New Delhi: India plans on doubling its afforestation eco-restoration efforts in the next 10 years, with the primary objective of reducing emissions.
The Green India Mission document, still in draft format, was published on Sunday by the ministry of environment and forests. Public consultations on the mammoth mission, which will cost Rs44,000 crore over the next decade and afforest and restore 10 million ha of land, begin on 11 June, across the country, after which it will be finalized.
The forestry mission is under the umbrella of the National Action Plan on Climate Change, which was released in June 2008.
Under this mission, afforested areas will go up to 20 million ha by 2020, reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 6.35%. Without the mission, GHG reductions would be 1.5% less.
The mission also has targets for different types of forests, such as moderately dense forests, degraded forests, grassland and scrub, mangroves, urban forest land and even degraded agricultural and fallow land.
The mission is looking at key roles for local communities and decentralized governance for the implementation.
“Gram sabha and its various committees/groups including joint forest management committees, ‘van panchayats’, etc., would be strengthened as institutions of decentralized forest governance,” the draft says.
This is, however ,not the first time the government is initiating afforestation programmes.
“First, this is too vague to be meaningful. The operational guidelines etc, would have to be spelled out more clearly. The most fundamental aspect of any such measure would be the institutional structure,” said Shankar Gopalakrishnan, secretary, Campaign for Survival and Dignity, an activist group.