One of the positive things to have happened in 2020 is the improvement in air quality during most part of the year. The year showed us how and why the air quality deteriorates and also gave us the solution to the problem. Month long lockdown brought a dramatic improvement in quality of air we breathe and the water in the sea and rivers. However, as the life started returning to normalcy, it was ‘things as usual’ for environment. So, year 2020 showed us that we are living in poor environment conditions because of our own choice and no one else need to be blamed.
Year 2020 is also witness to some other interesting events and happenings:
Unregistered architects cannot be stopped from taking up practice
The Supreme Court in a judgment held that section 37 of the Architects Act, 1972, does not prohibit individuals not registered under the act from taking up the practice of architecture and its related activities. The court further explained that the legislature chose to define an “architect” as an individual registered under the Architects Act, and not as an individual practising architecture or its related activities. Thus, the legislature limited the regulatory regime created by the Architects Act to the first class of individuals.
India to have 200 urban forests in next five years
On the occasion of World Environment Day on 5th June, the government announced implementation of the ‘Urban Forest’ (Nagar van) scheme to develop 200 Urban Forests across the country in next five years with a renewed focus on people’s participation and collaboration between Forest Department, Municipal bodies, NGOs, Corporates and local citizens. In view of the prevalent situation due to COVID-19 pandemic the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change held virtual celebrations of World Environment Day on this year’s theme, that is, biodiversity, with focus on Urban Forests.
Urban Learning Internship Program for fresh Graduates launched
The government launched an online portal for `The Urban Learning Internship Program (TULIP)’ – A program for providing internship opportunities to fresh graduates in all Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) and Smart Cities across the country. TULIP is a program for providing fresh graduates experiential learning opportunities in the urban sector.
Infosys aims to become net-zero carbon emitter by 2040
Infosys, second largest IT company in India, will become net-zero carbon emitter across all their businesses by 2040, well before the Paris Climate Agreement’s goal of 2050. The company recently signed up for ‘The Climate Pledge,’ committing to achieve net-zero carbon emissions across its businesses by 2040, making it the first Indian company to make such a commitment. The Climate Pledge is an initiative taken by e-commerce giant Amazon and Global Optimism, a Great Britain-based company with a focus on action against climate change.
Its dead end for Amaravati Capital city project
Andhra Pradesh government performed the last rites of Amaravati Capital City Project in July by abolishing the Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority (APCRDA). Amaravati Capital City project, an ambitious project of the erstwhile Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, N Chandrababu Naidu, saw its fortunes changing when the government changed after the state Assembly elections last year. The new Chief Minister was not in favour of the project and had decided to scrap the master plan and move the administrative capital to Visakhapatnam in January this year. As per the decision taken by the state government, Andhra will have three separate capitals – the executive capital at Visakhapatnam, legislative capital at Amaravati and a judicial capital.
Government plans to develop a furniture cluster
Furniture making is one area where the government is aiming to kill many birds with single stone. Under the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat Mission’, the government is working to develop a furniture cluster near a port where common facilities for testing, research, design and packaging can be provided. Such a cluster would help furniture manufacturing on a large scale to meet domestic requirements and push India into the global furniture trade market.
Maharashtra notifies unifies DCR applicable across the state
In a move that would give big boost to the real estate sector in the state, the Urban Development Department of Maharashtra Government notified the Unified Development Control and Promotion Regulations (UDCPR) applicable for municipal corporations, planning authorities, special planning authorities, municipalities and nagar panchayats excluding Mumbai civic body, NAINA, MIDC, Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust and other authorities. According to the notification, these regulations would not be applicable to the town planning scheme area. With the unified regulations all the development control regulations and special regulations which were in operation would cease to operate.
Setback for new Parliament building project
Central government’s ambitious Central Vista project faced a setback when the Supreme Court ordered stoppage of construction work till the pronouncement of final verdict. The SC, however, granted permission to the Centre to proceed with the foundation stone-laying ceremony of the Central Vista project while noting that no demolition, construction, or felling of trees shall be carried out at the Central Vista site as of now. The Prime Minister laid foundation stone for the project on 10th December.