Introduction: The article is about CAMPA bill which is pending in the Rajya Sabha. Some features and implementation issues have been discussed below.
Topics:General Studies, Paper III
- The government is looking to set up a new institution called CAMPA - Compensatory Afforestation Management and Planning Authority.
- What is Compensatory Afforestation
- The simple principle at work here is that since forests are an important natural resource and render a variety of ecological services, they must not be destroyed.
- However, because of developmental or industrial requirements, forests are routinely cut, or diverted for non-forest purposes, in such cases, the Forest (Conservation) Act of 1980 requires that non-forest land, equal to the size of the forest being “diverted”, is afforested.
- Afforested land is expected to take no less than 50 years to start delivering comparable goods and services such as timber, bamboo, fuelwood, carbon sequestration, soil conservation, water recharge, and seed dispersal.
- To compensate for the loss in the interim, the law requires that the Net Present Value (NPV) of the diverted forest is calculated for a period of 50 years, and recovered from the “user agency” that is “diverting” the forests.
- “User agencies”, which are often private parties, are not expected to undertake afforestation work themselves. This work has to be done by the state government with entire expenditure to be borne by the user.
- CAMPA -
- It is to manage the money paid by the user, and to use it for the designated purposes, that CAMPA is proposed to be set up.
- The compensatory afforestation money and NPV are supposed to be collected from the user agency by the government of the state in which the project is located, and deposited with the central government.
- The money will eventually flow back to the state to be used for afforestation or related works.
- It seeks to create a national CAMPA at the central government level, and a state CAMPA in each state and UT. Similarly, a National Compensatory Afforestation Fund (CAF), and one in each state and UT too are sought to be created.
- The states would deposit money collected from user agencies with the national CAF, to be eventually credited into state CAFs as per their entitlement.
- The states would, however, receive only 90% of their share; the other 10% would be held back to cover administrative expenses.
- The Present mechanism:
- The Supreme Court directed in 2006 that an “ad hoc CAMPA” be set up till the final one is created.
- Initially, this ad hoc body was to be used only for receiving funds coming in from user agencies. It was not supposed to start disbursing money to the states.
- However, because of continuing delay in instituting the final CAMPA, the Supreme Court, in 2009, allowed the ad hoc body to release Rs 1,000 crore per year to states for the next five years.
- Later, in 2014, the court ordered that every state could draw 10% of the amount due to them per year.
- In the absence of the real CAMPA, which requires a new law, most of the Rs 40,000 crore is locked — and cannot be disbursed to states.
- Difficulties in implementation:
- The main difficulty has been the availability of non-forest land for afforestation.
- The law says the land selected should preferably be contiguous to the forest being diverted, so that it is easier for forest officials to manage it.
- But in case that is not possible, land in any other part of the state can be used for the purpose.
- If no suitable non-forest land is found, degraded forests can be chosen for afforestation, but in that case, twice the area of diverted forest has to be afforested.
- Still, there is difficulty in finding land, especially in smaller states, and in heavily forested ones like Chhattisgarh.
- The other point of contention has been the purposes for which the money can be used
- The fund was envisaged to be used only for “compensatory” afforestation, but the Bill before Parliament has expanded the list of works that this money can be utilised for, and includes the general afforestation programme run through the Green India Mission.
- Forest protection, forest management, forest and wildlife related infrastructure development, wildlife conservation, even facilitating the relocation of people from protected wildlife areas, are proposed to be made valid expenditure from this account.
- Critics say this will take the focus away from the prime objective of compensating for the forest cover lost to industrial or infrastructure development.
Growing industrialisation and developmental work is leading to cutting of forest and diversion of forest land towards non-forest work. In the light of this statement, discuss about the CAMPA bill and its operational difficulties.
- Start with the need to focus on forests and in brief write about the present mechanism.
- Highlight main features of the CAMPA bill.
- Discuss the operational difficulties.
- Suggest measures, in brief, to overcome those difficulties.
Source: The Indian Express