Discuss the objectives, design and performance of Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats (IDWH) scheme of the Union government. Suggest if any improvements needed in the scheme. (200 Words)
“Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats (IDWH)” scheme, launched in 2009, is a revamped version of the earlier “Assistance for Development of National Parks and Sanctuaries programme” of govt. of India.
While the former version focused on wildlife conservation efforts within Protected Areas (National Parks, Wildlife Sanctuaries, Conservation Reserves and Community Reserves), the latter version backed the efforts outside the Protected Areas too.
The goal is also to recover critically endangered species and habitats outside PAs and areas of high biodiversity value as well as toprotect corridors and areas adjoining PAs.
So far the scheme has been centrally sponsored. Funds have been used mainly for activities such as habitat improvement, reducing human-wildlife conflict, wildlife veterinary care, capacity building, etc.
With all these efforts, while there has been a significant improvement in the habitats and species population, at times, they proved to be counter-productive. For instance, the conversion of grasslands to plantations or the development of water resources is not in tune with the ecological need of the species.
Therefore, a scientific and ecological assessment of the spending activities is the need of the hour.
Of late, govt. gave a call for private funding of the IDWH scheme. But there has been little response.
Appointing philanthropist entrepreneurs as ambassadors could be of some help. In addition, civil societies must also be involved to persuade business people for funding the scheme.
Other improvements that can be made include
- Drafting and implementing different conservation strategies for different species
- Private parties should be allowed to take up area-specific or species-specific conservation responsibility
- Taking special measures for the safeguard of front line staff
Wildlife conservation may not give anyone direct economic benefits, but it gives large-scale intangible benefits for the entire society. Therefore, it should be regarded as a social responsibility of everyone