The Telangana government’s program, Telangana Ku Haritha Haaram, aims to increase the state’s forest cover from 24 percent to 33 percent. The India State of Forest Report (ISFR) 2021 shows that Telangana’s forest cover is now 21,214 square kilometres, an increase of 632 square kilometres since ISFR 2019. This is the second-highest increase in forest cover in the country. Officials plan to plant 19.29 crore saplings this year, with about six crore saplings near irrigation projects and canal bunds.
The initiative focuses on enhancing the green cover and promoting environmental sustainability in the state. It has two thrust areas: initiatives in notified forest areas and initiatives in areas outside the notified forest areas. The program is one of its kind in the world, after China and Brazil, and is a pioneer effort in India. The new Panchayat Raj Act-2018 mandates that each Gram Panchayat establish and maintain a functional nursery and develop a Green Action Plan. Seedlings produced in these nurseries are used for various plantation activities. Each Gram Panchayat is allocated 10 percent of the total budget as a Green Budget.
The Telangana government has established the ‘Green Budget’ (Haritha Nidhi) to promote environmental conservation and sustainable development at the grassroots level. It involves the active participation of all sections of society, making Telangana the first state in India to introduce it. The government released a total of 230.96 Crores as the Green Budget to Gram Panchayats between April 2020 and January 2021.