The Ministry has been organising a National Environment Awareness Campaign (NEAC) every year since 1986 with the objective of creating environmental awareness at all levels of society. A large number of NGOs, schools, colleges, universities, research institutions, women and youth organisations, army units, state government departments, etc. are provided nominal financial assistance for organising diverse awareness drives through activities such as padyatras, rallies, public meetings, exhibitions, folk dances, street theatres, essays/debates, painting/poster competitions for school children, seminars, workshops, training courses, etc. and for preparation and distribution of environmental education resource materials. The target groups covered under this campaign include students/youth/teachers, tribals, rural populations, professionals and the general public.
The campaign is being conducted this year also. The theme for NEAC 1998-99 is Keep our Water Resources Clean . A total of 8,800 proposals received from various organisations have been considered, out of which 3,974 proposals have been supported with a total financial assistance of Rs 231 lakhs.
The Global Environment Facility (GEF) has sanctioned a PDF-B project entitled Conservation and Sustainable Management of Dryland Biodiversity to the Ministry of Environment & Forests at a total cost of US $ 329,600 for a period of 12 months. The Society for Research and Initiatives for Sustainable Technologies and Institutions (Sristi), Ahmedabad is the implementing agency for the project.
This PDF-B project proposes to develop a full project to conserve globally significant biodiversity by protecting endangered biodiversity in the dry arid and semi-arid ecosystems of Northern Gujarat. Through a participatory programme, the PDF will develop strategies necessary to strengthen the existing network of protected areas and nature reserves and complement it with improving management and resource uses in associated network of sacred groves, community forests and grasslands. This project will seek to strengthen local institutions and add value to traditional practices thus ensuring sustainable use of biodiversity and additional income generation.
Professor Anil Gupta of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, who is President, Sristi, has been designated as the National Project Director, for this project. A Steering Committee has been constituted to oversee the implementation of the project.
The Ministry of Environment & Forests in association with its National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) developed a thematic tableau for participation in the Republic Day Parade on 26th January, 1999.
The theme of the tableau, "Save the Environment", was divided into two parts concept - one depicting the beauty and diversity of the environment in the Indian context with a subjective background music and the second showing depleting environment scene with the human race in distress and with matching background music. The speciality of the tableau was its complicated animations, involving high-tech pneumatic controls for synchronisation accompanied by choreographic and dramatic depiction of evil and non-evil scenes of the environment.
The tableau won a lot of appreciation from the general public, especially the children where a powerful message to save the environment was conveyed effectively through the visual media.
On a confidential tip from intelligence information, the Inspector from the Office of the Regional Deputy Director, Wildlife Preservation, Eastern Region, Calcutta intercepted on December 7, 1998 a consignment of 1,28,000 pieces of peacock tail feathers.
Jex Corporation, based at Calcutta, attempted to smuggle out the peacock tail feathers in excess quantity under cover of an export licence. The material was seized with the help of Calcutta Customs officials. The consignment, worth Rs.12.5 lakhs, was being smuggled in violation of the Export-Import Policy and Wildlife (P) Act, 1972.
The peacock (Paro cristatus) is protected under Wildlife (P) Act, 1972. Being endangered, it has been placed under Schedule-I species.
Special vigilance has been placed on the export points so that wildlife and its products are not illegally transported out of the country. The Government has allowed permissible trade so that this endangered species, which is dwindling, is protected and preserved. Necessary action against the offender has been initiated.