Finance Minister budget speech introduced schemes and policies aimed at ecological conservation. Targeting an array of different issues, these schemes come with the promise of preserving India’s ecological health.
GS III: Environment and Ecology
Dimensions of the Article:
- MISHTI (Mangrove Initiative for Shoreline Habitats & Tangible Incomes)
- PM PRANAM (Prime Minister Programme for Restoration, Awareness, Nourishment and Amelioration of Mother Earth)
- Amrit Dharohar
MISHTI (Mangrove Initiative for Shoreline Habitats & Tangible Incomes)
- MISHTI is a new programme that will facilitate mangrove plantation along India’s coastline and on salt pan lands.
- The programme will operate through “convergence between MGNREGS, Campa Fund and other sources.
- This new programme will aim at intensive afforestation of coastal mangrove forests.
- India has such forests on both its Eastern and Western coasts with the Sundarbans in Bengal being one of the largest mangrove forests on the planet.
Importance of Mangroves
- Mangroves are not just some of the most bio-diverse locations in India, they also protect the coastlines from the vagaries of inclement weather.
- As climate change increases the incidence of extreme weather events across the world, mangrove plantations have shown to make coastal lands resilient, preventing flooding, land erosion and acting as a buffer for cyclones.
- Furthermore, they are also excellent carbon sinks. Mangrove trees can grow in saline waters, and can sequester up to four times more carbon than tropical rainforests.
PM PRANAM (Prime Minister Programme for Restoration, Awareness, Nourishment and Amelioration of Mother Earth)
- This programme will seek to incentivise states and union territories promoting alternative fertilisers and the balanced use of chemical fertilisers.
- The programme aims to ultimately bring down the government’s subsidy burden, which is estimated to reach Rs 2.25 lakh crore in 2022-23: 39 per cent higher than last year’s figure of Rs 1.62 lakh crore.
Bhartiya Prakritik Kheti Bio-Input Resource Centres
- To further facilitate the adoption of “natural farming,” 10,000 Bio-Input Resource Centres will be set-up, creating a national-level distributed micro-fertiliser and pesticide manufacturing network.
- This will impact over 1 crore farmers over the next three years, the finance minister said in her speech.
Impact of Chemical fertilisers :
- Chemical fertilisers revolutionised agriculture when they were introduced, more than half a century ago. However, they also pose multiple risks that are increasingly being understood by scientists.
- They are known to be a major source of water pollution – impacting both groundwater and rivers, ponds and lakes.
- Eutrophication caused by excessive use of chemical fertilisers is a death knell for fishes and other aquatic life, often covering lakes and ponds with a thick layer of algae and reducing the oxygen content in the water.
- Over a long period of time, they can also harm the soil, causing acidification, and hence have an impact on the land’s productivity.
- Lastly, studies have found a link between the excessive use of chemical fertilisers and incidence of cancer among farmers.
- The challenge for today’s scientists and policy makers is to slowly wean the agricultural economy of chemical fertilisers while maintaining the high yields that they provide.
- Three-year scheme aimed at preserving and enhancing the benefits of wetlands
- Emphasis on local communities as caretakers of the ecosystem
- Encourages optimal use of wetlands for the benefits of bio-diversity, carbon stock, eco-tourism, and local income generation
Importance of Wetlands
- Recognized by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as important ecosystems with a total of 75 Ramsar sites in India
- Ramsar sites designated as wetlands of international importance under the criteria of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (1971)
- Cover a total of 1,326,678 hectares in India and provide important habitats for a diverse range of flora and fauna, including endangered aquatic life and migratory birds
- 49 new sites have been added to the list since 2019, with 19 added in 2022
-Source: Indian express