The Compensatory Afforestation Fund Bill, 2015

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The Compensatory Afforestation Fund Bill, 2015 is brought with the aim and object to provide for the establishment of funds under the public accounts of India and the public accounts of each state and also for crediting thereto the monies received from the user agencies towards the compensatory afforestation, etc. Also, this bill is seeking the constitution of an authority at national level and also at each of the State and Union territory Administration. And such authorities will be responsible for the administration of the funds and also for utilising the monies so collected for undertaking artificial plantations and for etc. works.

In the provisions of this Bill, it is seeking to establish the National Compensatory Afforestation Fund, under the Public Account of India, as shown in the clause 3 of this Bill. Moreover, it is also seeking to establish the State Compensatory Afforestation Fund under the Public Account of each state, as show in its clause 4 of the concerned Bill. Also, as per further provisions in the same bill, these Funds will be receiving the payments for Compensatory afforestation, net present value of forest- NPV and other project specific payments. Thus, the National level Fund will receive 10 % of these funds and the State Funds will receive 90 %. Moreover, these Funds will be primarily spent on afforestation as also shown in the object of this Bill, and this will be for compensation for loss of forest cover, regeneration of forest ecosystem, wildlife protection and infrastructure development. Also, as per its Third chapter, this Bill is seeking the establishment of the National and State Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authorities for managing the National and State Funds.

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Thus, in other words, the present Bill is seeking the establishment of the Fund for compensatory afforestation and forest conservation. There are also several factors which are affecting compensatory afforestation and forest conservation. As per 2013’s CAG report, the state forest departments are lacking the planning and implementation capacity for carrying out the compensatory afforestation and forest conservation. It was also observed by the High Level Committee on Environment Laws that the quality of forest cover has declined between 1951 and 2014, with the poor quality of compensatory afforestation plantations. Also, the Bill is seeking the delegation to the expert committee which is constituted by the central government, and such delegation will be in relation to the determination of Net Present Value of forest.

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Adv. Faim Khalilkhan Pathan