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Green Credits: Eco-Incentives



  May 23, 2024

GREEN CREDITS



Restoring India's Ecosystems: Green Credit Program Approves Afforestation, Water Conservation, and Waste Management Projects

Introduction to Green Credit Program (GCP)

The Green Credit Program (GCP) is an initiative launched by the Indian government to incentivize voluntary participation in environmental positive actions such as afforestation, water conservation, and waste management. Notified on October 13, 2023, the GCP encourages public-sector undertakings (PSUs), private industries, non-profits, and individuals to engage in activities that enhance the environment. Participants earn green credits, which can be traded on a designated platform.

Governance and Administration

The GCP is governed by an inter-ministerial Steering Committee and administered by The Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE) in Dehradun. ICFRE is responsible for implementing, managing, monitoring, and operating the program. A mechanism for third-party verification of projects is being developed to ensure transparency and credibility.

Recent Approvals and Ongoing Considerations

The Centre has approved 12 greening projects under the GCP, with an additional 24 plans submitted by various state forest departments currently under consideration. These projects focus on transforming degraded land parcels into green spaces. Over 10,000 hectares of degraded land have been identified for these activities.

Participation and Registration Process

PSUs and other stakeholders are encouraged to register for the GCP through a government portal. State forest departments identify suitable plots, and a plantation plan along with cost estimates are submitted to ICFRE for approval. This program is particularly emphasized in mining-heavy states like Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, and Odisha.

Approved Projects

Analysis of Approved Projects

1. Afforestation Initiatives:

• Location: Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha
• Participants: NTPC, South Eastern Coalfields Ltd, Coal India
• Focus: Planting native tree species to restore forest cover on degraded lands.

2. Water Conservation Projects:

• Location: Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh
• Participants: Western Coalfields Ltd, Indian Oil
• Focus: Construction of check dams and rainwater harvesting systems to enhance groundwater recharge and improve water availability for afforestation.

3. Waste Management Initiatives:

• Location: Various states
• Participants: Power Grid Corporation of India
• Focus: Implementation of waste segregation and recycling programs to reduce landfill waste and promote recycling.

4. Habitat Restoration Projects:

• Location: Multiple states
• Participants: PSUs, non-profits
• Focus: Restoring natural habitats to support biodiversity, including wetlands and grasslands.

Benefits and Expected Outcomes

• Environmental Benefits: Restoration of degraded lands, increased forest cover, enhanced biodiversity, improved water resources, and reduced waste.
• Economic Benefits: Creation of green jobs, potential revenue from trading green credits, and cost savings from improved resource management.
• Social Benefits: Community engagement, improved quality of life, and enhanced ecosystem services such as clean air and water.

Conclusion

The GCP represents a significant step towards sustainable environmental management in India. By encouraging voluntary participation from diverse sectors and providing economic incentives, the program aims to address environmental challenges while promoting economic and social benefits. The approved projects mark the beginning of a broader initiative to transform India’s degraded lands into thriving ecosystems, ensuring a healthier and more sustainable future.




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