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Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change released the 'Guidelines for sustainable Ecotourism in forest and wildlife areas' on Saturday to promote a better understanding of nature and wildlife conservation.

As per a government statemen, the new guidelines will be applicable for sites falling in forests, wildlife areas and eco-sensitive zones.

“It will promote a better understanding of nature and wildlife conservation and help in generating livelihood opportunities for communities in those areas," said Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav on the new guidelines.

The guidelines advocate the engagement of local communities in a manner that enriches local economies and encourage sustainable use of indigenous material through financially viable value chains to help them in becoming self-reliant. They also promote partnership among stakeholders in the development of ecotourism as well as equitable sharing of benefits with local communities.

Significantly the creation of a foundation in each protected area and sharing of revenue with local communities has also been underscored in the guidelines.

The Union Environment Minister also released a field guide for monitoring "Ganges and Indus river dolphins, associated aquatic fauna and habitat".

Speaking about the field guide, the Minister noted, “by conserving dolphins, India will ensure the well-being of the entire aquatic ecosystem and the people dependent on it."

Through the field guide, the release said that for the first time a standardized monitoring protocol has been made and will be employed for synchronised dolphin enumeration exercise to be undertaken in the states of Assam, West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Punjab.

Notably, dolphin estimation is an important process and constituent of "Project Dolphin".

The Environment Minister also launched a web portal on the 'Wetlands of India Portal', which will act as single-point access to all information relating to wetlands.

Importantly, a dashboard for each state and Union Territory across the country has been developed to access the portal and populate it with information of wetlands in their administration.

The new web portal will also provide a monitoring mechanism at the national, state and district levels.

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