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My notes 01-10-2015

Compensatory afforestation fund bill

  1. Compensatory Afforestation Fund Bill is meant to manage and utilise thousands of crores of rupees that have been collected over the years as compensation for diverting forest land for “non-forest purposes” like setting up industries or infrastructure projects.
  2. An “institutional mechanism” will replace the Compensatory Afforestation Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) that currently exists but only in an “ad-hoc” manner. This ad-hoc CAMPA was created on the directions of a 2004 Supreme Court order, after its earlier order to establish a full-fledged CAMPA had not been complied with.
  3. The proposed legislation also seeks to provide safety, security and, transparency in utilisation of these amounts, which currently are being kept in nationalised banks and are being managed by an ad-hoc body. These amounts would be brought within broader focus of both Parliament and state legislatures and in greater public view, by transferring them to non-lapsable interest bearing funds, to be created under public accounts of the Union of India and each state.

Criticism of the bill

Threat of fragmentation -

  1.  It may lead to increasing diversion of forests in the name of development.The result is fragmentation, that is, the breaking up of large forest blocks into smaller and more vulnerable patches.
  2.  It is a n is one of the most serious threats to long-term biodiversity conservation, causing several devastating impacts; i.e, it disrupts landscape connectivity, affecting dispersal of animals, and creates new edges that expose forests to exploitation and severe degradation. For ex- The afforestation undertaken by the e Kudremukh Iron Ore Company Limited (KIOCL)  in the heart of Karnataka’s Kudremukh National Park, damaged the fragile eco system consisting of grassland and replacesd with plants with zero bio diversity value.

Poor results

  1. The empirical evidence shows that, there is a poor outcome from the previous afforestation programmes. In maharashtra alone, only 13% is successful between 2004-14.The 2500 cr allocations under 12th FYP, has failed to show the results. So, the Government shall consider reclamation of degraded forests, rather than spending on afforestation

Lost in a forest of Bad ideas

  1. The premise of compensation is that of a trade off - environmental concerns will be sacrificed for developmental projects.
  2. It also believes that forests are replaceble fairly easily.
  3. The bill stresses on reforestation through artifical plantations. So, it fails to see forests as systems of bio diversity and fails to understand ecological restoration.
  4. So, Instead of creating artificial forests, the existing funds can be used for restoring the existing forest land. Other critical eco systems such as marine areasm birding areas, coastal areas and high altitude grasslands can also be rejuvinated.
  5. CAMPA money can be used for Conservation of endangered species too.

 

 

The Compensatory Afforestation Fund Bill, 2015

  • The Compensatory Afforestation Fund Bill, 2015 was introduced in Lok Sabha by the Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Mr. Prakash Javadekar on May 8, 2015.  The Bill seeks to establish funds at the national and state level to receive money collected for compensatory afforestation.
  • Compensatory afforestation is defined as afforestation done in lieu of the diversion of forest land for non forest use under the Forests (Conservation) Act, 1980.
  • Creation of Compensatory Afforestation Funds: The Bill seeks to establish a permanent National Compensatory Afforestation Fund under the public account of India.  It also allows states to establish State Compensatory Afforestation Funds.  
  • The National Fund will be under the central government, and managed by a National Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA).  The central government will appoint a State CAMPA in each state.  The State CAMPA will be responsible for the management of the State Fund.
  • Sources of funds: At present, an ad hoc National CAMPA and ad hoc State CAMPAs, established by government orders, receive money collected for compensatory afforestation.  Once the National Fund is created, money collected by state governments which has been placed with the existing National CAMPA will be transferred to the National Fund.  Other sources of funds for the National Fund will be: (i) 10% of the funds collected for compensatory afforestation by states each year; and (ii) grants-in-aid/other sums received by, and loans/borrowings taken by the National CAMPA.
  • The major sources of funds for the State Fund will be: (i) unspent balances lying with existing State CAMPAs; (ii) money transferred from the National Fund to the State Funds (90% of the money transferred from the existing National CAMPA to the National Fund); (iii) money received for compensatory afforestation; and (iv) grants-in-aid/other sums received by, and loans/borrowings taken by the State CAMPA.
  • The balance with both funds will be non-lapsable and get interest as per a rate declared by the central government on a yearly basis.
  • Utilisation of funds: The money in the National Fund will be used to meet expenditure for the management of the National CAMPA, and on schemes approved by the National CAMPA.
  • The money in the State Fund will be used for the following purposes: (i) site-specific schemes implemented by the state; (ii) artificial regeneration, forest management and wildlife protection; and (iii) protection and conservation activities in protected areas under the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972. 
  • If the diversion of forest land affects multiple states, the National CAMPA may order that money be transferred to one of those states.
  • Composition and functions of Authorities:  The National CAMPA will consist of a governing body, an executive committee, and a monitoring group, in addition to an administrative support mechanism. 
  • The governing body will be responsible for formulating the broad policy framework for the functioning of the National CAMPA.  The executive committee will be responsible for the approval of annual plans of State CAMPAs and the formulation and implementation of schemes approved by the governing body.  The monitoring group will be responsible for the monitoring and evaluation of works implemented by states and fund utilisation by the CAMPAs.
  • The State CAMPA will consist of a governing body, a steering committee, and an executive committee.  The governing body, chaired by the Chief Minister of the state, will be responsible for formulating the broad policy framework for the State CAMPA, within the overall framework laid out by the National CAMPA.  The executive committee will be responsible for formulating the annual plan of operations, after obtaining the approval of the steering committee.  The executive committee will also monitor works funded by the State Fund, and invest the surplus amounts available with the State Fund.

 

From <http://www.prsindia.org/billtrack/the-compensatory-afforestations-fund-bill-2015-3782/>

IS terror at the doorstep?

 

  1. An Italian Cesare Tavella is killed in Bangladesh by the claimants to Islamic state. This is a warning sign on the entry of Islamic state in to south Asia and the radicalization of minorities.
  2. The growing hindu right wing extremism, communal polarisaiton, social media, growth of internet providing an effective ground for spread of this.
  3. The only solution to fight out this is removing the roots of disaffection, growing intolerance, securing the private spaces etc. It mean that an anti terror strategy shalll be built on a social foundation.

 

Fighting naxals tactics

  1. Communication - solar powered mobile phone towers are installed in maoist effected areas for faster and better communication.
  2. Improving road and mobile connectivity will definitely end the isolation of villages and can wean out the influence of armed groups.
  3. heavy deployment of forces made the tribals to conceive the state as an external agency trying to extend it s authority rather than a tool for their development. To check this, real development in terms of improving health, education need to be focussed.
  4. Democratic institutions shall take a deep root in many of the villages and they shall be made a party to the developmental process.

 

 

Sharif proposals - 4 step peace plan

 

  1. Ending the firing at LOC, Formalise and respect 2003 ceasefire under the verification of UN  military observer group
  2. No use of force agreement
  3. Demilitarise kashmir
  4. Mutually withdraw troops from the siachen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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