13th Finance Commission to submit report soon

Written by ASHOK B SHARMA | Updated: Nov 21 2009, 01:24am hrs
The countrys Thirteenth Finance Commission which is scheduled to submit its report on federal transfer of resources to state governments on December 31, 2009 is likely to make special provision for green budgets for both the state and central governments.

The 13th Finance Commission will be submitting its report to the President of India, Pratibha Devsingh Patil on December 31, 2009. It would have provisions for federal transfer of resources, including green budgeting as per its terms of reference, said the Chairman, Vijay Kelkar on Friday at the release of Green India-2047, a report by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI).

TERI is headed by Dr Rajendra K Pachauri who is also the Cairman of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

In September, the Government had extended the term of the commission by three months up to January 2010. It was earlier required to submit its report by October 31, 2009.

India apart from launching of its National Action Plan on Climate Change is also integrating its climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies in other avenues of action.

The Indian environment and forests minister, Jairam Ramesh said that the 12th Five-Year Plan scheduled to be submitted 2012 will have provision for environment protection and climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies.

According to sources, bulk of the amount for green budgeting may come from disinvestments of government equities in public sector enterprises. The market value of both listed and unlisted public sector companies is estimated in the range of $ 300 billion to $ 400 billion. About 50% of the corpus can be diverted for green budgeting for public good. Green budgeting can be undertaken for improving mass rapid transport in metropolitian cities, preservation of lakes and forests, fuel and energy efficiency and other mitigation and adaptation measures

Ramesh said that in 2015 countrys GDP formula would be restructured to include the losses due to environment and ecological degradation and also the benefits due to environment conservation.

Our laws for environment protection are of global standards, but its implementation is below the desired level. The environment governance in the country is largely due to judicial interventions. The executive has almost abdicated its responsibility, he said.

The Bill for setting up of the National Green Tribunal was introduced in the Parliament in the last session and is likely to be passed in the ongoing winter session, he said and added that on November 26 the draft of the National Environment Protection Authority (which was earlier released for public debate) will be finalised.

Ramesh said that he did not agree to the proposal of privatizing the forest sector as suggested by TERIs Green India-2047 report. He said that the private sector was more interested in monoculture and plantation crops. The country has 21% forest cover and 3% tree cover, thus making up a total of 24%. Among the forest cover, 2% are of high density area, 9% of medium density area, 10% are degraded forests and 40% are open degraded forests.

There was a need to increase the density of forest cover, he said and this could be done through local community participation and not through private sector. He said that Indias forest cover was responsible of neutralization of 10% carbon dioxide.