Context: Recently, the Union government said that Funds from Project Tiger as well as the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) were used to finance the project to bring African cheetahs to India.
About CAMPA Funds:
- Establishment in 2004, the Ministry of Environment and Forests constituted the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) to oversee and manage the Compensatory Afforestation Fund (CAF) as directed by the Supreme Court.
- CAMPA Act or Compensatory Afforestation Fund Act is an Indian legislation that seeks to provide an appropriate institutional mechanism, both at the Centre and in each State and Union Territory,
- to ensure expeditious utilisation in efficient and transparent manner of amounts released in lieu of forest land diverted for non-forest purpose which would mitigate impact of diversion of such forest land.
Objectives of CAMPA:
- The Funds are meant to promote afforestation and regeneration activities as a way of compensating for forest land diverted to non-forest uses.
- National CAMPA Advisory Council has been established with the following mandate:
- Lay down broad guidelines for State CAMPA.
- Facilitate scientific, technological and other assistance that may be required by State CAMPA.
- Make recommendations to State CAMPA based on a review of their plans and programmes.
- Provide a mechanism to State CAMPA to resolve issues of an inter-state or Centre-State character.
About Project Tiger:
- It is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme launched in 1973.
- It has the aim of ensuring that the population of Bengal tigers is well-maintained in their natural habitats, this project continues to do everything possible to protect and save the tiger.
- Tiger protecting force:
- The government has also set up a tiger protecting force that ensures there is no poaching of any kind or any human-tiger conflict.
- This invariably will help in preventing tigers from being extinct.
- Increasing the number of tigers:
- In 2006, surveys suggested that the number of tigers was just 1,411 which was a cause of concern worldwide.
- In over a decade, India has seen a consistent rise in the number of tigers.
- Tiger Reserves:
- There are 53 tiger reserves across 18 Tiger Range States in India.
Objectives of Project Tiger:
- To ensure that any factor leading to the reduction of tiger habitats is limited.
- Any damages done to these habitats should be repaired so that the ecosystem is balanced
- Maintain a viable tiger population.
- Tiger is an umbrella species which ensures viable populations of other wild animals (co-predators, prey) and forest, thereby ensuring the ecological viability of the entire area and habitat, which also ensures the water and climate security of the region.
- India has 80 per cent of the world’s tiger population.
- A viable tiger population is one which has 80-100 tigers with a minimum of 20 breeding females, with a sex ratio skewed towards females.
Notification of Tiger Reserves:
- Proposal is obtained from the State.
- In-principle approval is communicated from the National Tiger Conservation Authority, soliciting detailed proposals under section 38V of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
- The National Tiger Conservation Authority recommends the proposal to the State after due diligence.
- The State Government notifies the area as a Tiger Reserve.
About Conservation Assured | Tiger Standards:
- CA|TS is a tool or a comprehensive system that will provide a reference point to evaluate the existing management effectiveness of tiger conservation within integrated landscape planning, and ensure that benefits from these efforts are optimised.
About Project Cheetah:
- The introduction of cheetahs in India is being done under Project Cheetah.
- It is the world’s first intercontinental large wild carnivore translocation project.
- Coexistence approach:
- India has opted for this approach.
- It is even more unique because this is the first-time cheetahs will be reintroduced in an unfenced protected area (PA).
- Significance of Coexistence approach:
- The Coexistence approach is considered more favourable by social scientists.
- Fencing has proven to be a valuable tool in eliminating cheetahs’ tendency to range over wide distances in South Africa and Malawi, thus allowing for population growth.
- The core conservation area of Kuno National Park is largely free of anthropogenic threats.
- Challenges associated with Coexistence approach:
- Kuno National Park will be more challenging, as it is not enclosed / fenced.
- There have been no successful cheetah reintroductions into unfenced systems.
- Anthropogenic threats to cheetah survival include snaring for bush meat and retaliatory killings due to livestock depredation.
- This would place them at the risk of human-related mortality including snaring and retaliatory killings by livestock farmers.
CAMPA funds are meant for restoration of forests, particularly the ones that have been diverted for industrial purposes. There have been demands that this money should be given to Gram Sabhas so that they can be financially empowered to restore forests. Indigenous and forest-dwelling communities’ country-wide are struggling for sustainable finance. Thus, these funds should be used to empower them.