What is Compensatory Afforestation Fund (CAF) Act-2016

Union Environment, Forest and Climate Change Ministry is all set to enforce Compensatory Afforestation Fund (CAF) Act - 2016 , passed in 2016 from Sep, 2018.

In past, adivasi rights activists and environmentalists opposed the bill on the ground of its impact on the ground related to diversion of forest land in the name of development.

According to the act 80 per cent of the funds must be used by states for plantation and afforestation activities while remaining 20 per cent will be used to strengthen forest and wildlife protection infrastructure.

Why such an act is needed ?
In absence of enabling rules, much of the funds collected under the legislation had been left unspent with an ad hoc Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA).

What is compensatory afforestation funds ?

According to the act national and state compensatory afforestation funds of worth Rs 66,000 crore are to be established under Public Account of India, the fund will be utilised on afforestation to compensate for loss of forest cover, regeneration of forest ecosystem, wildlife protection and infrastructure development.

An Annual Plan of Operation (APO), will be prepared in consultation with gram sabhas for the expenditure from the funds and to ensure the protection of tribal's rights.

State governments will receive around 52,000 crore rupees for compensatory afforestation, that is 90 per cent of their share in funds. To assure that the fund is being used only for compensatory afforestation, statutory bodies are to be established at the national and state levels.

13 activities including plantation, assisted natural regeneration of forests, forest fire prevention, pest and disease control in forests, soil and moisture conservation works and improvement of wildlife habitat are permitted for funding.

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