, the BJP had promised to welcome Hindu refugees and give shelter to them. More Info

SC Asks Centre for Roadmap On Installing Smog Towers in Delhi-NCR

The Supreme Court bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta on 25th November has asked the Central government to take a decision within 10 days on installing smog towers in Delhi-NCR to combat pollution.

Crux of the Matter
  • Supreme court issued a notice to all states, seeking a report on air quality, drinking water and garbage disposal.
  • The Supreme court expressed discontent at the performance of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi to control pollution and sought to know as to why they should not be asked to compensate people affected by bad air quality.
  • Supreme Court highlighted the fact that stubble burning situation is alarming and not only the state machinery but farmers are also responsible for it.
  • A high-level committee comprising of experts from IIT and CPCB will be formed to identify technologies to combat air pollution; whose report has been sought by SC within three weeks. 
  • Smog towers are structures designed as large-scale air purifiers to reduce air pollution particles. The anti-smog gun is a cannon shaped device that sprays atomised water droplets in the air. The gun is attached to a water tank built on a movable vehicle, which can be taken to various parts of the city. More Info 

Row Over Delhi’s Water Quality

Arvind Kejriwal raised objections against the Bureau of Indian Standards’ (BIS) tap water quality report. Delhi CM Kejriwal denied the BIS-conducted study that stated Delhi’s tap water to be unfit for drinking.

Crux of the Matter
  • BIS conducted the sample testing of potable water from 11 different locations of Delhi NCR. The test noted that all the samples collected failed to meet the quality standard.
  • Delhi CM Kejriwal alleged that the report was manufactured. He also stressed on the fact that the locations chosen for the sampling were biased. Two of the locations belonged to the residencies of Minister Paswan.
  • Minister Paswan then challenged Delhi CM to constitute a new committee comprising of members from both, the BIS and Delhi Jal Board, to take up the testing again across Delhi NCR’s 70 constituencies and 140 wards.

Delhi Water Pollution – Delhi’s water aquifers stand in danger of depletion on account of excessive use. Furthermore, rampant construction activity has contaminated them with cement, paints, varnishes and other construction materials; leaky, poorly constructed and maintained sewage lines have added to the contamination. This is an irremediable loss, as aquifers, once polluted, cannot be decontaminated; they have no exposure to air and sunlight or to micro-organisms which clear-up chemical or biological pollutants. Contributing further to underground water degradation are Delhi’s mushrooming landfill sites. Waste material leeches underground, contaminating aquifers. Besides, land-fill sites degrade land. Delhi has twenty-five landfill sites, and more are planned. Read More

MPs Say Stubble Burning Not the Main Cause of Pollution, Effective Measures Needed

Long-standing attack on the farmers of Punjab and Haryana for stubble burning as the primary cause for amplifying air-pollution levels in Delhi has been softened. In the winter session of the parliament, the MPs presented data showing how stubble-burning contributed to only a small percentage of the increase.

Crux of the Matter
  • Manish Tewari of Congress read in the Parliament that Vehicular Emission contributed to 41%, Industrial Emission to 18%, and Stubble Burning to a very small percentage, of the air pollution in Delhi.
  • He also insisted upon developing a plan to buy the stubble from small farmers to prevent them from burning it.
  • BJP MP Pravesh Verma noted that the sky-rocketing budget of Rs. 600 crore of the Delhi government for advertisement, and Rs. 70 crore for advertisements in the odd-even scheme, could be used in avenues of road building or buying stubble from the poor farmers.
  • System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) report shows that Meteorological conditions can escalate the pollution level in Delhi. It also mentioned that stubble-burning is not the leading cause, yet it does need to be curbed, but to make substantial changes, efficient methods need to be deployed.

Stubble burning is intentionally setting fire to the straw stubble that remains after grains, like paddy, wheat, etc., have been harvested. The practice was widespread until the 1990s, when governments. Smoke from this burning produces a cloud of particulates visible from space, and has produced a “toxic cloud” in New Delhi, resulting in declarations of an air-pollution emergency. Read More

Delhi’s Water Quality Hits Toxic Level

As per a Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) study, 11 samples of faucet water from the national capital bombed the BIS test. Consequently it reaffirmed that the capital city has the most contaminated water quality.

Crux of the Matter
  • Delhi’s water is officially toxic and not fit for direct consumption.
  • Other metros, like Kolkata and Chennai also flopped in nearly 10 out of 11 quality parameters.
  • Ram Vilas Paswan, Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution said, “Mumbai tops the ranking released by the Bureau of Indian Standards for quality of tap water. Delhi at the bottom, with 11 out of 11 samples failing on 19 parameters.”

Water quality refers to the chemical, physical, biological, and radiological characteristics of water. It is a measure of the condition of water relative to the requirements of one or more biotic species and or to any human need or purpose. It is most frequently used by reference to a set of standards against which compliance, generally achieved through treatment of the water, can be assessed. The most common standards used to assess water quality relate to health of ecosystems, safety of human contact, and drinking water. Read More