New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday announced that India would raise its target for restoring degraded land from 21 million hectares to 26 million hectares by 2030.
Speaking at the 14th session of the Conference of Parties (COP) to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in Greater Noida, Modi said between 2015 and 2017, India's tree and forest cover increased by 0.8 million hectares.
''I am happy to share that only last week, funds amounting to nearly six billion US dollars have been released to provincial governments in lieu of such diversion for development of forest lands,'' Modi said.
Emphasising on the government's efforts towards land restoration, Modi mentioned a programme specifically working in this direction.
"My government has launched a programme to double the income of farmers by increasing crop yield through various measures. This includes land restoration and micro-irrigation,'' Modi said.
Modi also said India would be happy to propose initiatives for greater South-South cooperation in addressing issues of climate change, biodiversity and land degradation.
Sharing components of India's holistic land and water strategy, Modi said "augmenting water supply, enhancing water recharge and retaining moisture in soil'' was part of it.
"We are working with a motto of per drop more crop. At the same time,we are also focusing on Zero budget natural farming," he added.
Talking about the single-use plastic, Modi said the time has come for the world to say 'good-bye'.
"My government has announced that India will put an end to the single-use plastic in the coming years. I believe the time has come for even the world to say goodbye to single-use plastic," Prime Minister Modi said.
Last month, during his monthly radio address to the nation, 'Mann Ki Baat', the Prime Minister had pitched for launching a "new mass movement" against single-use plastic from October 2, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. He also spoke about the initiative during the Independence Day address, urging people to join the movement.
The 14th Conference of Parties (COP14) to United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) was attended by PM Modi on Monday.
Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Ralph Gonsalves and Union Minister Prakash Javadekar also present at the event.
With land degradation becoming a global threat, various countries have approached at one single platform at COP14 to fight against natural as well as man-made menace through different means and measures.
With an estimated cost of 200 million Euros, the global project has altogether 11 projects in seven countries of which India is also a one.
It support partners in soil conservation, political strategies and agricultural advisory services.
Issues on the COP14 agenda includes drought, land tenure, ecosystem restoration, climate change, health, sand and dust storms, cities of the future, financial investment, and the roles of youth, non-governmental organizations and the private sector.
UNCCD was adopted in Paris on June 17, 1994, and was ratified by 196 countries and the European Union. India ratified the UNCCD Convention in 1996....