Lok Sabha on 3 May 2016 passed the Compensatory Afforestation Fund bill, 2015 that seeks to establish setting up of a National Compensatory Afforestation Fund and also a State Compensatory Afforestation Fund.
The bill paves the way for unlocking of nearly 41000 crore rupees earmarked for forest land which is lying unspent.
It was introduced in the Parliament (Lok Sabha) for the first time on 8 May 2015.
Highlights of the Bill
• The Bill establishes the National Compensatory Afforestation Fund under the Public Account of India, and a State Compensatory Afforestation Fund under the Public Account of each state.
• These Funds will receive payments for: (a) compensatory afforestation, (b) net present value of forest (NPV), and (c) other project specific payments. The National Fund will receive 10 percent of these funds, and the State Funds will receive the remaining 90 percent.
• These Funds will be primarily spent on afforestation to compensate for loss of forest cover, regeneration of forest ecosystem, wildlife protection and infrastructure development.
• The Bill also establishes the National and State Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authorities to manage the National and State Funds.
A High Level Committee on Environment Laws observed that quality of forest cover has declined between 1951 and 2014, with poor quality of compensatory afforestation plantations being one of the reasons behind the decline.
A 2013 CAG report noted that state forest departments lack the planning and implementation capacity to carry out compensatory afforestation and forest conservation. With the share of funds transferred to states increasing from 10 percent to 90 percent, effective utilisation of these funds will depend on the capacity of state forest departments.
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What: Passed in Lok Sabha
When: 3 May 2016