Cabinet approves changes in bill on afforestation
Jun 02, 2016
Union Cabinet gave its approval to move official amendments in the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Bill (CAMPA), 2015.
What is CAMPA
The CAMPA Bill is meant to promote afforestation and regeneration activities to compensate for forest land diverted to non-forest uses, by regulating and managing $5.3 billion (almost Rs.350 billion) collected over years.
What will this legislation ensure:
The legislation will ensure expeditious utilization of accumulated unspent amounts available with the ad hoc Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA), which presently is of the order of Rs.40,000 crore, and fresh accrual of compensatory levies and interest on accumulated unspent balance, which will be of the order of approx. Rs. 6,000 crore per annum, in an efficient and transparent manner.
Utilization of these amounts will facilitate timely execution of appropriate measures to mitigate impact of diversion of forest land, for which these amounts have been realised. Apart from mitigating the impact of diversion of forest land, utilisation of these amounts will result in creation of productive assets and generation of huge employment opportunities in the rural areas, especially the backward tribal areas.
- While according prior approval under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 for diversion of forest land for non-forest purpose, Central Government stipulates conditions that amounts shall be realised from the user agencies to undertake compensatory afforestation and such other activities related to conservation and development of forests, to mitigate impact of diversion of forest land.
- In compliance of Orders passed by the Hon'ble Supreme Court these amounts are deposited in the State-wise accounts operated by an Ad-hoc Authority consisting of two officials of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change one representative of the Comptroller and Auditor General and one representative of the Chairperson of the Central Empowered Committee.
- In the absence of permanent institutional mechanism more than Rs.40,000 crores have accumulated with the said ad-hoc Body.
- In order to provide for the establishment of funds under the public accounts of India and the public accounts of each State and crediting thereto the monies received from the user agencies towards compensatory afforestation, additional compensatory afforestation, penal compensatory afforestation, net present value and all other amounts recovered from such agencies under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 Central Government introduced the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Bill, 2015
- The Bill also provides for constitution of an authority at national level and at each of the State and Union territory Administration for administration of the funds and to utilise the monies so collected for undertaking artificial regeneration (plantations), assisted natural regeneration, protection of forests, forest related infrastructure development, Green India Programme, wildlife protection and other related activities and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.