The environment ministry has come out with a draft National Forest Policy (NFP), proposing levy of a green tax while calling for safeguarding forest land by exercising strict restraint on diversion for non-forestry purposes.
The non forestry purposes include mining and industrial projects and practicing responsible eco-tourism in forest areas to ensure safety of wildlife etc. The policy is aimed at facilitating ecologically responsible behavior among stakeholders.
The new policy, which aims to bring a minimum one-third of India's total geographical area under forest or tree cover through scientific interventions and enforcing strict rules to protect the dense cover, will replace the existing one that has been guiding the government to manage forests since 1988.
The ministry has put out the draft policy, prepared by the Bhopal-based Indian Institute of Forest Management (IIFM), in public domain seeking feedback from experts, civil society, environmentalists and other stakeholders by June 30.
"A new policy will come out after going through suggestions of these people. Best suggestions will be incorporated in the new policy," said an official. "Environmental cess, green tax, carbon tax etc. may be levied on certain products and services," the draft policy said.