Trees and plants are the only source of food and oxygen for us and their growth and protection is a prerequisite for human survival on this Planet. It is for this reason that it is believed that for a country to be sustainable, it must have at least 33 of its area under forest cover. Consequently, several measures are being taken across the world to carry out tree plantation activities and also to protect the existing green cover.
The Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Dr. Harsh Vardhan recently informed the Members of the Lok Sabha about the ongoing national afforestation schemes being implemented by the Ministry of Environment,Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) in India. To achieve the targets mentioned in the National Forest Policy of maintaining 33% forest and tree cover in the country, the MoEFCC is implementing two major afforestation/ tree plantation schemes in the country. These are, 1) National Afforestation Programme (NAP) Scheme and 2) National Mission for a Green India (GIM).
While NAP is being implemented for afforestation of degraded forest lands, GIM aims at improving the quality of forest/ increase in forest cover along with cross-sectoral activities on landscape basis. An area of about 21 lakh ha has been approved for new afforestation with an investment of around Rs. 3,700 crore under NAP since inception in 2000, till 2016-17. Under GIM an amount of Rs.174 crore has been released since 2011-12 to 2016-17 for preparatory and perspective plan.
The Fund under Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA), interalia, is also being used in plantation activity including compensatory afforestation, to give a massive thrust to afforestation activity in the country.
Afforestation/Tree plantation targets in the country under Item No.51 (a) (Area Covered under Public and Forest Lands) and 51 (b) (No. of Seedlings Planted) of the Twenty Point Programme (TPP) is fixed by the MoEFCC annually to States/UTs in consultation with them. An area of 1.46 lakh ha. under Item 51(a) and 9,460 lakh seedlings to be planted under 51(b) have been fixed as total targets for the year 2017-18.
Tree Plantation/ afforestation activities are taken up cross-sectorally by various departments, NGOs, civil society, corporate etc. under various Centrally Sponsored Schemes and also under different State Plan/ Non Plan Schemes including externally aided projects involving large-scale participation of people and other social organisations.
Image by T. Kumaravel