The ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) may look for private sector participation in the Rs 46,000-crore Green India Mission (GIM) and is set for operational convergence with other schemes such as the the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) and the rural job programme.
The ambitious project plans to increase the country’s forest cover by 10 million hectares (ha). The fund-starved mission is looking for approval of Rs 13,000 crore for the 12th Plan period, including convergence with the Mahatma Gandhi National Employment Rural Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) and the CAMPA and a plan outlay.
“In certain phases of the project like in agro-forestry, the government may look for public private partnerships. This would be basically for supply of quality seeds and to provide a market place for farmers in agro-forestry, from big and small corporates. However, the plan is still in its initial stages,” said an official close to the development. If implemented, this would be the first time private players are roped in for the green project.
GIM is one of the eight missions under the National Action Plan on Climate Change that aims to increase forest and tree cover on 5 million ha, improve quality of forest cover or create new forests on another 5 million ha by 2020.
The convergence of GIM with other projects would help the government develop the scheme on a cluster basis. The proposal is set to come up for consideration of the expenditure finance committee within a month.
The proposal seeks convergence worth Rs 4,000 crore with MGNREGA, Rs 6,000 crore with CAMPA. The Planning Commission has already provided an outlay of Rs 2,000 crore for 12th Plan. The mission got Rs 200 crore in 2012-13 from the National Clean Energy Fund for preparatory activities.
As of now, 71 landscapes or clusters across 21 states are identified for the project and the state governments are in the process of identifying more landscapes. “The project proposes to converge the soil, water and afforestation of MGNREGA and eco-restoration and regeneration activities under CAMPA, in the mission landscapes. Each of these clusters is identified on the basis on bio-physical and socio-economic criteria,” said another official close to the development.
While it was the mandate of the Plan panel to raise funds for the project initially, later the government had to raise it. In order to run the project, the MoEF had even knocked the apex court doors to seek permission to use CAMPA. Under the scheme, about Rs 49.95 crore was released to 21 states for carrying out preparatory activities in the identified landscapes under the GIM.