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Govt to clear Rs 13,000 crore fund for Green India Mission tomorrow

NEW DELHI: Government may on Thursday clear Rs 13,000 crore fund for its much awaited 'Green India Mission' which aims at enhancing carbon sinks through large scale afforestation across the country. 

The Mission is part of the Centre's plan to fight climate change by increasing the forest cover by 10 million hectare in the next 10 years at the cost of total Rs 46,000 crore. It is one of the eight missions under the National Action Plan on Climate Change. 

Environment and forest minister M Veerappa Moily on Wednesday said the Union Cabinet will on Thursday consider the 
Green India Mission(GIM). 

He said the government would release Rs 13,000 crore in the first phase to implement the programme in four years time. 

"We will be spending Rs 46,000 crore for the gradual increase of forest year by year. It is a targeted project... There will be an effective central-level monitoring system. There will be third party monitoring system as well," Moily said. 

It is learnt that the ministry of environment and forest (MoEF) has also proposed in its Cabinet draft the convergence of GIM projects with schemes like Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee (MNREGA) and 
Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA). 

Whenever forest land is to be diverted for non-forestry purpose, user agencies have to provide equivalent "non-forest land" as per availability and "funds" (prescribed estimated amount) for carrying out compensatory afforestation. The money contributed by these agencies for planting trees goes to the Compensatory Afforestation Fund (CAF). 

The GIM may be benefitted from the convergence as the CAF during 2006-12 grew from Rs 1,200 crore to Rs 23,608 crore. 

The fund for the Mission is also expected to be derived from the 'Corporate Social Responsibility' kitty which may get money from the private companies that are expected to share a certain percentage of the total cost of projects for different social works. 

Though the Mission had got 'in-principle' approval of the government over two years ago, it could not take off due to paucity of fund. 

Rs 13,000 crore amount for the GIM, which is to get the Cabinet nod, is meant for the 12th five year plan period (2012-17). Since two years of the current plan period was almost over, the proposed fund has the provision of one year spillover in the 13th plan period. 

The Mission plan is designed in such a way that it could respond to climate change by a combination of adaptation and mitigation measures. Besides increasing the forest cover, it will also be meant for improving entire ecosystem and increasing forest-based livelihood income for 30 lakh forest dependent households in different parts of the country. 

"Creating a new cadre of community youth as foresters from scheduled tribes and other forest dwelling communities is also one of the key areas of the Mission", said an official of the MoEF.

The Times of India (19-02-2014)