Monday, August 23, 2010

Rs 25,000 crore kitty for tackling climate change: Ramesh

India is going to be affected "the most" by climate change but the government has made a provision for Rs 25,000 crore to mitigate its impact, environment minister Jairam Ramesh said.

Replying to a debate on a private member's resolution for setting up a fund for dealing with climate change, the minister said money is being raised through cess on coal and compulsory afforestation fund. Besides, the finance ministry has sanctioned Rs 5,000 crore as recommended by 13th Finance Commission.

"Climate change is a reality...It is a serious issue. We are going to be affected the most by climate change. But we are taking steps to mitigate it," he said. The country is witnessing Monsoon extending to the last week of August, "which is unusual".

About 220 scientists from 120 research institutions are working on assessment of the impact of climate change on agriculture, water, health and forest. The research covers impact on the Himalayan glaciers, North Eastern region, Western Ghat and coastal areas. Their report will be available in the next two months, Ramesh said.

Giving a break-up of the fund plan, he said Rs 10,000 crore is already available under the Compensatory Afforestation and Management Planning Authority (CAMPA). "The first tranche of Rs 10,000 crore will be distributed to the state government," he said. Contributions to the CAMPA come from business establishments taking up activities in forest land.

Another fund of Rs 10,000 crore would be generated by 2015 from clean energy cess on coal. The cess has become operational and Rs 3,000 crore would be available under it this fiscal. The funds (Rs 5,000 crore), recommended by the 13th Finance Commission would be released in the next five years to states according to their forest cover. Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh will be the major beneficiaries under the scheme.

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