National Wasteland Development Board (NWDB) was established in 1985 in the Ministry of Environment & Forests with the mandate of undertaking wastelands development through a massive programme of afforestation and tree planting with people s participation. Accordingly, one of the initiatives taken by the NWDB was to launch the Central Sector Plan Scheme of Grants-in-Aid in 1986 to provide financial assistance to voluntary agencies, and non-government organisations for taking up wastelands development works.
In 1992, the National Afforestation and Eco-Development Board (NAEB) was set up in the Ministry of Environment & Forests which continued the scheme during the Eighth Five Year Plan with some modifications as per the mandate of the NAEB.
The guidelines of the schemes have been revised and approved by MOEF for implementation during the Ninth Plan. The revised scheme is as follows:
The objectives of the scheme are:
Activities proposed under the Scheme
Financial assistance is to be provided under the Scheme for the following activities :
The project proposals for financial assistance under the Grants-in-Aid Scheme shall be entertained from voluntary agencies and non-governmental organisations of the following categories :-
Only those agencies which have worked in the field at least for three years (duly supported by audited statements of accounts for last three years) will be considered for funding under the Scheme.
Preference will be given to those projects where established NGOs take on the role of facilitators, innovators and/or motivators rather than implementors of projects, individuals or unregistered groups are being excluded from the purview of the scheme.
Essential Changes in the Guidelines
a) Cost norms
The cost of all activities has been enhanced, commensurate with the other CSS schemes of NAEB. As projects under the scheme are implemented in a wide range of soil and water regimes, the expenditure necessary for different items varies from place to place. Adequate flexibility is, therefore, necessary for proper project formulation and implementation as regards the major components. It is, therefore, being proposed that for the components :
The cost norms have a range of plus/minus 20 per cent of the figures indicated to enable formulation of the proposals in conformity with the local conditions. The total cost permitted per hectare for all these items together will, however, be within the over ceiling as per the cost norms. Moreover, the implementing agencies may be allowed to incur expenditure on each component in the range of plus/minus 5 per cent of the amount sanctioned.
These norms will apply to afforestation projects on public lands, i.e. panchayat lands and government lands. In case of projects covering private lands, the Board s assistance will be restricted to approximately half.
It is generally expected that the NGO would have the basic infrastructure and capability to carry out the project. The financial assistance, therefore, will not cover infrastructural facilities including buildings, vehicles, heavy equipment and computers.
b) Project area
The project area selected should be adjacent to forest land in accordance with the following definition:
The areas lying in villages having enumerated forest lands under column 15 of the official district census book would be automatically treated as adjacent for the purpose of funding projects under this Scheme. Areas geographically adjacent to significant chunks of forest lands may also be considered adjacent. While the latter category may require appropriate enquiry, the former could be assumed on the basis of record itself.
c) Type of Plants to be encouraged
Species covered under planting/afforestation should include fuelwood, fodder, small timber, fruit, and other species, which provide food and income to the local people while also improving the status of land, e.g. agave, arjun, mulberry, etc. The emphasis should be on mixed plantation and not on monocultures or gardens. The project in which the proportion of fuelwood/fodder species in the species mix proposed in less than 60 per cent of the total will not be considered for assistance.
d) Microplanning to encourage peoples and beneficiary participation
Microplans should be prepared for the project area in consultation with the village community or beneficiaries as far as possible. The microplan should include :
The micro-plans are not required to be submitted to the NAEB, but may be available to the evaluator.