Dehra Dun: The Centre would provide financial incentives to States maintaining their forest cover and taking steps to increase it. “A plan is being worked out to give a green bonus or dividend to States that are maintaining their forest cover and are taking steps to improve it,” said, Union Minister of state for Forest and Environment Jairam Ramesh here on Sunday.

Addressing a conference on climate change he said, “these States will be given financial incentives from the Finance and the Planning Commissions. The incentives will also be given to local self-governments.”

This kind of encouragement was necessary for these States as they were under tremendous economic pressure to do away with forests.

The Minister said that India wanted a fair and equitable international agreement on the issue of climate change and global warming that would not stifle its development aspiration at the coming United Nations Summit on Climate Change (UNSCC) at Copenhagen.

“The best way to mitigate the problem is that countries should do things on their own. We are doing it and over the next two to three months more countries will know what we are doing,” he said.

The Minister said that Himalayan States of Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttarakhand must be given special incentives for maintaining the forest cover. The fact that around 15,000 Himalayan glaciers were receding was beyond doubt, Mr. Ramesh said.

He said that while the western school of thought attributed the recession of glaciers to global warming, Indian scientists expressed the view that there was still not enough solid evidence to substantiate it.— PTI