By Satish Dey, Guest Author
You may be thinking that it must be a joke. I, too, accepted the news appearing in Economic Times with a pinch of salt. It says the government or more precisely the ministry of Environment and Forests is contemplating to offer tax concessions as incentive for afforestation.
Before you start imagining that your personal tax liability will be somewhat reduced if only you planted trees as per the scheme, let me reluctantly pour cold water on your hope clarifying that the whole scheme of things is for the industry.
Be that as it may, I see a ray of hope of such afforestation scheme bearing fruit as no other palliatives worked better than tax concessions for the industry. The appalling deforestation has been largely the result of rapid industrialisation. Industries polluting air, water and land have been held responsible for the impending catastrophe arising out of global warming. Though belatedly, nations have agreed to abide by Kyoto protocol which offers incentives by way of carbon credits for reducing mainly carbon dioxide gas emissions, many are yet to take initiatives as they find that the benefits accrue only on long term even as spending on emission control measures has to be made initially.
I think this new scheme of giving tax concessions when implemented will get good response because of the indication given by the officials that the compensation could be in the form of land tax concession or providing relief from land ceiling. The ministry, as reported by Economic Times, is proceeding on the premise that the country’s forest and tree will cover one third of the geophysical area by 2012.
The irony in the scheme has not been lost. Since industry has been the culprit that has played havoc with nature, it is now being made to undo the colossal damage to the environment. It is a classic example of the saying ‘sow the wind and reap the whirlwind’.
Is it not?