A bill that may help Uttarakhand restore its forest

A fund under consideration in parliament will compensate for loss of forest cover

GN Bureau | May 3, 2016


#Environment   #Forests   #Uttarakhand Fire   #Fire   #Uttarakhand  


The forest fire which has been raging in Uttarakhand for the past few days has caused widespread destruction and has left environmentalists worried. The fire has undoubtedly caused extensive damage and the impact on wildlife is still being gauged.

In such a situation, a bill in parliament can provide some succour. The Compensatory Afforestation Fund Bill, 2015 will establish funds that will be primarily spent on afforestation to compensate for loss of forest cover, regeneration of forest ecosystem, wildlife protection and infrastructure development.

The bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha on May 8, 2015. It was referred to the Standing Committee on Science & Technology, Environment and Forests on May 21, 2015. The committee is scheduled to submit its report on the first day of the winter session of Rajya Sabha.
Here are the highlights of the bill
, courtesy PRS Legislative Research.


Satellite image of areas affected by Uttarakhand forest fire (image courtesy: Bhuvan)

Satellite image of areas affected by Uttarakhand forest fire (image courtesy: Bhuvan)


Highlights of the bill


•    The bill establishes the National Compensatory Afforestation Fund under the Public Account of India, and a State Compensatory Afforestation Fund under the Public Account of each state.

•    These funds will receive payments for: (i) compensatory afforestation, (ii) net present value of forest (NPV), and (iii) other project specific payments. The national fund will receive 10% of these funds, and the state funds will receive the remaining 90%.

•    These funds will be primarily spent on afforestation to compensate for loss of forest cover, regeneration of forest ecosystem, wildlife protection and infrastructure development.

•    The bill also establishes the National and State Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and planning authorities to manage the national and state funds.

Key issues and analysis
 

  • The Bill establishes the Funds for compensatory afforestation and forest conservation. However, there are several factors (other than administration of funds) which affect compensatory afforestation and forest conservation.

 

  • A 2013 CAG report noted that state forest departments lack the planning and implementation capacity to carry out compensatory afforestation and forest conservation. With the share of funds transferred to states increasing from 10% to 90%, effective utilisation of these funds will depend on the capacity of state forest departments.

 

  • Procuring land for compensatory afforestation is difficult as land is a limited resource, and is required for multiple purposes, such as agriculture, industry, etc. This is compounded by unclear land titles, and difficulties in complying with procedures for land use.

 

  • A High Level Committee on Environment Laws observed that quality of forest cover has declined between 1951 and 2014, with poor quality of compensatory afforestation plantations being one of the reasons behind the decline.

 

  • The Bill delegates the determination of NPV (value of loss of forest ecosystem) to an expert committee constituted by the central government. As NPV constitutes about half of the total funds collected, its computation methodology would be important.


The committee report’s summary, prepared by PRS Legislative Research, can be read here 

Read summary of the bill


Read text of the bill

 

Comments

 

Other News

Maharshtra braces to face Cyclone Nisarga

 Even as Mumbai fights challenges posed by COVID-19 on multiple fronts and as the  coronavirus cases continue to rise daily, the city now faces a double whammy with the cyclone ‘Nisarga’ slated to make the landfall in Maharashtra Wednesday. A state-wide alert has been issued for Mumba

Harnessing the demographic capital: how effective are skilling programmes?

Probing data concerning increased job creation and the decline in unemployment has been holding the attention of economists and been subject of discussions in several think tanks in the preceding months. The NITI Aayog reports that 3.53 million new jobs were created between September 2017 and February 2018

It`s time to Unlock now, with economic focus

With Lockdown 4 ending Sunday, the home ministry has issued new guidelines to fight COVID-19 and for phased re-opening of areas outside the Containment Zones. The guidelines, issued based on extensive consultations held with states and UTs, will be effective from June 1 till June 30. The first phase of reo

Small kitchen gardens turn saviours for Gujarat tribal families

When the whole world is fighting COVID-19, food and nutrition security has become a major issue. The pandemic has aggravated the existing food crisis in India, especially in rural and tribal regions. There has been less availability of fresh foods in most parts of the country, and the tribal community has

India will set example of post-Covid-19 economic revival: Modi

India is determined to “set an example” for the rest of the word in the post-pandemic economic revival, prime minister Narendra Modi has said, underling the need to become self-reliant. “There is also a widespread debate on how the economies of various countries, including

3,543 ‘Shramik Special’ trains transport 48 lakh people in 26 days

Close to 48 lakh migrant labourers have been able to reach home from the cities they were working in, as the Indian Railways have run a total of 3,543 “Sharmik Special” trains from May 1. Following the home ministry order regarding the movement by special trains of migrant worker



Archives

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter