Poverty reduction measures and economic growth when integrated with sustainable management of environment and natural resources is the recent strategy followed also known as greening rural development. The concept of greening rural development came into existence after Millennium Summit in 2000 when the world raised its concern towards sustainable management of natural resource’s and incorporated 7th goal as Ensuring environmental sustainability.
Greening Rural development majorly refers to five broad green outcomes i.e. improved natural resource conservation, increased efficiency of resource use, reduced negative environmental impacts, strengthened climate resilience of communities, contribution to climate change mitigation. The rationale for greening rural development emerges from the Twelfth Five Year Plan (2012-17) strategy of faster, sustainable and inclusive growth for poverty alleviation and MoRD’s mandate to reduce rural poverty and ensure a better quality of life especially for the poor.
The concept of green rural development results into positive economic impact because greening will contribute to inclusive local growth, improve environmental sustainability, help to make communities more resilient to natural disaster and help to make public expenditure more effective.
According to a study conducted by UNDP on greening impacts of rural development program in India, it was found that various development program has shown a positive greening impact in the last decade. The major programs are Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), Integrated Watershed Development Program (IWDP), National Rural Drinking Water Program (NRDWP), Mahila Kisan Shasaktikaran Pariyojna (MKSP) and National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM).
The Rural Development Schemes has contributed significantly in greening the results. On one hand where soil fertility enhancement is a key objective of MKSP, programs like MGNREGA , IWDP and source sustainability component of NRDWP has helped in controlling and even decreasing the decline in ground water level on the other hand. The scope of MGNREGA are linked to water, soil and land. The work scheduled under MGNREGA facilitate environmental services such as conservation of water, ground water recharge, reduced soil erosion, increased soil fertility, reclamation of decreased land and grazing field. Similarly IWDP aims in restoring ecological balance in a watershed planned.
Non-Timber forest produce based livelihood scheme regulated under NRLM and MKSP identify regeneration and sustainable harvesting of NTFP species as key objective. Promotion of organic and low-chemical agriculture and increased soil health and fertility to sustain agriculture-based livelihoods is an objective under the sustainable agriculture component of MKSP.
One of major reasons of greening India is because approximately 50% of Indians will be living in urbanized areas by 2050 putting more pressure on the resources available on the cities. India is soon emerging as a nation which will be included in Kyoto protocol due to massive industrialization which have been going on in the country. Reducing carbon emissions will be a major task which lies ahead of the nation. Greening the rural areas will make the foundation of the country strong, increase in forest cover will help restore the green cover lost in previous decades. The greening will also help restore land degradation by use of biotechnology and organic agricultural practices.
It is equally important to raise the number of reserve forest’s and green belts all over the country. The ministry is now getting Rs. 75 crore for 517 wild life sanctuaries and Rs. 165 crore for 43 Tiger reserves when the promise made by the planning commission was of doubling the amount for protection of forest reserves.
Written By: Ujjwal Rakesh
Edited By: Rahul Choudhury
Published By: Anand Kumar