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Environment Ministry releases Rs 47,436 crore for afforestation to various states

The Union Ministry of Environment has released Rs 47,436 crore of CAMPA funds to various states for afforestation projects.

Aug 30, 2019 12:03 IST
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Afforestation

The Union Ministry of Environment has released Rs 47,436 crore of CAMPA funds to various states for afforestation projects. The transferred funds will not affect the state budget for forests, it will be an additional fund. The funds were handed over by Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar.

The Environment Ministry has released the additional fund to the states to give a boost to forestry activities to achieve the objectives of the Nationally-Determined Contributions (NDCs) of increasing forest and tree cover. The increase in forest and tree cover will create an additional carbon sink equivalent to 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide by the year 2030.

The Environment Minister said that the funds will be used for compensatory afforestation, wildlife management, improvement of wildlife habitat, assisted natural regeneration, soil and moisture conservation works in the forest, catchment area treatment, forest fire prevention and control operations, management of biological diversity and biological resources and research in forestry and monitoring of CAMPA works.

Prakash Javadekar emphasized that the CAMPA funds cannot be used for payment of salary, travelling allowances and medical expenses.

What is CAMPA: Background

The Supreme Court ordered for the establishment of Compensatory Afforestation Fund and Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) in 2001. This was after the top court observed that the funds collected for afforestation were underutilized by the states.

The court ordered for central pooling of funds under the Compensatory Afforestation Fund. The National Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (National CAMPA) was set up to manage the fund.

In 2009, states set up State CAMPAs, which receive 10 percent of the funds from National CAMPA for afforestation and forest conservation activities. In the same year, the apex court also permitted the release of Rs 1000 crore every year to States/UTs for compensatory afforestation and other activities. 

However, in 2013, a CAG report noted that the funds continued to be underutilized. The Compensatory Afforestation Fund Bill 2015 was then introduced by the government in Lok Sabha in May 2015 to regulate the collected funds. The bill was then sent for examination under a standing committee and it was passed by Rajya Sabha in July 2016.

With the approval of the Supreme Court in January 2019, after notification of CAF Rules, an amount worth Rs.54,685 crore from Ad-hoc CAMPA was brought under the control of the Union Government.

Overall, 27 States and UTs have created accounts for receiving the government funds and those states will be the beneficiary of the additional funds announced by the government. The fund shall be utilized as per the provisions of the CAF Act and CAF Rules.

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