India Pays To Go Green

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Over the years, India has suffered deforestation in which it destroyed many of its own wildlife habitats. The Narendra Modi government plans to spend $6.2 billion on creating new forests, and is calling for afforestation, where trees are cultivated on land that hasn’t had trees in a long period of time.

India’s lawmakers from the lower house, House of the People, passed the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Bill last year. Its goal is to increase the forest cover from 21% to 33% over the next few years. The bill also proposes that state governments pay 90% of the money and the central government pays the rest. The final decision is now up to the Rajya Sabha upper house, the Council of States.

Ever since 2006, private companies and other corporations have been paying to set up the projects on forest lands to the Indian government.

“Our forest cover will dramatically increase and it will result in achieving our target 33% of tree cover and most importantly 2.5 billion tonne of carbon sink as we have indicated in our intended nationally determined contributions (INDC),” commented India’s environment minister, Prakash Javadekar.indiaa

Experts doubt that the funds will be used properly. In 1980, the environment ministry approved 1.3 million hectares (10,000 square meters) of forestlands for “non-forestry purposes”, according to a study by CSE (Centre for Science and Environment), a research and policy group on different environmental issues. Scientists and government officials also have doubts about the plan. In the past, officials have burned down the forest themselves and complained that the fire ruined the work.

Other countries can look at India and learn from their troubles. Others should try to be more environmentally conservative and start going green now.

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