Underestimates can result in the problem being ignored, says PAC report Inflated figures may take resources away from other health programmes

Issues relating to protection of the planet continue to capture media headlines and provoke public and political debate. The United Nationsʼ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has referred to global warming as a ʻweapon of mass destructionʼ (IPCC, 2007). However, global warming is not the only earth-threatening issue – there is also an increasing amount of environmental crime. The term ʻenvironmental crimeʼ is relatively new to the UK government lexicon but does not capture or harness the actions of the powerful towards acts of global environmental harm.

The Rajya Sabha on Wednesday witnessed noisy scenes with MPs, cutting across party lines, targeting the Government on the issue of Special Economic Zones (SEZs).

The National Rural Employment Guarantee Act 2005 is a law whereby: any adult who is willing to do unskilled manual work at the minimum wage is entitled to being employed on local public

Germany continues to invest in brown coal mining, despite ambitious climate targets. Requirements for carbon capture and storage could eventually make the fuel unprofitable. March 2008

A 111-year-old law is one of the key options the government could invoke to handle the challenges arising out of the possible denotification of three Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in Goa. Last week, the inter-ministerial Board of Approvals had recommended starting talks with the Goa government on denotifying the three SEZs following strong local protests in Goa last year, creating a precedent that is being closely watched by potential investors in India and abroad. This is because the process of denotification itself is complex and could be long-drawn. The SEZ Act, 2005, does not have specific provisions for denotification. The Act, however, has provisions empowering the central government to issue policy directions to the Board of Approvals (under subsections 5 and 6 of Section 9). This power is derived from the General Clauses Act of 1897, an umbrella law covering all Acts and government notifications passed by the Centre. Section 21 of this Act empowers the government to add, amend, vary or rescind sections in notifications, orders, rules or bylaws issued by it. This means the central government is, on reading the two laws together, empowered to override the SEZ Act to account for measures like denotification. The other two denotification routes are amendment of the SEZ Act through Parliament and through a presidential ordinance. The latter has been ruled out since Parliament is in session and there is nothing to stop the developers of the three SEZs from going to court if the government waits for the session to end. An amendment of the SEZ Act will not only need approval from the commerce ministry, but also may provoke political opposition from the Congress itself. For this reason, the government is unlikely to follow this route. There are, however, some aspects of the denotification that the government cannot escape

Economy on the move: The President, Ms Pratibha Patil, the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, the Lok Sabha Speaker, Mr Somnath Chatterjee, and the Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Mr P.R. Dasmunshi, arriving to attend the first day of the Budget Session at Parliament House in the Capital on Monday.

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Two years ago, Parliament passed the food safety act. Till date the union health ministry has not notified the law in full, nor has it formulated rules under the act. Instead, the ministry has now signed an agreement with the us to draw up standards for import and export of food and medicine.