New Delhi: Ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, the UPA government has decided to push a Rs 46000 crore ambitious mission to increase forest cover in the country.
Environment Minister M Veerappa Moily said the Union Cabinet will consider tomorrow the Green
India Mission, one of the eight missions under the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC), to increase forest cover on five million hectares of forest/non-forest land and improve quality of forest cover on another 5 million hectares.
"We will be spending Rs 46000 crore for the gradual increase of forest year by year. It is a targeted project which will be very effectively monitored. It will be coming up in tomorrow`s Cabinet," he told reporters here.
According to officials, the Mission will be implemented by the state governments through an autonomous organisational structure reducing red tape and rigidity, while ensuring accountability.
"There will be an effective central-level monitoring system. There will be third party monitoring system also," Moily said.
The government`s decision to adopt an effective monitoring system comes in the wake of criticism that the Environment Ministry failed to effectively implement several afforestation programme.
In its report presented to Lok Sabha yesterday, a parliamentary panel, chaired by Francisco Sardinha, expressed concern over the way a Rs 3044 crore National Afforestation Programme (NAP) is being implemented.
Though the NAP, launched in 2002, was aimed at increasing and improving tree cover, the forest cover of the country has decreased by 367 sq km during the period 2009 to 2011, the Committee on Estimates has said.
Moily said the government would release Rs 13000 crore in the first phase to implement the programme in four years time.
Officials said mission proposes to take a holistic view of greening, not merely focus on plantations to meet carbon sequestration targets. There is a clear focus on enhancing livelihood of local people, biodiversity, restoring ecosystems and habitat diversity.