Green Credit Programme (GCP)

Green Credit Programme (GCP)

Why in News?

The Green Credit Programme (GCP), designed to promote afforestation in degraded forest lands for green credits, is under scrutiny due to concerns about prioritizing financial gains over ecosystem restoration.

  • The Union Environment Ministry aims to address these concerns by emphasizing ecosystem restoration in the programme’s framework.


GS-02 GS-03(Government policies and interventions, Conservation)

Main Highlights:

  • The initiative focuses on encouraging afforestation and ecosystem restoration on degraded forest lands.
  • The concern arises from the possibility of the program prioritizing tree planting for profit rather than focusing on ecosystem restoration.
  • The forest departments of 13 states have provided 387 parcels of degraded forest land, totaling approximately 10,983 hectares, for restoration efforts.
  • Interested individuals and companies can submit applications to the Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE) to fund the restoration of these forests, with the actual afforestation work being conducted by state forest departments.

Green Credits:

  • Each tree planted under the Green Credit Programme (GCP) is evaluated by the Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE) and can be worth one ‘green credit’ after two years.
  • While currently not tradable, the GCP’s notified rules indicate that green credits will be tradable on a domestic market platform in the future.
  • Green credits hold the potential to be exchanged for carbon credits if they contribute to measurable reductions in carbon emissions.
  • The Environment Ministry has issued guidelines for states to determine the cost of restoring degraded forest landscapes.
  • The minimum requirement of 1,100 trees per hectare has been eliminated, allowing states to specify their own criteria for afforestation projects.
  • Indigenous species are given preference, and naturally growing seedlings are preserved under the GCP.
  • Several public sector companies, such as Indian Oil, Power Grid Corporation, and Coal India, have enrolled in the programme.
  • Currently in a pilot phase, the programme is refining details like quantifying shrubs and grasses for green credit eligibility.
  • Companies may use green credits to offset a portion of their compensatory afforestation obligations, pending further discussions on equivalence with carbon credits.