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Himalayan States seeks Green Bonus

Himalayan States seeks  Green Bonus

Tag:GS 3|| Environment || Climate Change ||  Tackling Climate Change

Why in News?

A Conclave of Himalayan States was held at Mussoorie, Uttarakhand to discuss issues related to the Indian Himalayan Region (IHR) states. In the Conclave, Himalayan States demanded Green Bonus and a separate ministry.

What is Green Bonus?

It is compensation demanded by the Himalayan States for their function in conserving environmental assets like Rivers, Forest and Fauna.

Indian Himalayan Region (IHR)

The Indian Himalayan Region is spread across 12 Indian States (namely Jammu & Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tripura, two districts of Assam namely Dima Hasao and Karbi Anglong and Darjeeling and Kalimpong in West Bengal) stretching across a length of 2500 km and width of . Nearly 50 million people reside in the Indian Himalayan Region (IHR) alone. The IHR is characterized by diverse demographic, economic, environmental, social and political systems.

Demands of Himalayan States

The present NDA government in their manifesto mentioned about the specific funds and some incentives to the Himalayan States, In the backdrop of this these states are demanding :

  • Hydropower resources development
  • Subsidies for their function in environmental conservation.
  • Recognition of their efforts to meet human developmental parameters.

Rationale Behind Green Bonus

In that Conclave where all the Himalayan States representatives come together, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat Explained the rationale behind demanding the Green Bonus :

  • Major Rivers of the country originates in the Himalayas, hence the states have to play significant role in water conservation.
  • Himalayan States have the more green cover which acts as carbon sink. ( More than 41.5% of the total geographical area is under forest cover i.e 1/3 rd. of the total forest cover of the India )
  • Since Ecosystem zones cover most of the area, the states were at disadvantage in the infrastructure developmental activities.

To compensate these disadvantages, they are demanding the Green Bonus.

Issues

  • The Himalayan States are affected by the Disasters frequently.
  • Some of the North Eastern states like Mizoram, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh are performed worst in Forest conservation, due to Intense tourism and shifting cultivation.
  • Forests in these states are being protected by the local community. The funds must be transferred to these communities as incentives here transparency is the major challenge.
  • There is a structural difference between the Himalayan Region and the rest of the India. There is a lack of Specific policies to these states.
  • These states have been neglected since the colonial era. British rulers were practiced the Blanket approach i.e no Specific policies to Hilly regions.

The problem of isolated Hilly regions is not unique to India, The entire Himalayan ranges across countries like Pakistan, China, Myanmar are facing this problem.

Government’s Initiatives

Government has taken many initiatives to boost economic development in the region in harmony with Environment.

  • National mission for sustainable Himalayan Ecosystem: It is one of the 8 missions of National Action Plan on Climate change (NAPCC)
  • NITI Ayog’s Himalayan States regional council
  • Horticulture Mission for North East and Himalayan States (HMNEH) : To promote Horticulture production in the region

Way Forward

The integration of the hilly regions to the mainstream is a challenge and Government need to tackle this by making the policies which are socially acceptable and Economically viable in these regions. In doing so it must keep nature and the natural resources in mind.

 National Action Plan on Climate change (NAPCC)

The National Action Plan on Climate change was formally launched on June 30th, 2008. The NAPCC identifies measures that promote development objectives while also yielding co-benefits for addressing climate change effectively. There are eight “National Missions” which form the core of the National action plan. They focus on promoting understanding of climate change, adaptation and mitigation, energy efficiency and natural resource conservation.”

The eight missions are    

1.       National Solar Mission

2.       National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency

3.       National Mission on Sustainable Habitat

4.       National Water Mission

5.       National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem

6.       National Mission for a Green India

7.       National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture

8.       National Mission on Strategic Knowledge for Climate Change