A Congress party in drift, plans to tackle pollution, and regulating online content: environment and I&B minister Prakash Javadekar covers a range of issues in a chat with TOI’s Vishwa Mohan & Swati MathurParliament passed 14-15 bills in a short time amid charges by opposition that scrutiny of parliamentary panels was bypassed.If the nation must progress, the legislature must do its job. There has to be a comprehensive debate and opposition members can oppose and defeat bills. But how can they complain about working too much or Parliament sitting too long? Due to two years of non-functional Rajya Sabha, 22 bills lapsed even though standing committees approved them. All parties should introspect. This is the first time Parliament is sitting for eight weeks in a row. What’s the reason for delay in constituting parliamentary panels?All parties have not given names. How can I force someone to give names? Every party has to recommend names according to proportional representation. Please go back to the records of all first sessions. What’s your response to the politics of poaching in Karnataka and Maharashtra?It’s a free country. People haven’t been abducted. But, tell me, if someone is a good Congress worker, how must he be feeling in the last two months? There is no party president. Have you seen such kind of paralysis? We won and after winning, appointed J P Nadda our working president. He is touring states and our national executive and MPs are meeting. If we are active and they are inactive, why will people stay with them? Will the rise in tiger population lead to increased human-animal conflict?Animals mainly emerge from their habitats due to shortage of water, fodder (prey). We have taken up water-fodder (prey) augmentation. Since most rivers are born in forest areas, watershed development programmes can help restrict animals to their habitats. We will start contour trenching next summer. In case of tigers, there is an issue of territory and protecting their corridors. We have decided to allocate additional land for compensatory afforestation in tiger corridors to avoid human-tiger conflict. Delhi has recorded a decline in level of PM10 since 2016, but pollution in other cities has worsened. Why?Pollution has compounded because of population, congestion and waste generation. Delhi showed results because of concentrated efforts: the eastern and western peripheral expressway; closing down of Badarpur thermal power plant; making brick kilns compliant to zigzag technology; leapfrogging from BS-IV to BS-VI fuel; implementing dust mitigation measures and many other actions in coordination with NCR states. Now, we have made city-specific plans for 102 polluted cities after studying the kind of pollution that afflicts them. Will India raise its climate action (nationally determined contributions) ambition under Paris Agreement?If someone’s a disciplined student, he shouldn’t be punished for being disciplined. Every climate action has a cost. We have declared ambitious NDCs and are walking the talk. What is your key message ahead of the next climate change meet?First, they (developed countries) profited by emitting greenhouse emissions. Now, they want to profit by cleaning the world. I cannot allow profit from disaster. The (developed) world must answer three things: What are their advance commitments to Kyoto Protocol (2013-20 period). What is the progress of their declared NDCs. And, what about commitments of those who are out of the Paris Agreement? The I&B ministry is promoting Doordarshan aggressively, but this has led to concerns among private sports channels over Prasar Bharati demanding free clean feed. Is this fair?Public broadcasting is public money. When you spend money, you should get a good experience. We‘ve to be competitive to make ourselves relevant so that people should switch to the 22 channels we have. That’s our challenge… I’ve bifurcated the management and editorial and sanctioned creation of a post of creative heads for each of these channels. Will the govt formulate an online content policy? Also, what about the plan to set up a social media hub?Social media hub is for the welfare of the nation and to take government programmes to the people. Social media is a platform through which we not only give government ads but also convey messages. The idea is to organise information properly. As far as online content is concerned, we do not control it. That is in the realm of the ministry of IT and the IT Act. Prasar Bharati, Press Council and BARC do not do this. TV and print media self-regulate, we have CBFC for films. We’re not contemplating any new law in this area.
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