PM’s council on climate change gives nod to green mission

PM’s council on climate change gives nod to green mission

New Delhi: The Prime Minister’s council on climate change has given its approval to the national mission for a green India, which is aimed at increasing forest cover in the country.

“The Mission aims at increasing the quantity and quality of 10 million hectares of forest area, achieving an annual CO2 (carbon dioxide) sequestration of 50 to 60 million tonnes by 2020," the environment ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

It will also focus on improvement of ecosystem services, including biodiversity, hydrological services and carbon sequestration.

The mission, which proposes to increase tree cover on five million hectares of forested and non-forested land and improve quality of forest cover on another 5 million hectares, also aims at increasing forest-based livelihood income for 3 million forest dependent families.

It is one of the eight missions under India’s national action plan on climate change (NAPCC).

The ministry said that at the local level, the gram sabha will be responsible for facilitating the mission, which also emphasizes on the landscape-based approach.

“The Mission will tackle forest and non-forested areas at the same time, in areas of 5000 to 6000 hectares at a time," it said.

Compliance with the Forest Rights Act, 2006 has been made an essential element of the mission implementation.

“As part of conditions of the Mission, it is proposed that no funds will be released to agencies until the Act is complied with. Committees set-up by the Gram Sabha under FRA will be centrally engaged as part the institutional landscape for implementation of the Mission," the ministry said.

The mission, which has been finalized after extensive consultation, was broadly welcomed and has received several useful inputs from members of the Prime Minister’s council, the statement said.

The members emphasized the need to quantify the value of ecosystem services -- the non-carbon benefits-- of the mission, it said.

“To ensure good monitoring of the mission, it was suggested that the capacity of gram sabhas and panchayati raj institutions must be built up. A polycentric approach, instead of a ‘one size fits all´ approach, was emphasized," the Ministry said.

Suggestions were also made regarding the convergence and collaboration of the mission with other government schemes like the MNREGA, and other ministries, especially ministry of new and renewable energy, ministry of water resources, and ministry of agriculture.