What is CAMPA Act?
- The Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) Act seeks to mitigate the impact of diversion of forest land for non-forest purposes by making sure through a well defined institutional mechanism, that the funds are released and utilized quickly, efficiently and transparently.
- The CAMPA law is applicable to States, Union Territories, and the Centre as well.
What is Compensatory Afforestation?
- Compensatory afforestation means afforestation done in lieu of diversion of forest land for non-forest use.
Purpose of CAMPA
- To use money for artificial plantation of trees
- To use money for building ‘infrastructure development’ and ‘supply of wood’
- NHAI suggested that CAMPA funds be used for mitigation of wildlife deaths on roads through creation of underpasses and bypasses for animals.
Objectives of CAMPA
The objectives of the CAMPA Law are stated below:
- To promote afforestation and development activities in order to compensate for forest land that is intended to be diverted to non-forest uses.
- To law down effective guidelines for the State
- To facilitate necessary assistance in terms of scientific, technological and other requisites that may be required by the authority responsible for the State CAMPA.
- To recommend measures based on strategic planning to the authorities of the State CAMPA
- To resolve issues that arise between inter-state or Centre-State.
Compensatory Afforestation Fund
- The CAF Act was passed by the centre in 2016 and the related rules were notified in 2018.
- The CAF Act was enacted to manage the funds collected for compensatory afforestation which till then was managed by ad hoc Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA).
- Compensatory afforestation means that every time forest land is diverted for non-forest purposes such as mining or industry, the user agency pays for planting forests over an equal area of non-forest land, or when such land is not available, twice the area of degraded forest land.
- As per the rules, 90% of the CAF money is to be given to the states while 10% is to be retained by the Centre.
- The funds can be used for treatment of catchment areas, assisted natural generation, forest management, wildlife protection and management, relocation of villages from protected areas, managing human-wildlife conflicts, training and awareness generation, supply of wood saving devices and allied activities.
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.