Rural schemes must be eco-friendly: Ramesh

Written by fe Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Jan 5 2013, 07:05am hrs
Rural development minister Jairam Ramesh on Friday pitched for inclusion of green objectives and guidelines in the various social sector schemes of the rural development ministry like the flagship Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Scheme, Integrated Watershed Development Programme and Indira Awas Yojana.

With an annual budget of around R75,000 crore, the ministry of rural development's schemes have an immense potential to contribute to the goal of sustainable poverty reduction and efficient use of natural resources, Ramesh said while releasing a UNDP report on Greening Rural Development in India.

The report looks at improving the quality of ecosystems, enabling sustainable livelihoods, strengthening local communities to recover from extreme weather events and reducing ecological footprint through efficient use of energy, material and natural resources.

According to strategies suggested in a report released today by the rural development ministry for inclusive rural development, the ministry should have a dedicated green cell to enable it to guide environment-friendly objectives through various schemes in villages and allow institutions to adopt creative and innovative approaches to meet them.

The report recommends that the ministry should identify a set of green outcomes and prepare green guidelines that include a set of non-negotiation principles besides greater flexibility.

A dedicated Green Cell would enable the ministry to guide the greening agenda and implementation of guidelines, the report said, recommending an annual Green Report by the ministry to summarise major green achievements and outcomes during the year.