In a major boost towards promoting afforestation and achieving green objectives of the country, Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar, today handed over Rs.47,436 crores of CAMPA funds to various states, in presence of Minister of State, MoEF&CC, Babul Supriyo. In a meeting of State Forest Ministers and Authorities held at New Delhi, the Environment Minister stated “The State budget for forests shall remain unaffected and the fund being transferred would be in addition to State Budget and it is expected that all States will utilize this fund towards forestry activities to achieve the objectives of the Nationally-Determined Contributions (NDCs) of increasing its forest & tree cover, which will create an additional carbon sink equivalent to 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide by the year 2030”. The Environment Minister further emphasized that the CAMPA funds cannot be used for payment of salary, travelling allowances, medical expenses, etc.
Underlining the efforts of the Government towards preserving and improving the forest wealth and ecological security of the country, Javadekar said “Important activities on which the fund will be utilised will be for the Compensatory Afforestation, Catchment Area Treatment, Wildlife Management, Assisted Natural Regeneration, Forest Fire Prevention and Control Operations, Soil and Moisture Conservation Works in the forest, Improvement of Wildlife Habitat, Management of Biological Diversity and Biological Resources, Research in Forestry and Monitoring of CAMPA works etc”.
With the initial experience of the States regarding under-utilisation of the money collected towards compensatory afforestation, Hon’ble Supreme Court of India ordered for establishment of Compensatory Afforestation Fund and Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) in 2001. In 2006, separate bank accounts were opened in which the compensatory levies were deposited and adhoc CAMPA was established for the management of Compensatory afforestation fund. In 2009, Hon’ble Supreme Court permitted release of Rs.1000 crore every year to States/UTs for compensatory afforestation and other activities. In 2014, Hon’ble Supreme Court permitted release of 10% of total deposit of states in the fund from interest accrued on the deposits. This Act has provisioned that CAMPA funds shall be kept in interest bearing non-lapsable Public Account. After detailed deliberations with CAG and Ministry of Finance and deliberations with other Stakeholders, the fund flow mechanism could be finalized and the CAF Rules were finally put in place in 2018. After notification of CAF Rules, with approval of the Supreme Court on 28 Jan 2019, an amount of Rs.54,685 Crore from Ad-hoc CAMPA has been brought under the control of Government of India. So far 27 States/UTs have created accounts for receiving the Funds from Union Government and today funds to the tune of Rs.47,436 crore have been transferred to those States. The Fund shall be utilized as per the provisions of the CAF Act and CAF Rules.