Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has initiated several measures in past three years towards achieving sustainable development through green pathway.
Adhering to the objectives of the National Forrest Policy the MoEFFC has set out the road map to increase the forest cover to 33 percent of the geographical area. Green India Mission aims to reforest barren land with the annual target of increasing the forest quality and cover in 5 million hectares.
In order address the problem of decreasing forest cover, and to compensate the forests lost for the development purposes, Compensatory Afforestation Bill was passed in the Parliament in 2016 to utilise Rs 42,000 crore. This fund was accumulated from the levies realised from the forests diverted for non forestry purposes.
This facilitates utilisation of the funds for conservation, improvement of forests in a transparent manner. The central government has initiated steps to converge various forestry activities with Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme. This will generate 15 crore man days of direct employment in the tribal dominated interior forest areas of the country.
These programmes will be implemented through participation of people, especially joint forest management programmes and village forest committees or van suraksha samitis.
As the country is getting urbanised, the central government has launched novel scheme of creating urban forestry known as Nagar Vana Udyan Yojana. A minimum of 25 hectares of forests will created in the city. This will meet the recreational needs as well as act as the lungs by purifying the air from vehicular pollution. This is also linked to the Schools Nursery Yojana that aims to build lasting bond between students and nature.
The Protected Areas of National Parks and Wild Life Sanctuaries play very important role in conservation of biodiversity and securing the habitat of wild life. In order to reduce the pressure on these protected areas, 275 Eco Sensitive Zones (ESZs) have been approved and accordingly notification has been issued to implement the policy.
India is facing the brunt of climate change on a large scale. The severe weather conditions with rise of temperatures above normal during the month of March in 2017 and severe water shortages have adversely affected the food production.
One of the main drivers of climate change is the emission of carbon due to the increased use of fossil fuel energy sources. It is predicted that the country may lose up to 1.7 per cent of GDP if the temperature increases by 1 degree Celsius. In order to arrest this trend India has voluntarily agreed to reduce the carbon emission intensity of its GDP by 33 to 35 per cent by 2030 at 2005 level.
While launching India’s Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) on Gandhi Jayanti Day on 2nd October 2015 Prime Minister gave a call for ‘convenient action’ in order to deal with ‘ inconvenient truth’ of climate change.
India is faced with the double challenge of meeting the demands of the development to reach its poorest groups and follow the low carbon emission pathway. In order to achieve this it is anchored on the premise of sustainable lifestyles and climate justice to protect the interests of vulnerable groups.
What is the roadmap to reach this goal? A low carbon economy will require a paradigm shift in the way energy is produced and used in different sectors of the economy. The INDC set the target of producing 40 per cent of electric power from non fossil fuel based sources.
The formation of Rs 3500 million or US Dollar 56 million ‘National Adaptation Fund’ will initiate policies towards renewable energy though multiple initiatives to achieve the target of reducing carbon emissions. The main focus is to revisit the National Missions under National Action for Climate Change (NAPCC) with additional missions on wind, health, water and redesigning missions on sustainable agriculture.
While policies are geared towards clean and renewable energy sources, it also calls for energy efficiency, promotion of waste to wealth, green transportation and enhancing carbon sink through increase in the forest cover.
Green India mission under NAPCC is implementing the plan to plant 10 million hectares by 2030. This will create additional carbon sinks to the tune of 2.5 billion tons.
A National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change has been established to assist state level activities to meet the cost of adaptation. A sum of Rs 331 crores has been allocated for sixteen states to implement the adaptation programmes.
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© 2016 State Times Daily Newspaper