Union Environment Ministry tweaks Green Credit Programme and has shifted focus from simply planting trees to prioritizing the restoration of whole ecosystems.

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  • Amid concerns that the GCP, meant to promote investing in afforestation on degraded lands for environmental benefits, might prioritize planting trees solely for profit.
  • Forest departments of 13 States have offered 387 land parcels of degraded forest land — worth nearly 10,983 hectares. 
  • Individuals and companies can apply to the ICFRE, to pay to “restore” these forests. 
  • The actual afforestation will be carried out by State forest departments. 
  • Two years after planting and following an evaluation by the ICFRE, each such planted tree could be worth One ‘Green Credit
  • The Ministry has changed the earlier requirement that there be a minimum of 1,100 trees per hectare to qualify as a reforested landscape and left it to States to specify them.

Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE)

  • In 1986 ICFRE was formed as an umbrella organisation for taking care of forestry research, education and extension needs of the country. 
  • In 1991, the ICFRE was declared an autonomous Council under the then Ministry of Environment and Forests and registered as a Society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860.

Green Credit Programme (GCP)

  • It is an initiative by the Government of India to encourage industriescompanies, and other entities to undertake voluntary environmental measures, particularly tree plantation, resulting in the award of Green Credits. 
  • It was notified by the Government of India on 12th October 2023 under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
  • It is an initiative under the government’s Lifestyle for Environment (LiFE) movement.
  • The ICFRE serves as the GCP Administrator, responsible for program implementation, management, monitoring, and operation.
  • It aims to incentivise environmental positive actions through market-based mechanisms and generate Green Credit, which shall be tradable and made available for trading on a domestic market platform. If generating green credits led to measurably reducing or removing carbon emissions, it could also be used to Get Carbon Credits.


  • Land Bank: Aims to establish a dynamic land bank for plantations accessible via a dedicated web portal
  • Open Participation: Encourages a wide range of entities (government, NGOs, companies, individuals, groups) to choose specific plots for afforestation (planting trees).
  • Issuance of Green Credits: Rewards participants with “Green Credits” for planting trees, following set guidelines.
  • Digital Processes : Utilizes a web platform and registry for easy registration, verification, and monitoring of all tree planting activities.

Lifestyle for Environment (LiFE) movement

It was introduced by India at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (UNCCC) COP26 held in Glasgow, in 2021 to drive LiFE as an international mass movement towards “mindful and deliberate utilisation, instead of mindless and destructive consumption” to protect and preserve the environment.

What are Green Credits (GCs)?

  • GCs are a form of environmental rewards that represent the positive environmental actions awarded to entities who participate in tree plantation initiatives under the Green Credit Program. 
  • These credits can be claimed by the financing organisation and used in two ways
  • either using it to complying with existing forest laws that require organisations, which divert forest land for non-forestry purposes, to recompense by providing an equivalent amount of land elsewhere. 
  • Or be used for reporting under environmental, social and governance leadership norms or to meet Corporate Social Responsibility requirements

Carbon credits

It is also known as carbon offsets, are permits that allow the owner to emit a certain amount of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases. One credit permits the emission of one ton of carbon dioxide or the equivalent of other greenhouse gases.

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