Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.
What to study?
For Prelims: Features of CAF Act.
For Mains: Significance and the need for afforestation, significance of CAF Act.
Context: Centre releases Rs. 47,436 crores for afforestation to various states from CAMPA funds.
What is CAMPA?
Supreme Court of India ordered for establishment of Compensatory Afforestation Fund and Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) in 2001.
In 2006, adhoc CAMPA was established for the management of Compensatory afforestation fund.
- To compensate the loss of forest area and to maintain the sustainability, the Government of India came up with a well-defined Act, known as CAMPA (Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority).
- The law establishes the National Compensatory Afforestation Fund under the Public Account of India, and a State Compensatory Afforestation Fund under the Public Account of each state.
- These Funds will receive payments for: (i) compensatory afforestation, (ii) net present value of forest (NPV), and (iii) other project specific payments.
- The National Fund will receive 10% of these funds, and the State Funds will receive the remaining 90%.
- According to the Act’s provision, a company diverting forest land must provide alternative land to take up compensatory afforestation.
- For afforestation, the company should pay to plant new trees in the alternative land provided to the state.
Issues with CAMPA:
- In 2002, the Supreme Court had observed that collected funds for afforestation were under-utilised by the states and it ordered for centrally pooling of funds under ad hoc Compensatory Afforestation Fund.
- The law says that land selected for afforestation should preferably be contiguous to the forest being diverted so that it is easier for forest officials to manage it. But if no suitable non-forest land is found, degraded forests can be chosen for afforestation. In several states like Chattisgarh, Odisha and Jharkhand where the intensity of mining is very high, to find the non-forest land for afforestation to compensate the loss of forest is a big task.
- Utilisation of CAMPA fund: Several state governments are not utilising it properly. An amount of Rs 86 lakh from CAMPA funds meant for afforestation was reportedly spent on litigation work in Punjab.
- Moreover, at several places, the loss of natural species is compensated with plantation of non-native species in the name of the artificial plantation. It serves as a threat to even the existing ecosystem.
- The proposed objective of the Act must be fulfilled by utilising the CAMPA funds only for the purpose it is meant for. It should efficiently be used only for afforestation and wildlife conservation activities.
- A closer look at the state government activities using CAMPA funding is needed. The central government should adopt the concept of outcome budgeting for allocation of funds to the state government in which funding will be done on installment basis by checking the outcome of previous funds.
- State governments should restore the existing forests rather than creating new ones.