India plans to spend an equivalent of $6.2 billion to increase the country's green cover.

Earlier this week, lawmakers in the lower house have passed the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Bill, 2015, which aims to increase the forest cover in the country from 21.34 percent of the total land to 33 percent.

The bill, which now awaits to be approved by the upper house, ensures the expeditious use of the unspent Rs 40,000 crore (about $6.2 billion), which has accumulated and lie idle with an ad-hoc central body for more than a decade, to create new forests.

The money comes from the amount paid to the government by companies and other entities since 2006 for letting them set up projects on forest land.

"This was the historic because for the last 12 years the funds meant for afforestation were deposited in only banks and were not used on the ground," said India's Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar.

"Our forest cover will dramatically increase and it will result in achieving our target 33 percent of tree cover and most importantly 2.5 billion tonne of carbon sink as we have indicated in our INDCs."

The world's forest are considered crucial in negating the impacts of over a quarter of man-made carbon emission, but deforestation has become rampant with population growth worldwide.

Large-scale afforestation projects thus serve as an effective means of fighting man-made climate change.

While India is allotting what appears to be a large amount of money to create new forests, the returns could be far more beneficial in the long run.

Besides taking in planet-warming carbon dioxide, which helps in the fight against global warming, trees are known to provide a range of social, environmental and economic benefits. With its large population, for instance, India has been struggling with air pollution, but trees can help absorb pollutants and improve air quality.

Forests also serve as a safe home and haven for many plants and animals and thus help in promoting biodiversity and in the management and conservation of wildlife. Forests also protect the watersheds.

According to the World Wide Fund for Nature, 1.6 billion people worldwide currently depend on forests for their livelihood.

ⓒ 2021 All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.