NEW DELHI: Over 37,000 hectares of land has been approved for tree plantation under National Afforestation Programme (NAP), the Centre’s scheme for the development of forest areas, the Environment Ministry informed the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.
Minister of State for Environment Ashwini Kumar Choubey said the ministry has been making constant efforts to increase forest and tree cover and has taken several initiatives towards tree plantation activities in the country.
In response to a query in the House, he said 37,110 hectares of land has been approved in the last three years under the NAP.
The Environment Ministry has approved the merger of NAP into Green India Mission (GIM) and accordingly financial allocation for both the schemes is provided under one budgetary head so that the overall efforts are augmented, Choubey said.
“The budget allocation for the merged scheme has increased from Rs 160 crore in the year 2020-21 to Rs 220 crore during the year 2021-22,” he said.
“Afforestation programmes under various Centrally sponsored schemes of the ministry such as National Afforestation Programme and National Mission for a Green India are implemented with a participatory approach,” Choubey said.
The Lower House was told that the funds under Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority are used for forest and wildlife management related activities including compensatory afforestation.
Elaborating on other steps being taken by the government to increase tree plantation in the country, the minister said the ministry promotes tree plantation as a people’s movement through School Nursery Yojana and Nagar Van Yojana.
The Ministry of Environment has been implementing the NAP scheme since 2000-01 for ecological restoration of degraded forests and to develop the forest resources with peoples’ participation with a focus on improvement in livelihoods of the forest-fringe communities, especially the poor.
NAP aimed at supporting and accelerating the ongoing process of devolving forest conservation, protection, management and development functions to the Joint Forest Management Committees (JFMCs) at the village level.
The scheme was implemented by a three-tier institutional setup through the State Forest Development Agency at the state level, Forest Development Agency at the forest division level and JFMCs at the village level. —PTI