Rs.600 cr for green initiatives, fighting climate change

February 28th, 2011 - 5:42 pm ICT by IANS  

Pranab Mukherjee New Delhi, Feb 28 (IANS) With climate change posing one of the biggest challenges before the country, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee Monday announced Rs.600 crore for protection and regeneration of forests, environmental management and cleaning of rivers and lakes.Presenting the union budget 2011-12, Mukherjee said protection and regeneration of forests has great ecological, economic and social value.

“Our government has launched an ambitious 10-year Green India mission. I propose to allocate Rs.200 crore from the National Clean Energy Fund to begin its implementation in 2011-12,” he said.

The National Mission for a Green India, part of the country’s plans to fight climate change, was approved by the Prime Minister’s Council on Climate Change last week.

The mission, one of the eight under the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC), projects an ambitious target of 10 million hectares of forest cover by 2020 at a cost of Rs.460 billion (Rs.46,000 crore or $10 billion).

According to the finance minister, environmental pollution has emerged a serious public health concern across the country.

“I propose to allocate Rs.200 crore from the National Clean Energy Fund as the centre’s contribution in 2011-12 for launching environmental remediation programmes,” he said.

Mukherjee said a number of projects under the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) have been approved for 2010-11.

“This momentum will be further stepped up. There are many rivers and lakes of cultural and historical significance that need to be cleaned. In the course of the year 2011-12, I propose to provide a special allocation of Rs.200 crore for the clean-up of some important lakes and rivers other than the Ganga,” he added.

The budget allocation for the ministry of environment and forests saw a minuscule jump of over four percent from Rs.2,200 crore last year to Rs.2,300 crore this year.

While the plan outlay saw a drop in funding for forestry and wildlife protection from Rs.793 crore in 2010-11 to Rs.785 crore this year, the conservation of ecology and environment saw an increase from Rs.1,221 crore in 2010-2011 to Rs.1,349 crore this year.

A provision of Rs.165 crore has been made for schemes in the environment and forest sector in the northeastern states.

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