The first-ever ‘Green Budget’ was presented at the Assam Legislative Assembly during the ongoing budget session on Thursday.
While addressing the assembly, Finance Minister Ajanta Neog said, “We recognize Climate Change as an imminent global threat and through the State Action Plan on Climate Change, we have been attempting to mainstream adaptation strategies into development process.”
“This year, I am proposing to introduce Chief Minister’s Green Initiative Incentive Scheme as part of Assam's agenda in implementing India's ‘Panchamrit’ strategy for combating climate change. We plan to incentivize private-led carbon sequestration initiatives and promote climate resilience through community participation. Methods to quantify carbon emissions of a village and strategies to make the villages net-zero within a finite period will be identified,” Neog added.
Stating this, the finance minister introduced the first ever ‘Green Budget’ at the state assembly.
She further said, “A Green Innovation Fund will be set up with a corpus of Rs 25 cr for promoting Research & Development Grants for Green Solutions and Alternatives Incubation Program in collaboration with state agencies (like Guwahati Biotech Park, Startup Assam).”
The budget includes a three-year master plan for Greening Greater Guwahati.
Neog said, “We are committed to enhance the green cover of the state and to achieve this we will raise 6 cr seedlings across the state and carry plantation in 10,000 hectares in Financial Year 2023-24. We have prepared a three year master plan for Greening Greater Guwahati.”
The state government has disbursed an ex-gratia and compensation amounting to Rs. 20.62 crore to 9459 for victims of man-animal conflict.
The finance minister said, “Our government is fully committed to reduce man-animal conflict in the state and in this direction wildlife depredation cases have already been declared as cases of natural disaster for providing expeditious relief to the families of victims.”
“Our government has disbursed ex-gratia and compensation amounting to Rs 20.62 cr to 9459 victims of man-animal conflict,” she added.
Moreover, 300 bighas has been allocated for the establishment of Assam Forest Protection Force in Lakhimpur.
“The third battalion of the Assam Forest Protection Force is being established at Lakhimpur for which land of 300 bighas has already been allotted,” she said.
The budget include establishment of a state-of-the-art Natural History Museum at Panbari in Golaghat district to showcase the rich biodiversity of Assam and Kaziranga in particular for research and public outreach.
The budget further includes the following:
To ramp up the anti-poaching initiatives, all frontline staff posted in wildlife areas shall be equipped with modern assault rifles.
The government plans to establish the Assam Forest Development Corporation Ltd in FY 2023-24 for optimal utilisation of forest resources.
Encroachment activities will be monitored through use of satellite imagery and drone photography.
A modern zoological rescue and rehabilitation facility will be set up in Kaziranga National Park.
A sum amount of Rs. 1056.70 crores has been allocated for the Environment and Forest Department.