My first letter to Prime Minster Narendra Modi responding to his invitation for sharing ideas on Mann Ki Baat.

Dear Modi ji,

While scientists are evolving many ways of carbon sequestering for countering Climate Change, the simplest and most cost effective way remains growing forests.

There is an estimated over 16 million hectares of degraded forest land (see image) in India.

Why not create schemes for corporates to grow forests in these lands under the 2% of profits allocation of CSR mandated by Company Law (under Section 135 and Schedule VII of the Companies Act 2013)?

Large corporations would have the money and wherewithal to monitor and act in remote areas of India.

However, smaller corporations could get together and form a ‘collective fund’ via formation of a single-purpose non-profit trust for growing forests in an allocated degraded forest land. Since this is ploughing of CSR funds, there will be no ownership of the forest, the degraded forest land or the forest produce – by the non-profit or the corporations. All non-wood forest produce could be accessed by local villagers for their livelihoods.

A template for this is offered by the Gurgaon Biodiversity Park (via an association called “I am Gurgaon”) where citizen groups alongwith corporates are re-creating a forest in over 500 acres of degraded forest land (degraded due to mining).

degraded_forest_lands_in_India
Source: http://planningcommission.nic.in/reports/wrkpapers/wp_lease.pdf

Looking forward to your co-operation in this matter which can create a win-win situation.

Sincerely,

Rahul Dewan

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