The Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley, in his budget speech proposed the launch of a Restructured National Bamboo Mission. ‘Bamboo is ‘Green Gold,’ Jaitley said in his budget speech. The Finance Minister allocated a sum of Rs 1,290 crore to promote bamboo sector in a holistic manner.
Later on, the Union Minister of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), Dr Jitendra Singh has thanked the Union Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitley for announcing “National Bamboo Mission.” Dr Jitendra Singh said, the Bamboo Mission has a special significance for Northeast and the announcement made by the Finance Minister today is a vindication of the Union Government’s continued commitment to the development of the region.
It may be remembered here that recently the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change had promulgated the Indian Forest (Amendment) Ordinance, 2017 to exempt bamboo grown in non-forest areas from definition of tree, thereby dispensing with the requirement of felling/transit permit for its economic use. Bamboo, though, taxonomically a grass, was legally defined as a tree under the Indian Forest Act, 1927. Before this amendment, the felling and transit of bamboo grown on forest as well non-forest land attracted the provisions of the Indian Forest Act, 1927 (IFA, 1927). This was a major impediment for bamboo cultivation by farmers on non-forest land.
The current demand of bamboo in India is estimated at 28 million tonnes. Though India has 19% share of world’s area under bamboo cultivation, its market share in the sector is only 6%. At present, India imports timber and allied products, such as pulp, paper, furniture etc. In 2015, India imported about 18.01 million cubic meters of timber and allied products worth Rs 43000 crores.