Dehradun, 24 July 2023: Forest Survey of India (FSI), Dehradun, an organization under the Ministry carries out the assessment of forest cover biennially, since 1987 and the findings are published in India State of Forest Report (ISFR). As per latest ISFR 2021, the total forest cover of the country is 7,13,789 square kilometer which is 21.71% of the geographical area of the country. The forest cover has increased by 1,540 square kilometer between ISFR 2019 and ISFR 2021 assessment.
To protect and improve the forest cover in the country, afforestation and tree plantation activities are undertaken by States/UTs. The Ministry provides financial assistance to States/UTs under various Centrally Sponsored Schemes namely Green India Mission (GIM) to support and supplement the efforts of States and Union Territories. GIM activities were started in the Financial Year 2015-16. During the last five years, the amount of Rs. 755.68 Crores has been released to seventeen States and one union territory for taking up the afforestation activities.
The Ministry has also implemented Centrally Sponsored Scheme, National Afforestation programme for regeneration of degraded forest and adjoining areas in the country.Under the scheme, an amount of Rs. 108.57 crore has been released during the years 2019-20 to 2021-22. National Afforestation Programme is now stands merged with Green India Mission.
The Ministry is implementing Nagar Van Yojana (NVY) since the year 2020 which envisages creation of 600 Nagar Vans and 400 Nagar Vatika in the country during the period 2020-21 to 2024-25 under the funds available under Compensatory Afforestation Fund (CAMPA). The Nagar Van Yojana aims to enhance the green cover in the urban and peri-urban areas including biological diversity, provide ecological benefits and improve the quality of life of city dwellers. So far, the Ministry has approved 270 projects under Nagar Van Yojana with the total cost of Rs.238.64 Crore.
The Compensatory Afforestation Fund (CAMPA fund) is being utilized by States/UTs for taking up compensatory afforestation as per approved Annual Plan of Operations for compensating the loss of forest & tree cover due to diversion of forest land for developmental projects as per provisions of Compensatory Afforestation Fund Act, 2016 (CAF Act) and CAF Rules, 2018. During the last five years, an amount of Rs. 55,394.16 Crore has been released to State/UT Forest Department under CAMPA funds.
Afforestation activities are also taken up under various programmes and schemes of line Ministry such as Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, National Bamboo Mission, Sub-Mission on Agroforestry etc. and under schemes of State Government/UT Administration through different departments, Non-Government Organizations, Civil Society, Corporate bodies etc. The multi departmental efforts have yielded good results in conserving and enhancing forest cover in the country.
The Ministry takes various steps to combat forest fires. The Ministry supports the efforts of the States/UTs in prevention and control of forest fire by providing financial assistance for various forest fire prevention and management measures such as modern tools for fire extinguishing, use of communication and information technology, etc. creation and maintenance of fire lines in forest areas, engagement of fire watchers, creation of water storage structures in forest areas, strengthening of forest infrastructure, procurement of firefighting equipment, soil and moisture conservation works in high risk areas, awareness creation, incentivizing villages/communities for protection against forest fire etc. under the Centrally Sponsored Forest Fire Prevention and Management Scheme.