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  

(Photo Courtesy: www.indiawaterportal.org)

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

Stories to read over the weekend

At one time these pale rooms of the Delhi commission for women looked like sleepy corners of officialdom; they are now best described as a bustling sarkari office. The woman who transformed this moribund organisation hardly looks like a powerful leader. Dressed in casual blue jeans and loose deni

Tata Trusts, PFA to build state-of-the-art veterinary hospital

Tata Trusts and People For Animals (PFA) announced their collaboration to build a state-of-the-art, multi-specialty veterinary hospital and emergency clinic at Navi Mumbai to serve the needs of all domestic and farm animals at affordable rates.   The hospital will be built in Kala

The shot just got smarter

A long queue of women, infants in their arms, extends outside the immunisation room at the community health centre (CHC) in Bhangel village, Noida, a pink double-storey building beside a bustling market. Unmindful of the chit-chatting and baby babble, Mariamma Samuel, an auxiliary nurse-cum-midwi

Do you think fugitive industrialist Vijay Mallya will be extradited from Britain to India?

Do you think fugitive industrialist Vijay Mallya will be extradited from Britain to India?

Reform first, privatise later: Bibek Debroy to railways

Before privatisation and corporatisation, the Indian Railways need to undertake major reforms including commercial accounting, decentralisation and human resource among others, said Bibek Debroy, economist and member, NITI Aayog at Railways Reforms and Governance Conclave organised by Governance Now on Fri

NTPC plans for 32 GW installed capacity via renewable sources

NTPC Ltd has raised Rs 2,000 crore through green masala bonds in overseas market under its $4 billion medium term note programme, union minister Piyush Goyal informed the Lok Sabha. The proceeds of these bonds will be used for financing renewable energy projects in accordance with applicable

Video

हमेशा रहें चुनाव के लिए तैयार - मोदी ने कहा सांसदों से

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter