February 20, 2014

Govt clears plan to create new forest cover

Facing criticism of ignoring environmental concerns in rush to clear projects, Government on Thursday cleared a plan to create new forest cover and improve the quality of existing forests with an expenditure of Rs 13,000 crore in the 12th Plan.
Besides the two components, which are to be implemented through various measures including decentralisation of forest governance, the proposed National Mission for a Green India (GIM) as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme will also strive to achieve increased forest-based livelihood income of households living in and around the forests.
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday approved the proposal of the Ministry of Environment and Forests. The objectives of the Mission during 12th Plan period includes increased forest/tree cover and improved quality of forest cover in two to eight million hectares, along with improved ecosystem services including biodiversity, hydrological services, increased forest-based livelihood income of households, living in and around the forests, and enhanced annual CO2 sequestration (process of capture and long term storage of CO2).
Of the total expenditure of Rs 13,000 crore envisaged in the 12th Plan, the plan outlay is Rs 2000 crore. The source of funding for the scheme would be from the Plan outlay, and convergence with MGNREGA activities, Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) and the National Afforestation Programme (NAP).
"The sharing pattern for the plan outlay would be 90 for Centre and 10 State for the North Eastern States and 75 Centre and 25 State for the rest of the States. The 13th Finance Commission grant funds may be counted towards the States' share, to the extent that this is in conformity with the Commission's award," a government release said.
Mission implementation will be on a decentralized participatory approach with involvement of grass root level organisations in planning, decision making, implementation and monitoring. The gram sabha and the committees mandated by the gram sabha, including revamped Jont Forest Management Committees will oversee implementation at the village level.