Eleven States seek ‘Green Bonus’

Shishir Sinha Mussoorie (Uttarakhand) | Updated on July 30, 2019

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman with Uttarakhand CM Trivendra Sing Rawat and other dignitaries at the 'Conclave of Himalayan States' in Mussoorie   -  PTI

Eleven States belonging to Indian Himalayan Region (IHR) on Sunday sought ‘Green Bonus’ from the Centre considering their contribution in environmental conservation.

They also want the Centre to set up a dedicated Ministry for this region.

These States assembled for the first time on a platform titled, ‘Conclave of the Himalayan States’ and held their meeting in this location situated over 6000 feet above the sea level. The meeting was presided over by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Chairman of 15th Finance Commission N K Singh, Deputy Chairman of the NITI Aayog Rajiv Kumar beside Chief Ministers, special representatives of some North Eastern States and Jammu & Kashmir and senior Government officials. States presented a detailed agenda to the Finance Minister.

Addressing the conclave, Sitharaman said that these States are important part of India and their development is high on Centre’s agenda. She asked these States to focus on preventing migration from the villages located in the bordering area. “People located in the bordering villages are eyes and ears of nation’s security and their migration should be discouraged,” she said while adding that Panchayati Raj Institutions can play important role in curbing migration.

Later addressing a press conference, Chief Minister of Uttarakhand Trivendra Singh Rawat, who was also the host of the conclave said that the conclave focussed on water power, disaster management and environmental efforts. These states are water pillar for the country so there is need to conserve and revive them. “We sought funds from the Centre to develop new tourist spots as existing ones have been exhausted,” he said.

Earlier addressing the conclave, Chief Minister of Meghalaya, Conard Sangma called for all Himalayan States coming together to push the agenda of growth and development. Manipur’ representative N Biren Singh spoke about taking into account high Cost Disability Factor of IHR states. “Given the fact that IHR states are prone to disasters, FC (Finance Commission) will do well to provide extra funds to IHR states for mitigating/dealing with disasters,” he said while emphasising the need to provide 15 per cent weightage to forest cover while devising the method for Horizontal devolution to compensate Manipur and other IHR states for challenges associated with maintaining large forest cover.

“GST implementation has resulted in more challenges for smaller states like Himachal and we request FC to take a considerate view of this problem and take suitable remedial measures for the same” Jairam Singh Tahakur, Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh said while asking to reward States for scoring on social and development parameters & give extra funds for working towards realisation of sustainable development

IHR is the section of Himalayas within India, spanning 11 Indian states (Arunachal Pradesh, Assam Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tripura, Uttarakhand) & 2 districts of Bengal and that runs along 2500 km of Himalayan ranges between Indus river basin in North-West and Brahmaputra in the East.

Approximately 9,000 glaciers of IHR store about 12,000 km³  of freshwater. This region is endowed with rich vegetation & is home to almost 36% of India’s total biodiversity. More than 41.5% area of IHR states is under forests, representing 1/3rd of total forest cover of India & nearly half (47%) of the “very good” forest cover of the country. The total geographical area of IHR states is approximately 591,000 sq. km (18% of India) and it is inhabited by about 3.8% of the country’s population. The strategic importance of the IHR is evident from the fact that IHR states share borders with 6 neighbouring countries.

Published on July 28, 2019

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