Modi Launches Green Credits: A New Era of Eco-Recovery on Degraded Lands

Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently launched an innovative initiative focusing on generating Green Credits through plantation on degraded wastelands. This program is a significant step towards environmental sustainability and aligns with the global movement for climate change mitigation.

Overview of the Green Credit Program (GCP)

  • Launch and Concept: The Green Credit Program was officially notified on October 13, 2023, as part of India’s pro-active approach to address climate change and promote eco-conscious practices. It was announced during the COP28 climate talks.
  • Objective: The GCP aims to incentivize voluntary environmental actions across various sectors. This includes individuals, communities, private sector industries, and companies.
  • Governance: The program’s governance framework includes an inter-ministerial Steering Committee, and The Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE) serves as the GCP Administrator.
  • Focus Areas: Initially, the GCP is focusing on water conservation and afforestation. Methodologies for awarding Green Credits are being developed and will be opened for stakeholder consultation.
  • Registration and Verification: Entities must register their activities on the government’s dedicated app/website. Activities will be verified through a designated agency, with self-verification for small projects.
  • Tradability: Once verified, entities will receive a Green Credit certificate, which will be tradable on a dedicated platform developed by ICFRE​​.

Ecomark Scheme

  • Philosophy and Purpose: In alignment with the ‘LiFE’ (Lifestyle for Environment) concept, the Ecomark Scheme aims to encourage consumer choices towards eco-friendly products.
  • Implementation: The scheme, notified alongside the GCP, provides accreditation and labelling for household and consumer products that meet specific environmental criteria.
  • Administration: It is administered by the Central Pollution Control Board in partnership with the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS)​​.

Sectors and Activities Covered

  • Identified Sectors: The program covers a range of sectors, such as tree plantation, water conservation, sustainable agriculture, waste management, air pollution reduction, mangrove conservation, sustainable building, and more.
  • Eligibility for Credits: Various stakeholders, including individuals, industries, farmers, urban local bodies, and private sectors, can earn green credits for environment-friendly actions like tree planting, water conservation, and waste management​​.

Financial Allocation and Implementation

  • Budget Allocation: In the Union Budget 2023, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman allocated Rs 35,000 crore to support the initiative, aiming to achieve energy transition and net-zero emissions.
  • Draft Rules and Implementation: The draft rules for the Green Credit Programme were released by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, highlighting the decision to establish a domestic voluntary market mechanism for Green Credits​​​​.

Significance and Future Prospects

  • Environmental Impact: The program is designed to go beyond carbon credits, encompassing major attributes of environmental and social sustainability.
  • Climate Co-Benefits: Activities generating Green Credits may also qualify for Carbon Credits, offering dual benefits in climate mitigation.
  • Development of Standards: Thresholds and benchmarks for each Green Credit activity will be established to ensure their effective implementation and monitoring​​.

This initiative marks a significant step in India’s journey towards sustainable living and environmental conservation. It not only encourages individual and collective eco-friendly practices but also aligns with India’s commitment to global sustainability goals.



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