The Wetlands Division of MoEF&CC looks after policies relating to the conservation and wise use of wetlands. The Ministry is currently implementing a centrally sponsored scheme namely, National Plan for Conservation of Aquatic Eco-systems (NPCA) for conservation and management of wetlands in the country on cost sharing basis between Central Government and respective State/UT Governments.
The scheme covers various activities such as interception, diversion and treatment of wastewater, shoreline protection, lake front development, in-situ cleaning i.e. desilting & deweeding, storm water management, bio-remediation, catchment area treatment, lake beautification, survey & demarcation, bio-fencing, fisheries development, weed control, bio-diversity conservation, education and awareness creation, community participation, etc.
As on 31.03.2020, an amount of Rs. 1,009.17 crore (central share) was released to the States/UTs for conservation and management of 155 wetlands under the scheme.
To facilitate the implementation of NPCA, Guidelines were issued.These guidelines are intended to streamline the details required for development ofinstitutional mechanism at National as well as State levels and optimize the project reports and proposalssubmitted under the NPCA.
The Ministry had undertaken ‘Wetlands Rejuvenation’ programme within the framework of 169 transformative ideas of Government of India i.e. “Start work on Restoration & Rejuvenation of at least 100 major wetlands across the country”. In the first cycle of the programme, 130 wetlands were selected in consultation with State Governments. Six handholding workshops in all parts of the country were organized by this Ministry to impart technical support to the wetlands managers in implementing the programme. In the 100 days’ implementation period, collation of baseline information and rapid assessment of wetlands condition led to zeroing down to a list of 33 wetlands needing urgent attention.
The programme was structured around a four-stage method: a) Developing baseline information; b) Rapid assessment of wetlands condition (using a report card system); c) Constitution of ‘Wetlands Mitras’ – stakeholder platforms to enable collaborative and participatory management; and d) Management planning, addressing the specific wetlands biodiversity and ecosystem services values and threats. Technical handholding for the programme is done by seven knowledge partners: Wetlands International South Asia (New Delhi), Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History (Coimbatore), World Wide Fund for Nature India (New Delhi), Chilika Development Authority (Bhubaneswar), The Environmental Planning and Coordination Organization (Bhopal), Gujarat Ecological Education and Research Foundation (Gandhinagar) and Centre for Water Resources Development and Management (Kozhikode).
In continuation to the first cycle, the ‘Wetlands Rejuvenation’ programme is being scaled up to 1,000 wetlands, reaching out to all districts of the country. The lessons learnt from the first cycle of the programme are planned to be addressed in the second cycle.