New Delhi: The Union Cabinet today cleared the Compensatory Afforestation Fund (CAF) Bill 2015 which will pave the way for expeditious utilisation of funds realised for forest land diverted to non-forest purposes in transparent manner.
The Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave its approval to the Bill which will also ensure utilisation of accumulated unspent funds already available with Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA).
“The proposed legislation seeks to provide an appropriate institutional mechanism, both at the Centre and states and Union Territories to ensure expeditious utilisation in an efficient and transparent manner of amount, realised in lieu of forest land diverted for non-forest purpose. This would mitigate impact of diversion of such forest land,” an official statement said.
The Bill also ensures that there is a mechanism in place which would not put any additional expenditure on the central government.
It also provides for establishment of the National CAF and the state CAF to credit amounts collected by state governments and union territory administrations to compensate loss of forest land diverted for non-forest purpose.
“The proposed legislation will also ensure expeditious utilisation of accumulated unspent amounts available with the ad hoc Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA)…
“…which presently is of the order of Rs 38,000 crore, and fresh accrual of compensatory levies and interest on accumulated unspent balance, which will be of the order of approximately Rs 6,000 crore per annum, in an efficient and transparent manner,” the statement said.
The proposed legislation will also ensure safety, security and transparency in utilisation of these amounts, which currently are being kept in nationalised banks and are being managed by an ad-hoc body.
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