NEW DELHI: Environmental cess or green tax may be levied on certain products and services for facilitating ecologically responsible behaviour, garnering citizen’s contribution and supplementing financial resources for forest management, according to the Draft National Forest Policy, 2016. The new policy, prepared by the Indian Institute of Forest Management (IIFM), Bhopal, will replace the existing 1988 policy. It underscores the need to adopt special caution for forest land diversion projects related to mining, quarrying, construction of dams, roads and other linear infrastructure.
“Compliance to conditions of forest land diversion should be ensured and monitoring of impact needs to be strengthened. Use of state-of-the-art technology which causes minimum pollution and damage should be promoted. Construction of mountain and hill roads needs to shift to environment friendly techniques,” it said.
The policy envisages that a national implementation framework be put in place within six months of the notification, to deliver on the commitments. It also urged states to formulate their forest policies and prepare an implementation framework. “Such implementation framework would specify measurable targets, objectively verifiable indicators, financial allocations and time schedules using the logical framework approach,” it said.
Underscoring the need to stimulate growth in the forest-based industry sector, the policy said the sector being labour intensive can create green jobs while mitigating climate change.
The policy also emphasised on large-scale expansion of agro-forestry and farm forestry through incentives and operational support systems such as lowering input costs and enabling access to reasonably priced quality planting material.