Compensatory afforestation funds belong to the state and it was kept temporarily with the Centre
The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) is in deliberation with the Ministry of Finance over the future of compensatory afforestation (CA) funds collected by the Centre.
“The procedure to transfer the fund to the states is being finalized with the Ministry of Finance,” says Director General of Forests, Siddhanta Das.
Currently, the CA funds, amounting to roughly Rs 50,000 crore, are with the ad hoc Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA). The ad hoc body was created by the order of Supreme Court on July 10, 2009. The CAMPA was created as National Advisory Council under the chairmanship of the environment minister for monitoring, technical assistance and evaluation of compensatory afforestation activities.
“The CAMPA money belongs to the state. It was only kept temporarily with the centre,” Das adds. Now that the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Act 2016 (CAF) has been passed, the fund has to be transferred to the states for utilisation.
“This is the first time such fund has to be transferred and the question of how to do that transfer is being debated. It might be routed through the Consolidated Fund of India to the Public Account of India,” adds Das.
The CAF Act has a provision for creating a national fund with contributions from user agencies—any person, organisation, company or department of the Central Government or state government making a request for diversion or de-notification of forest land for non-forest purpose.
According to the Act, the fund will be used for “compensatory afforestation, additional compensatory afforestation, penal compensatory afforestation, net present value, catchment area treatment plan or any money for compliance of conditions stipulated by the Central Government while according approval under the provisions of the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980.”
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