Forest fund rules a blatant breach of assurances, says Jairam Ramesh

Describing it as a “blatant breach of assurances by the government,” former Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh has objected to the rules governing the distribution of the Rs. 66,000 crore fund devised to compensate for the loss of forests from industrial development.

The Compensatory Afforestation Fund (CAF) Act, 2016, and its Rules, specify the kind of projects that would be eligible under the CAF, the composition of the national and State authorities, and how decisions regarding the utilisation of these funds ought to be taken. Read more

Courtesy: The Hindu

India’s new compensatory afforestation rules dilute rights of forest dwellers

In 2006, India passed a law, the Forest Rights Act (FRA) recognising “historical injustice” meted out to the country’s forest dwellers and recognised the primacy of a Gram Sabha (village council) while deciding the fate of the forests.

Cut to August 2018, the government of India has now notified the Compensatory Afforestation Fund (CAF) Rules, 2018 in which the Gram Sabha no longer plays a key role and control of over Rs. 660 billion, to be spent on afforestation, is given in the hands of the forest bureaucracy. Read more

Courtesy: Mongabay

DNA SERIES: Despite ample contribution, Rajasthan fails to spend District Mineral Foundation fund

Even after collecting a huge amount around Rs 2,000 crore from minerals mining districts in Rajasthan under the most ambitious District Mineral Foundation (DMF) trust till May this year, the state has performed poorly when it comes to allocation and use of the allocated fund from the DMF, reveals a latest study by New Delhi based Centre for Science and Environment (CSE). Read more

Courtesy: DNA

Benefits from more than Rs 66,000 crore greening fund will not be shared with forest dwellers

NEW DELHI: Gram sabha consent will not be mandatory for taking up any afforestation project utilizing compensatory afforestation funds (CAF). The Centre has recently notified the compensatory afforestation fund rules 2018 for localisation of more than Rs 66,000 crores (collected so far), by states and union territories for afforestation and conservation projects in forest areas.

There is also no clause in the rules on sharing the benefits from afforestation projects with forest dwellers affected by forest diversion for various development projects. Every time forest land is diverted for non-forest purposes like mining or industry, the user agency is supposed to “afforest” an area of the same size of the forests that were diverted. Since these plantations do not immediately provide the ecological services that a natural forest would provide, the law requires the user agency to compensate the loss by paying the “net present value (NPV)” of the forests for the next 50 years. This money is collected in the CAF administered by a national authority to be constituted. Forest rights activists and researchers have been arguing that forest dwellers affected by loss of forests should benefit from the funds. Read more

Courtesy: The Times of India

India’s mining-based development: Economic prosperity hasn’t percolated to local people

A joint delegation of civil rights organizations, Samata and mines, minerals & People (mm&P) led by mm&P chairperson Rebbapragada Ravi and general secretary Ashok Shrimali met MPs of several political parties and minister of state of state for coal and mines Haribhai Chaudhary to apprise them of issues faced by the people in the mining areas. Text of the memorandum submitted by them:

India currently produces 89 minerals out of which four are fuel minerals, 11 metallic, 52 non- metallic and 22 minor minerals. Mining for fuel, metallic and non-metallic industrial minerals is currently undertaken in almost half of India’s districts. Post-Independence, mining has been considered as one of the main industries that generate high revenues considering that India is significantly endowed with mineral resources. In our country mining based development is considered to be directly proportional to economic prosperity at all levels — be it national or local. But that has not been the case! Read more

Courtesy: Counterview.org

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