Amendments in the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Bill, 2015
INVC NEWS New Delhi, The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi today gave its approval to move official amendments in the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Bill, 2015. The legislation will ensure expeditious utilization of accumulated unspent amounts available with the ad hoc Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA), which presently is of the order of Rs.40,000 crore, and fresh accrual of compensatory levies and interest on accumulated unspent balance, which will be of the order of approx. Rs. 6,000 crore per annum, in an efficient and transparent manner. Utilization of these amounts will facilitate timely execution of appropriate measures to mitigate impact of diversion of forest land, for which these amounts have been realised. Apart from mitigating the impact of diversion of forest land, utilisation of these amounts will result in creation of productive assets and generation of huge employment opportunities in the rural areas, especially the backward tribal areas. Apart from the amendments of drafting and consequential in nature, the official amendments provide for the following:
- Amendment of clause 2 (e) of the Bill to make the list of environmental services inclusive and to delete some of environmental services for which credible model to assess their monetary value does not exist.
- Amendment of clauses 2 (I) and 30 (1) of the Bill to provide for prior consultation with States Governments for making rule under the new legislation.
- Amendment of clause 4 (1) of the Bill to provide for establishment of State Fund of a Union territory having no legislature under Public Account of the Union of India.
- Amendment of clause 6 (d) of the Bill to provide for use of monies realised from the user agencies in lieu for forest land diverted in protected areas for voluntary relocation from protected areas.
- Amendrnent of clause 8 (4) (ii) of the Bill 'to include Secretaries of Ministries dealing with Space and Earth Sciences as members of governing body of the National Authority.
- Amendment of clause 8 (4) (x) of the Bill to increase the number of expert members in governing body of National Authority from two to five.
- Amendment of clause 9 (2) (ix) of the Bill to increase the number of expert members in executive committee of National Authority from two to three.
- Amendments of clause 11 (2) and 11 (3) of the Bill to include an expert on tribal matters or representative of tribal community as a member in both steering committee and executive committee of a State Authority.
- Amendment of clause 15 (1) (i) of the Bill to fix time limit of three months for Executive Committee of National Authority to approval annual plan of operations of State Authorities and to empower Executive Committee Of National Authorities to make amendments in annul plan of operations of State Authorities.
- Amendment of clause 29 of the Bill to provide for laying of the annual report and the audit report along with memorandum of action taken on recommendations contained therein of State Authority constituted in Union Territories having no legislature before each house of the Parliament.
The amendments do not involve any additional expenditure. The legislation will extend to the whole of India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir.