The National Mission for a Green India is one of the eight Missions under the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) – See following figure. It is designed to take positive steps toward the vulnerability assessment associated with depleting natural resources and their impacts on livelihoods of the local people. Further it leads to increase green cover of the country.
India has around 21% geographical area under the forest (FSI 2007). It could support variety of environmental amelioration through climate change mitigation, carbon sequestration, food security, water security, biodiversity conservation and livelihood security of forest dependent communities. Besides helping to meet growing demands for timber, firewood and other forest products, it would provide other benefits such as reducing present levels of soil erosion and water loss on degraded lands resulting in enhanced biodiversity.
The National Mission for a Green India has three main objectives;
1. Double the area to be taken up for afforestation /eco-restoration in India in the next 10 years, taking the total area to be afforested or eco-restored to 20 million ha. (i.e., 10 million ha of additional forest/non forest area to be treated by the Mission, in addition to the 10 million ha which is likely to be treated by Forest Department and other agencies through other interventions).
2. Increase the GHG removals by India’s forests to 6.35% of India’s annual total GHG emissions by the year 2020 (an increase of 1.5% over what it would be in the absence of the Mission). This would require an increase in above and below ground biomass in 10 million ha of forests/ecosystems, resulting in increased carbon sequestration of 43 million tons CO2-e annually.
3.Enhance the resilience of forests/ecosystems being treated under the Mission – enhance infiltration, groundwater recharge, stream and spring flows, biodiversity value, provisioning of services (fuel wood, fodder, timber, NTFPs, etc.) to help local communities adapt to climatic variability.
The great provision in this mission is to include local communities, bodies, and self help groups. Local people would be the part of project in governance and implementation. Steps will have been taken to strengthen Joint Forest Management Corporation, Community Forest Management groups, local panchayats including van panchayats. It would eventually help in capacity building of the mission.
Mission will administered by the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) on central level. The Mission will be serviced by a National Afforestation and Eco-development Board (NAEB). There will be two steering committees on central level (under the MoEF) and state level (under the state forest department) to provide necessary direction and support to the Mission activities. The implementation period of the Mission would be 10 years (FY 2010-2011 to FY 2019-2020) and total mission cost is estimated to be Rs 44,000 crores.
Afforestation and reforestation along with conservation/restoration of exiting forest and forest ecosystem is equally important. It’s always better to conserve what we have and then think about creating new one is emerging as a new strategy. The National Mission for a Green India also follows the same fundamental principle and aligned with country strategy on Reduced Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation- REDD Plus (Know more about world’s first REDD credit ).
The National Mission for a Green India will encourage and robust sectors like Afforestation and reforestation (Including wasteland restoration, etc), Agro forestry, Renewable energy and energy efficiency (e.g. Improved cook stoves, Biogas, biomass briquettes, etc can reduce burden on forest for firewood), Forest based industry (Introduction of Forest Certification for industries based on Timber and Medicine, Handicrafts, etc)
Shailesh is post graduate in Environment Management from Forest Research Institute (FRI) University, Dehradun, India. Presently he is working in the areas of Environmental and Renewable Energy Advisory Services. He has started GreenCleanGuide.com during his college days.