The compensatory Afforestation Fund Act 2016 was enacted on 3rd August 2016 with a great vision to restore environment as our environment is subject to absolute devastation due to deforestation. The 33 sections of the Act enumerate various aspects of the necessity of a compensatory funding. The objective of the Act clearly states that any one utilizes the forest resources for non forest purpose shall pay to the public fund that comes under the authority of Government and later this user’s fund shall be utilized for planting trees on non forest land equaling to the deforestation done for construction or any other purpose. Any land thus destroyed can be regenerated on else where non forest land through the compensatory fund. The State, Central Government and Union territories has authority to Function in accordance with the provisions of the Act. The purpose of the Act lead to different controversies as many politicians objected stating the act as a blatant one only to misuse the fund under the pretext of regeneration of forest land. Former Minister Sri Jayaram Ramesh opposed this concept as reported in The Hindu daily on Aug 25th 2018 strongly stating that this act is only a “breach of assurances”.
Amidst all controversies the legislative has decided to carry forward the Act and from chapter 2 to 6 stating all provisions for the implementation of the Act including vital functioning process of management and utilization of fund, State and Central Authorities constitution and powers, functions, finances and audit, power of State and Central Government to make rules, regulations, annual report of funding management committee. According to the Act 90% of the fund is to be disbursed to the State Government and 10% is retained in the center.
Any matter that comes as a result of deforestation including the human and wild life conflict s, catchment area issues, renewing wild life resources, additional compensatory afforestation, penal compensatory afforestation ,utilization of money according to Central Government rules in compliance with the Conservation of Forest Act 1980 and there by providing additional environment protection policies complies with both acts. Apart from planting trees rehabilitation of species of wildlife facing acute extinction due to deforestation is another major challenge in implementing the Act. The destruction of natural habitat of tribal people is also a serious threat of deforestation.
This rules and provisions of this Act if properly implemented without any misleading or misusing aspects is a great promise to the sustainability and reserving our environment for the future generations.