How well are funds spent on sanctuaries and zoos

Central Information Commission wants a impact assessment report by November

 
By Kumar Sambhav Shrivastava
Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

Every year, the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests spends substantial amount of money on the upkeep of national parks, biosphere reserves, sanctuaries and zoos. But there is little information available on how well the funds are spent. Now the Central Information Commission (CIC) has asked the ministry to assess and publish the impact of the government funds spent on these places.

CIC order given on a complaint that said information regarding protected areas like their extent, year of establishment, names of the ecologically important flora and fauna in them and the funds allocated to them should be made freely available on the MoEF website under the Right To Information Act (RTI)
After the complaint was filed, the ministry uploaded a report on the “protected area network in the country” with basic information about national parks and sanctuaries. It also made available the details of funds spent on these areas
CIC order said the objective of the Government and the nation should be to ensure that endangered species are protected and a mere report on the funds spent would not achieve this objective
The CIC gave the order on September 15 on a complaint filed by Ankur Goyal, a research fellow at the School of Environmental Sciences at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi. In his complaint, Goyal pleaded that certain information regarding national parks, sanctuaries and zoos like their extent, year of establishment, names of the ecologically important flora and fauna in them and the funds allocated to them should be made freely available on the website of MoEF under the Right to Information Act (RTI), 2005.

The Act envisions that all citizens shall receive information primarily through   voluntary disclosures by various public authorities. This would reduce the load of RTI applications being filed with each institution as information would be freely available to citizens and they would not have to apply for it. However, little information on protected areas has been made available on the ministry’s website. After the complaint was filed, the ministry uploaded a report on the “protected area network in the country” with basic information about national parks and sanctuaries. It also made available the details of funds spent on these areas.

However, it said, it was yet to prepare the list of ecologically important flora and fauna in these areas and a report to asses the impact of the funds spent on them. The CIC ordered that such report should be available on the website by November 1 this year. “The Commission is of the firm opinion that it is more important to understand the impact of the funds being spent rather than merely reporting that the funds have been spent. The objective of the Government and the nation should be to ensure that endangered species are protected and a mere report on the funds spent would not achieve this objective,” said the order of the CIC.
 

 

 

 

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