PLANTATION

Rural Development Department (RDD), Government of Bihar (GOB) is pursuing several reform initiatives to strengthen the service delivery and effect sustained poverty reduction in rural Bihar. As apart of its overall vision and strategy, the Client envisions piloting partnership models with, non-government agencies (including CBOs/ Private sector etc), to improve programmatic outcomes for the poor.

Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005, (MGNREGA) was enacted on 7th September 2005 as “ An Act to provide for the enhancement of livelihood security of the households in rural areas of the country by providing at least one hundred days of Guaranteed wage employment in every financial year to every household”, with the following objectives: -

  • Encourage social forestry under MGNREGS among Gram Panchayats and individual beneficiaries
  • Selection of lands suitable for taking up plantation
  • Provide planting material including saplings and fertilizers to Gram Panchayat and individual beneficiaries
  • Provide technical support for a period of minimum 5 years for social forestry
  • Encourage formation of Self Help Groups among Van-poshaks
  • Work on integrated value chain of saplings planted by providing market to the beneficiaries and forward integration
  • Buy-back of produce of plantations at a rate not less than Minimum Support Price declared by the government
  • Overall monitoring and coordination of social forestry activities in areas of intervention
  • Coordination with MGNREGA officials across district, block and gram panchayat
  • This will be an enormous boost to the village infrastructure, which can act as a catalyst for village economy.

About Social Forestry and Impact Sought:

Trees planted under this initiative are durable assets, which would provide sustainable employment aligned with the objectives of MGNREGA. A total of 200 plants or 1 unit would be linked to 4 families for a period of 3 years. Since the plantation day these families would take care of these plants (in rotation) and in lieu each of the families would be provided with a guaranteed employment of 100 days. Such a binding of trees to the families creates a sense of ownership and goes a long way in improving the survival rate of the plants. Intercultivation is also promoted to provide additional source of income to Vanposhak in this initiative.

The long-term impacts of social forestry are manifold. The forest cover of Bihar stands at an abysmal 6.87% whereas the national average is 19%. To maintain the ecological balance this should be at least 33%. Increasing the forest cover in Bihar is the need of the hour with abrupt monsoons, droughts and floods affecting the state. We can increase the forest cover in Bihar by 3% (6000-7000 plants/Gram Panchayat will increase forest cover by 1%) at one go if we plant 20000 trees per Gram Panchayat. Plantation of 20000 trees per Gram Panchayat will again provide multiple benefits. It will provide sustainable employment to 400 families for 3 years. The mandate for plantation is horticulture plants, which will provide nutritional security to poor and malnourished families. The government has already enacted “Vriksha Patta” scheme to provide ownership rights of the tree to the vanposhak, which will provide sustainable income from the fruit yield. This will lead to growth in agro-based food processing industries in Bihar.

Social forestry has diversified socio-economic impact. The per capita income of poor families will increase during monitoring component and will get sustainable income from the produce of the trees for next 50-100 years under “Vriksha Patta”. Rise in per capita income will certainly improve literacy rates, life expectancy and infant mortality rates among poor people. Livelihood generation will play a significant role in arresting migration.

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