What are the new Green Credit Programme rules?

  • On April 12, the Environment Ministry announced further instructions on its Green Credit Programme (GCP).

Features of the Green Credit Programme:

  • Open-Platform: Individuals, organisations, and public and private enterprises can invest in these environmental efforts and get ‘green credits’ in exchange. These credits are awarded depending on the environmental effect of the investment activity.
    • According to reports, public sector corporations like Indian Oil, Power Grid Corporation of India, National Thermal Power Corporation, Oil India, Coal India, and National Hydropower Corporation have registered to invest in the GCP.
  • Set with Priority: The Ministry has established guidelines for the first project under the GCP, which will focus on afforestation. Participants can contribute to afforestation initiatives in degraded forest and wasteland regions, with tree planting overseen by state forest agencies.
    • The Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE), an autonomous entity of the Environment Ministry, is in charge of managing the GCP. They develop algorithms for calculating green credits and operate a credit exchange trading platform.
  • Regional Participation: Thirteen state forest departments have contributed 387 land parcels totaling almost 10,983 hectares of degraded forest area for afforestation initiatives under the GCP.
  • Enhanced Decision-Making: Successful participants will be given cost estimates for their chosen afforestation projects, allowing them to make more informed decisions and plan accordingly. 

Why has the GCP sparked controversy?

  • Commodification of Environmental Conservation: Critics believe that the GCP reduces environmental conservation to a commodity, potentially compromising India’s forest conservation legislation.
  • Forest Diversion Concerns: The GCP’s provision allowing enterprises to “exchange” green credits for complying with compensating afforestation criteria raises fears that it would be misused by industries trying to alleviate forest diversion regulations, notably in mining and infrastructure.
  • Ecological Impact: Planting trees as part of an afforestation programme does not ensure ecosystem improvement. India’s different forest types necessitate unique techniques, and planting the incorrect trees might result in the spread of invasive species or damage sustainable ecosystems.
  • Monoculture Threat: There is a concern that the GCP may encourage the replacement of natural forests with invasive monocultures, threatening biodiversity and ecological balance.
  • Carbon Trading Controversy: The GCP permits green credits from carbon storage (e.g., tree planting) to be utilised in carbon trading. However, the mechanism for equating these activities is imprecise, raising concerns about the efficacy and legality of carbon trading programmes. 


The Green Credit Programme in India has been criticised for possibly commodifying conservation, raising worries about forest diversion, creating ecological dangers such as monoculture, and missing clarity in carbon trading procedures. As a result, intensive supervision and adaptability are required.


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