Maharashtra plans a Green Cess

Maharashtra has 20.13% forest cover, less than the national average of 23.41% . The state is the sixth after Mizoram, Assam, Orissa, MP and Chhatisgarh to come up with a State Forest Policy following the national forest commission’s recommendation in 2006 .As part of the policy, Maharashtra is plannning on becoming the first state in the country to levy a green tax to encourage forest development .The policy aims at raising forest cover in the state to a minimum of 33% (101.54 lakh hectares) of total land, as per the recommendations of the Planning Commission and the National Forest Policy, 1988. While Vidarbha and Western Maharashtra have a forest cover of 56% and 39%, respectively, in Marathwada it is a meagre 5%. The implementation of the policy would need Rs 4,000 crore over three years, with an estimated Rs 1,300 crore needed per year. A budget of Rs 300 crore a year is already in place.The rest of the money is expected to be recovered in several ways. Vehicles could be taxed at the rate of Rs 100 a year, and a 2% cess can be placed on civic bodies and industries that draw forest water. The implementation will be the responsibility of a committee headed by the principal forest conservator.
Reserved forest 49,217 sq km.
Protected forest 8,196 sq km.
Unclassed forest 4,526 sq km.
Total 61,939 sq km .
20.13% of state’s geographic area.
7.99% country’s forest area .

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