Sunday, November 01, 2009
13th Finance Commission to decide quantum of Green Bonus: Jairam Ramesh
GANGTOK, November01 : Sikkim joined the exclusive list of five Himalayan States which will be getting ‘green bonus’ from next fiscal for conserving forests that act as carbon sinks.
The Centre plans to release green dividends and a green bonus to the Himalayan states from the next financial year as a compensatory measure for protecting their ecology, Union Environment & Forests Minister Jairam Ramesh said yesterday on the concluding day of the two day meet at Shimla on the environment of the five Himalayan States – Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarkhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.
ML Arrawatia, Science & Technology department had represented Sikkim in the meet.
Green bonus was one of the points raised by the hilly States during the meet requesting the Centre to provide sufficient funds to the State Governments for protection measures of the Himalayan environment, said Arrawatia over phone from New Delhi to SIKKIM EXPRESS.
According to news reports, the Union Environment & Forest Minister Ramesh said that the 13th Finance Commission will be deciding the amount of the ‘green bonus’ for the Himalayan States including Sikkim.
The commission is expected to submit its report by December and it would be left to the States to distribute the ‘green bonus’ to the stakeholders.
“We may start with a small amount to begin with,” Ramesh said while announcing the ‘green bonus’. “My concept is that the states which are conserving ecology... should be compensated”, he added.
The Sikkim Science & Technology secretary said that the initiatives taken by the Sikkim government for protection of environment was well appreciated by the participants during the conclave.
In his presentation during the meet, Arrawatia pointed out to the delegates that Sikkim has already set up a glacier study and climate change commission and research work is already in progress. A climate change council under the chairmanship of the Chief Minister has already been set up in Sikkim.
Arrawatia also informed about the implementation of environment cess in Sikkim and State Green Mission besides highlighting about the ‘10 Minutes to Greenary’ initiative taken by Sikkim government early this year to commemorate Earth Day.
The initiatives taken by Sikkim government were very well appreciated and the environment protection model of Sikkim found good response, told Arrawatia over phone.
The Environment Ministry in August had estimated that forests, which cover 25 per cent of the country’s area, could absorb up to 11 per cent of India’s green house gas emissions that contribute to climate change.
The ‘green bonus’ is also expected to strengthen India’s proposal of seeking funds from the rich countries for conserving forests under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) at the Copenhagen climate change conference in December.
Till now, the mechanism enables developing countries to get fund for offsetting green house gas emissions through use of cleaner technologies.
Mr. Ramesh further said that the Centre was also considering taking the snow-covered areas above 4,000 metres altitude out of the definition of forest land, which would benefit all the 12 Himalayan states.
On the conclusion of the meet yesterday, a Shimla Declaration was signed by five Himalayan states which was released by Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal who said the Himalayan states had resolved to jointly face the challenge of climate change and sustainable development.
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Ramesh Pokharyal said: 'Out of 9,000 glaciers in the Himalayas, as many as 1,439 are in our state. Global warming is melting glaciers speedily, threatening flora and fauna of the Himalayas. There is a need for change in lifestyle of the people, reduce emission of greenhouse gases and increase green cover to compensate the damages.'
Jammu and Kashmir's Environment and Forests Minister Mian Altaf Ahmed expressed concern over the climate change, which was adversely affecting the horticulture in his state.
Sunita Narain, director of the Centre for Science and Environment, New Delhi, said that the environment had emerged as global political issue, which needed to be taken in right spirit for the benefit of all