Budget 2018: In Union Budget 2018, presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley last week, the government has allocated a whopping Rs 1,290 crore to promote the bamboo sector. “Bamboo is ‘Green Gold’. We removed bamboo grown outside forest areas from the definition of trees. Now, I propose to launch a Restructured National Bamboo Mission with an outlay of Rs 1290 crore to promote bamboo sector in a holistic manner,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said.
Notably, the northeast part of India grows 67% of India’s bamboo. The strategic importance of this mission cannot be undermined. The allocation of Rs. 1,290 crore for a restructured National Bamboo Mission (NBM) has raised hopes for a range of bamboo-based industries — from food processing to construction.
According to the government’s website, the mission envisages promoting holistic growth of bamboo sector by adopting area-based, regionally differentiated strategy and to increase the area under bamboo cultivation and marketing. “Under the Mission, steps have been taken to increase the availability of quality planting material by supporting the setting up of new nurseries and strengthening of existing ones. To address forward integration, the Mission is taking steps to strengthen marketing of bamboo products, especially those of handicraft items,” says the website.
According to Chandra Mohan Patowary, Assam’s Industry and Commerce Minister, more than 300 ethnic groups in the northeast have traditionally been using it every stages of life, from birth to death, besides it being a delicacy. “Bamboo’s commercial journey began when it was struck off the list of trees by amending the Indian Forest Act last year,” Chandra Mohan Patowary said recently.
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“India has the second largest reserves of bamboo in the world. Leveraging this can spur gainful employment and income generation especially in states like Assam and the rest of North East India, which has 66% of India’s bamboo reserves and where bamboo is an intrinsic part of the local culture”, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said recently. With this massive allocation, the bamboo sector may be in for green shoots, and can see better commercial of of the “green gold.”