Tripartite Mou To Ensure Effective Tiger Conservation
Mous Will Be Signed Next Month : Jairam Ramesh
Thursday, July 02, 2009
Press Information Bureau Government of India
The Cabinet today approved a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Ministry of Environment and Forests, State Governments and Tiger Reserve Management to ensure effective tiger conservation. The Ministry of Environment and Forests submitted this proposal earlier where it will act through the National Tiger Conservation Authority.
The proposed tripartite MOU would foster public accountability relating to tiger conservation by ensuring reciprocal commitments between the Centre, the tiger States and the Field Director of Tiger Reserves. It also contains commitments like establishment of Tiger Conservation Foundation which would promote innovative practices for involving the local stakeholders in tiger conservation.
Shri Jairam Ramesh, Minister of Environment and Forests said this will also ensure better utilization of funds and increases accountability and responsibility for all three parties. Over the next month,the Ministry is expected to sign these MOUs with 17 states and 37 Project Tiger Reserves, he added.
The Tiger Task Force constituted by the Prime Minister, in the wake of tigers getting locally extinct from Sariska, recommended a system of MOU with Project States for better implementation. A MOU format was approved by the CCEA in February, 2008 during the revision of the ongoing Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Project Tiger. Central Assistance to States under the said Scheme is provided only after the MOU is signed by the authorised signatory of the State.
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) in its meeting held on 30th January, 2008 approved the continued implementation of the ongoing Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Project Tiger during the XIth Five Year Plan, at an estimated cost of Rs. 600.00 crores, including the additional components, viz. (i) rehabilitation/resettlement of denotified tribes/communities involved in traditional hunting, (ii)mainstreaming livelihood and wildlife concerns in forests outside tiger reserves and fostering corridor conservation through restorative strategy to arrest fragmentation of habitats, (iii) enhanced village relocation/ rehabilitation package for people living in core or critical tiger habitats apart from settlement of rights, (iv) safeguards/retrofitting measures in the interest of wildlife conservation, (v) providing basic infrastructure for strengthening the National Tiger Conservation Authority and establishing a monitoring lab in the Wildlife Institute of India, (vi) establishment and development of 8 new tiger reserves, (vii) provision of project allowance to ministerial staff working in tiger reserves, and (viii) fostering ecotourism.
The CCEA, while approving the scheme further directed that the Memorandum of Understanding contained in the proposal be suitably modified to reflect the responsibilities of the State Governments for delineating the buffer zones and filling staff vacancies. The directions of the CCEA were duly complied with, and a MOU in the approved format was entered into with 16 out of 17 tiger States, except Bihar, for releasing the central assistance under the ongoing Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Project Tiger. The State of Bihar has been requested for the needful in this regard for enabling this Ministry to release the central assistance allocated to them.
Keeping in view the directions of the CCEA under reference, and the serious concerns about the inadequacy of tiger conservation efforts by tiger States, the matter has been further examined and various generic as well as tiger reserve-specific suggestions were reviewed in a meeting of Field Directors of Tiger Reserves held at Kanha Tiger Reserve during last year. Based on these discussions/consultations, a refined Memorandum of Understanding was developed to include issues that emerged during the said meeting.
The Ministry earlier had a bilateral MOU between the Ministry of Environment and Forests and tiger reserve States, but a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding was considered more effective than the earlier since the Field Director of a tiger reserve is the key functionary vested with the responsibility of day to day management, between the Ministry of Environment and Forests the tiger reserve States as well as the Field Directors of Tiger Reserves.
The urgency in saving the tiger, India’s national animal, enjoins on the Centre, the States and the Tiger Reserve Management. A tripartite memorandum is essential, laying out the respective responsibilities and reciprocal commitments linked to fund flows to ensure effective tiger conservation in the country. Tiger conservation is a shared responsibility between the Central and State Governments. The Government of India provides funding support and technical guidance to tiger States for tiger conservation in designated tiger reserves. The day to day management of the tiger reserve including protection is the responsibility of tiger States.
The Project Tiger was launched in 1973 to ensure and maintain viable population of tigers in India and to preserve for all times areas of biological importance as national heritage for the benefit, education and payment of people. Starting from 9 reserves, the project coverage has extended to 37 tiger reserves in 17 tiger States. The tiger reserve amount to 1.1% of the country’s geographical area and around 5% of its forest area. In principle approval has been given for four new reserves spread over four States (MP, UP, Maharashtra and Orissa). During the XIth Five Year Plan, an amount of Rs. 600 crores has been allocated for Centrally Sponsored Project Tiger Scheme, apart from a subsequent allocation of Rs. 50 crores for the Special Tiger Protection Force. The new MOU would be operational within a month which would be a pre-requisite for providing central assistance to tiger States under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Project Tiger.