Source: News Bharati English17 Jun 2017 10:04:45

New Delhi, June 17: India is focusing on sustainable land and resource management for livelihood generation at the community level for making the local lands healthier and productive for providing a better homeland and a better future for its inhabitants said Environment Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan.

Addressing the eve of World Day to Combat Desertification, the Minister said, India’s new National Action Programme (NAP) will be finalized after a series of regional consultations and workshops with all relevant stakeholders, keeping in mind our national circumstances and development priorities” and stressed that the Modi Government is committed to achieving Land Degradation Neutrality by the year 2030.

Dr Harsh Vardhan emphasised that this year’s slogan, ‘Our Land. Our Home. Our Future’ underlines the central role that productive land can play in turning the growing tide of migrants leaving their infertile land into communities and nations that are stable, secure and sustainable in future. “The Soil Health Card Scheme, have been launched by the Government to help farmers improve productivity through the judicious use of inputs”, he added.

Talking about the Swachh Bharat Mission, the Minister said “The Government is also taking a holistic approach towards improving the living standard of its citizens, with Swachchh Bharat Mission, with a dedicated corpus of funds to address concerns over waste disposal, sewage treatment, sanitation – factors which adversely affect the quality of land”.

The government had already launched the initiatives like the Soil Health Card Scheme to help farmers improve productivity through the judicious use of inputs. The Scheme was allotted Rs. 840.52 crore over the last three years, which is 30 times more than the funds devoted to soil research and analysis in the preceding years, Informed Environment Minister.

“A large variety of youth-centric outreach and awareness enhancing activities will emphasise on countering the challenges posed by desertification, land degradation and drought will be showcased at the event”, said Dr. Harsh Vardhan and pointed out that this year, Swarn Jayanti Nature Camp, Bhondsi village of Gurugram, Haryana, has been chosen for the landmark celebration of World Day to Combat Desertification (WDCD).

Ministry informed about various schemes drawn up to showcase India’s efforts to mitigate concerns over desertification, land degradation and drought problems. He said “With the rallying call for ‘More Crop Per Drop’ the Government has further strengthened the ‘Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana’ (Ministry of Water Resources) by increasing the budget allocation for the years 2014-17 by approximately 22% at Rs 4510.55 crore, as compared to Rs. 3699.45 crore in the previous three years”.

Referring to the allocations under Deen Dayal Antyodaya Yojana - National Rural Livelihoods Mission (Ministry of Rural Development), Dr Harsh Vardhan said scheme promotes skill development and livelihood opportunities for people in rural areas has been increased from Rs. 3000 crore in 2016-17 to Rs. 4500 crore in 2017-18, at an increase of 33%.

Besides these schemes, the Minister mentioned Deen Dayal Upadhyay Grameen Kaushalya Yojana and Integrated Watershed Management Programme (Ministry of Rural Development), Swachh Bharat Mission, National Mission for a Green India and National Afforestation Programme (Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change) that have been at the forefront of India’s efforts to mitigate concerns over desertification, land degradation and drought problems.

Dr Harsh Vardhan concluding said that the Day is an occasion to remind everyone that desertification can be tackled effectively, that solutions are possible and the key tools to this aim lie in strong community participation and cooperation at all levels.