River Rejuvenation Program – UPSC GS3

  • Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change released DPRs on rejuvenation of 13 major rivers through forestry interventions.
  • These 13 rivers are Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas, Sutlej, Yamuna, Brahmaputra, Narmada, Godavari, Mahanadi, Krishna, Cauvery and Luni.
What are the Interventions Proposed?
  • The DPRs recognise the merit of adopting a holistic riverscape approach for forestry interventions in three types of landscapes viz., natural, agriculture, and urban within the vast expanse of a riverscape besides conservation interventions including soil and moisture conservation measures, riverine and riparian wildlife management, and wetland management.
  • These are done with supporting activities such as policy level interventions, strategic and adaptive research, capacity development, awareness creation, project management and participatory monitoring & evaluation).
How much area/landscape is expected to be rejuvenated?
  • The 13 rivers collectively cover a total basin area of 18,90,110 square kilometres that represents 57.45% of the geographical area of the country.
  • The length of 13 rivers, including 202 tributaries within the delineated riverscapes, is 42,830 km.
  • The Brahmaputra Riverscape incorporated the highest number of tributaries (30) and 1,54,456 sq km area, respectively.
  • The documents propose many kinds of afforestation for the rivers. They include timber species, medicinal plants, grasses, shrubs and fuel fodder and fruit trees.
What are the potential benefits of the proposed Interventions?
  • Increase in Forest Cover:
    • It is expected to increase the cumulative forest cover of 7,417.36 sq km across 13 riverscapes.
  • Help in Sequestration of CO2:
    • Proposed interventions would help in sequestration of CO2 to the extent of 50.21 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent in 10-year-old plantations while the value of estimated CO2 sequestered in 20-year-old plantations would be 74.76 million tonnes of CO2.
  • Help in Groundwater Recharge:
    • They would help recharge groundwater, reduce sedimentation, generate Rs. 449.01 crore from non-timber and other forest produce.
  • Employment Generation:
    • They are also expected to make a significant contribution towards employment generation by way of nearly 344 million man-days of work.
  • Achieving International Commitments:
    • These efforts would help India meet its international climate commitments of:
      • Creating an additional carbon sink of 2.5 -3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent through additional forest and tree cover by 2030 under the Paris Agreement of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC),
      • Restore 26 million hectares of degraded lands by 2030 and
      • Halt biodiversity loss by 2030 under Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and Sustainable Development Goals.