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Centre mulls giving 90 per cent afforestation fund to states

Times of India, New Delhi, 25 Mar, 2015

MUMBAI: In a bid to boost afforestation activities, the Centre is mulling to hand over 90 per cent of the Rs 36,000 crore compensatory afforestation management funds directly to all the states, Union minister Prakash Javadekar said.


The fund was created from the penalties collected from corporates for not meeting the mandatory compensatory afforestation drives.


"We want to pass on Rs 33,000 crore or 90 per cent of the compensatory afforestation management fund worth Rs 36,000 crore directly to the states to boost the environment activities across the country," the Union minister of state for environment, forests and climate change said during an Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC) event here late this evening.


The minister, however, said that for the funds to be directly transferred to the state, the Forests Act has to be amended. The Centre is also planning to bring in a new set of regulations by amending the existing ones.


"We are planning to introduce the new set of laws and regulations during the second part of the ongoing Budget session. The idea is to ensure concrete action for greening the forests in degraded forest land," Javadekar told PTI on the sidelines of the event.


The minister outlined the blueprint on policy measures by his ministry and the government while addressing the gathering earlier.


Stressing optimum use of advancing technology, he said, "We want to incorporate latest technology to change environment protection via focused regulatory mechanism through three pertinent measures namely, round the clock pollution monitoring of 3,026 industrial units in the seven most polluting sectors; leveraging satellite technology to monitor projects, and finally GPS-based management monitoring and compliance regime to ensure implementation."


Talking about the initiatives being undertaken by the government towards maintaining a balance between development and ecology, he said, "We are in mission mode, not commission mode. With our clean water, clean air, clean energy mission, we are determined to change and allow growth on one hand and protect the environment on the other."


"We will be going to the upcoming Paris Agreement on climate change in December with a positive agenda with a view to increasing the energy efficiency by 20-25 per cent in all sectors," he added.