India to have satellite to monitor green cover

India to have satellite to monitor green cover

"We have to monitor (the Green Cover) on realtime basis. We will be launching our own forestry satellite sometime in the later part of 2012," he said here. Addressing a brain storming session on Green India Mission (GIM), the Minister said ISRO has already taken a decision in this regard.

"We will be having a family of satellites that will be dedicated to monitor the green cover," he said. GIM is one of the eight Missions under India's National Action Plan on Climate Change, announced by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2008.

"Green India Mission will bring an opportunity for revolutionising our system for monitoring. We must monitor, what is happening to the green cover," Ramesh said.

Admitting that the country could not fulfill the dream of late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, who had launched this project in 1985 to cover 5 m ha of waste land to bring under green cover every year, Ramesh said "we should work on realistic and credible targets and achieve them."

"We are far behind from the original objective," the Minister said. He said Under GIM, the Ministry's target is to increase 5 million hectares of forest and non-forest land and improve quality of forest cover on another 5 million hectares of non-forest lands in 10 years.

Advocating the Brazilian model which is based on real time monitoring instead of expenditure monitoring of the green cover, the Minister said "we must learn from what Brazilians have done -- real time monitoring. We do expenditure monitoring."

Reiterating that India have to think differently for increasing its green cover, Ramesh said "I propose a fundamental shift in mindset from our traditional focus of merely increasing the quantity of our forest cover, towards increasing the quality of our forest cover and improving provision of ecosystem services."

Urging the officials to take a holistic view while implementing GIM and "not merely focus on plantations", he said "the implementation of its programmes are by Gram Sabhas with the technical and managerial support of the forest service personnel."

"The money will directly go to Gram Sabhas and not to forests departments. The need for us is to ensure that it should be seen as a programme of local elected bodies in which forest department will play a very important role," he said. The aim of today's brain storming session was to set a work agenda for 2011 and 2012 to have a clarity on how Rs 200 crore, allocated in the general budget for GIM, is going to be spent.