Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said the Compensatory Afforestation Fund (CAF) Bill, 2015 passed by the Lok Sabha today will help achieve the target of increasing the country's forest cover to 33 per cent.
"I am sure that this fund will give a tremendous push in our afforestation movement. Our forest cover will dramatically increase and it will result in achieving our target 33 per cent of tree cover and most importantly 2.5 billion tonne of carbon sink as we have indicated in our INDCs," he told reporters outside Parliament.
He said the Bill will pave the way for unlocking of nearly Rs 41,000 crore earmarked for forest land which has been lying unspent for about four years.
It will ensure expeditious utilization of accumulated unspent amounts available with the ad hoc Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) which is presently around Rs 41,000 crore.
"This was the historic because for the last 12 years the funds meant for afforestation were deposited in only banks and were not used on the ground. Now this bill has facilitated that the money will be given to the states for using it on afforestation with better evaluation and monitoring by using technology," he said.
"We have taken note of every suggestion and we will include them while making rules in consultation with the states," the minister added.