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Cabinet clears Rs 13,000 crore project to increase forest cover (Feb.)


The Times of India, Feb 20, 2014,  New Delhi


NEW DELHI: The government finally on Thursday approved a much awaited 'Green India Mission' proposal of the ministry of environment and forests as a "centrally sponsored scheme" to increase forest cover in the country and sanctioned Rs 13,000 crore for this purpose.

The government took this decision in the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), chaired by the prime minister Manmohan Singh, on Thursday morning.

"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, CAMPA and the NAP", said an official statement of the ministry of environment and forest (MoEF).

It said the sharing pattern for the plan outlay would be 90% by the Centre and 10% by 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, it added.

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.

"Mission implementation will be on a decentralized participatory approach with involvement of grass root level organizations in planning, decision making, implementation and monitoring", said an official.

The gram sabha and the committees mandated by the gram sabha will oversee implementation at the village level.

Revamped Forest Development Agency (FDA) under the Chair of an elected representative at district/division level, revamped State Forest Development Agency with a Steering Committee chaired by the Chief Secretary and an Executive Committee chaired by the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests at the State/U.T. level, a Governing Council, chaired by the Minister Environment and Forests and a National Executive Council chaired by the Secretary (E&F) and co-chaired by the DGF&SS with the Mission Director as the Member Secretary at the national level will facilitate Mission implementation.

"A multidisciplinary team, both from Govt. and NGOs will be mandated to facilitate planning and implementation at cluster/landscape unit level", said the MoEF in its cabinet note.