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Achievements In The Year 2017-18

A.    Environment and Forest

The Environment and Forest division of Natural Resources and Environment (NRE) Vertical is involved in formulation of policies and development of strategies for sustainable management of forests; protection of wildlife and their habitats; and maintenance of a clean, green and healthy environment. It coordinates activities with the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC). During the year 2017-18, the following major activities were undertaken by the division:-

 

1.    Formulating suitable strategies for Achieving Self Sufficiency in Timber Production:

Forestry products valued at crores of rupees are being imported every year. This is a serious concern for the country which needs to be addressed by planning and implementing suitable interventions. With effective implementation of well-planned scientific measures, India’s forestry sector can sustainability produce sufficient timber to be self-reliant. In addition, boosting indigenous production of timber sourced from non-forest lands, particularly under farm–forestry, would contribute substantially to meet the vision of doubling the farmer’s income. There is need to incentivize farmers to grow trees just like a crop.  In this regard, a draft paper highlighting the issues and possible measures for addressing these challenges was prepared and shared with concerned Central Ministries/Departments and other stakeholders. A series of high level consultation meetings were also held with the concerned Ministries/Departments and other stakeholders to finalize the strategies for achieving self-sufficiency in timber production. After these deliberations, action points were finalized and shared with the concerned Central Ministries/Departments for implementation.

NITI Aayog supported the promulgation of an Ordinance to amend the Indian Forest Act 1927 with an objective to exempt the bamboo species grown on non-forest land from the requirement of felling and transit permissions. This will encourage particularly the farmers to grow bamboos and earn additional income. 

 

2.    “Cleaner Air Better Life” Initiative:

Formulation of appropriate strategies for maintaining a clean, green and healthy environment being a priority for NITI Aayog. It has been working closely with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and other stakeholders for controlling air pollution especially in Delhi NCR. On the World Environment Day 5th June, 2017, NITI Aayog and CII organized the first meeting of their joint initiative “Cleaner Air Better Life” with an objective to address the issue of air pollution in the Country with active participation of the Government agencies, the industries and other stakeholders.

Subsequently, four Task Forces were constituted in NITI Aayog with experts as members to recommend suitable interventions for Clean Fuel, Clean Transport, Clean Industries and Biomass Management. The reports are expected to be finalized soon.

 

3.    Appraisal of Notes for the Cabinet

The following draft Cabinet Notes proposed by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) were examined and observations sent to the Ministry:

  1. The draft Note for the Cabinet seeking the approval of the Cabinet for the ratification of the Minamata Convention on Mercury with the objective to protect human health and environment from anthropogenic emissions and releases of mercury and mercury compounds.

  2. The draft Note seeking approval of the Cabinet for Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) among Ministries on Environment of BRICS nations, on Environmental Cooperation. The proposed draft MoU aimed to enhance cooperation among the BRICS nations in the field of air quality, water environment, biodiversity and conservation, waste management and promoting “green” economy.

  3. The draft Note seeking approval of the Cabinet for Amendment of Section 2(7) of the Indian Forest Act, 1927. The proposed draft Note aimed to exempt the bamboo species grown on non-forest land from the requirement of felling and transit permissions. 

  4. The draft Note seeking approval of the Cabinet for Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats which included: Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) of Project Tiger, CSS-Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitat and CSS-Project Elephant, for its continuation beyond 12th Plan.

 

4.   Appraisal of Memorandums for Expenditure Finance Committee (EFC)/ Standing Finance Committee (SFC)

i. The following draft Memorandums for Expenditure Finance Committee (EFC) proposed by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) for continuation of the schemes for three years 2017-18 to 2019-20 (beyond 12th Five Year Plan) were examined and observations sent to the Ministry:

  1. Draft Memorandum for Umbrella Scheme: Conservation of Natural Resources and Ecosystems (CNRE)

  2. Draft Memorandum for the Umbrella Scheme: National Mission for a Green India

  3. Draft Memorandum for the Umbrella Scheme viz: Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitat (IDWH)

 

ii. The draft Memorandums for Standing Finance Committee (SFC) for new scheme “Green Platform” proposed by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) was examined and observations sent to the Ministry. In the draft memorandum, it was proposed to setup “Green Platform” in the Ministry, which would be a Geographical Information System (GIS) based dynamic, spatial database of more than 111 environmental parameters along with status and source of its availability.

iii. In addition, the following draft Memorandums for SFC proposed by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) for continuation of the schemes for three years 2017-18 to 2019-20 (beyond 12th Five Year Plan) were examined and observations sent to the Ministry:

  • Draft Memorandum for the Scheme “The Eco-Development Force (EDF).

  • Draft Memorandum for the Scheme of Environment Education, Awareness and Training (EEAT) under Environment Education-Reg.

  • Draft Memorandum for the Scheme of National Mission on Himalayan Studies (NMHS) 

  • Draft Memorandum for the Scheme of Climate Change Action Programme.

  • Draft Memorandum for the Scheme of National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change

  • Draft Memorandum for the Scheme on Creation of Management Structure for Hazardous Substances.

 

5.  Appraisal of Projects/Programmes:

In addition, the following proposals were examined and comments were submitted to the concerned Ministries/Departments/Agencies:-

  • The revised project on Innovations in Green Growth Management (IGGMA) with an estimated cost of about ₹1610 crore proposed by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) for implementation with financial assistance from World Bank was examined and observations were sent to the Ministry. The project would help to re-establish multiple ecosystem services in degraded landscapes, striving for a balance between restoring environmental services and improving the productive capacity of land for forestry, agriculture and other land-uses within the landscapes.

  • The Project on Community Based Sustainable Forest Management for Water Resources Conservation in Manipur with an estimated cost of about ₹137.47 crore forwarded by the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) for implementation with financial assistance from World Bank was examined and observations were sent to the DEA. The project aims at restoration of the forest eco-system and sustainable management of the forests, particularly in water catchment areas.

  • The Project on Gujarat Forestry Development  – Phase III with an estimated cost of about ₹ 905 crore proposed by the MoEF&CC for implementation with financial assistance from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) was examined and observations were sent to the Ministry. The project aims to improve hydro-logical services through intensive Soil and Moisture Conservation for increasing forest cover and social –economic development of forest dependents.

  • The Project on Landscape Community Forest and Water Management”, Meghalaya with an estimated cost of about ₹ 1632.6 crore forwarded by the MoEF&CC for implementation with financial assistance from JICA was examined and observations were sent to the Ministry. 

 

6. Research Projects

The following research studies in the E&F sector were completed under the NITI Aayog's Research study grant scheme -

  • Coal Mining, Displacement and Rural Livelihoods: A Study in   Mahanadi Coal Field, Odisha conducted by the National Institute of Technology, Rourkela.

  • Socio Economic Impact Study of Mining and Mining Policies on Livelihoods of Local Population in Vindhyan Region of Uttar Pradesh conducted by the Centre for Social Forestry and Eco-rehabilitation, Allahabad.