Green Bonus is a new term in the environmental parlance denoting the money which is to be given for the effort made by a country, state or community for preservation of green cover. The “green bonus”, announced by Environment and Forest Minister Jairam Ramesh on Friday, will strengthen India’s proposal of seeking funds from the rich countries for conserving forests under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) at the Copenhagen climate change conference in December. Green Bonus is a new term in the environmental parlance denoting the money which is to be given for the effort made by a country, state or community for preservation of green cover. It is a compensation to be given to the people for the sacrifices they have made in preserving the green cover, which not only benefits them, but also benefits others nearby and humanity as a whole. So, in the 14th Finance Commission Awards, green bonus need to be given adequate consideration.
We know that the Uttarakhand is likely to get a green bonus for ecosystem services of its forests. The Environment Minister has given a green signal a few months back, might have been a bit influenced by the recent disaster the state had during June last. In fact, many states are clamoring for a green bonus from the Centre.
The states of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh have been pioneers. They have substantial areas under forest cover. Of late, Maharashtra also joined the party. Other states likely to get benefit of Green Bonus are Kerala, Karnataka, Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Madhya Pradesh. There was an interim order of the Supreme Court passed in course of interlocutory applications (IA 424) of W.P (C) 202/1995 that the forest deficit states should pay the forest surplus states.
It was technically and logically sound idea because the forest surplus states live with a lot of handicaps due to the overbearing existence of forests, its benefit of ecosystem services and environmental amelioration shared by forest deficit states. But due to pressure from the large forest deficit states, the burden has been taken over by the Centre.
India is rapidly transforming into a ‘carbon sink’ which ignites hopes of big funds for maintaining the natural cover. A recent report ‘Forest and Tree Cover’, prepared by the Union Ministry of Forests and Environment, said from 1995 to 2005, the carbon stocks stored in the forests and trees have increased from 6,245 million tonnes (mt) to 6,662 mt, registering an annual increment of 38 mt of carbon or 138 mt of carbon dioxide. India can get Rs 6,000 crore every year from its carbon sink, assuming the value of $7 per tonne of carbon dioxide.
By:- Dr. Pallavi Chauhan
Environmental Science Department
Uttaranchal (P.G.) College of Biomedical Sciences and Hospital