In August this year, the Compensatory Afforestation Fund (CAF) Act, 2016 has come into force. This act provides for setting up Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) at both central and state level to ensure expeditious and transparent utilization of amounts realised in lieu of forest land diverted for non-forest purpose.
The utilization of funds is expected to mitigate the impact of diversion of such forest land. The CAF Act will come into force from September 30, 2018.
Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Dr. Harsh Vardhan said that the release of fund to States will boost the efforts of the Government towards restoration and enhancement of forest wealth, enhance bio-richness, water availability and secure ecological security of the country, adding that this effort will help in creating the additional carbon sink to meet the nation’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent through additional forest and tree cover by the year 2030.
At present, more than Rs 40,000 crore has been realized and it is increasing at the rate of about Rs 6,000 crore every year.
The Minister also pointed out that the CAF Rules were finally published on August 10, 2018, paving the way for smooth transfer of funds worth about Rs. 52, 000 crore to the States.
He also said that the fund will be kept in the interest-bearing Public account of the Centre and States, will be safe and will be used only for compensatory afforestation, soil moisture conservation, wildlife management and catchment area treatment.
The Minister also said that these activities will be managed by statutory body called National Authority and State Authority and has a strong monitoring mechanism.
The Minister said that this legislation will provide funds to the State Governments, which will get 90% of their share of funds – about Rs. 52, 000 crore to plan better and utilize the fund for compensatory afforestation, conservation of wild flora and fauna, wildlife habitat management and regeneration of degraded forest and restoration of ecosystem services.
Reference- Wikipedia, PIB Release,