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Why climate change adaptation projects fail to take off?

Different departments of the state, which come under eleven different missions of SAPCC, have not been able to prepare Project Concept Notes (PCNs) for undertaking projects under climate change adaptation and mitigation.

Despite the union government in New Delhi endorsing Jammu & Kashmir government’s State Action Plan on Climate Change (SAPCC) for rupees 6,739 croresin 2014, no work has so far been carried out by utilising funds available to SAPCC through the union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoFCC).

Different departments of the state, which come under eleven different missions of SAPCC, have not been able to prepare Project Concept Notes (PCNs) for undertaking projects under climate change adaptation and mitigation.

The SAPCC consists of 11 Missions which includes three state-specific missions on tourism, health and disaster management. The other eight missions have been adopted from theNational Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC). They include: Enhanced Energy Mission; Energy Mission; Mission on Sustainable Habitat; Green India Mission; Water Mission; Sustainable Agriculture Mission; Sustainable Himalayan Mission and Strategic Knowledge Mission.

So far, only one project proposal has come from the state’s agriculture department under the Sustainable Agriculture Mission – Climate Resilient Sustainable Agriculture in Rain-Fed Farming Areas of Jammu and Kashmir–whichwas approved in 2015 and the initial fundingwas also released a year later, but is yet to be utilized.

“We are asking them (departments) and have also written to them several times to make concept notes about projects under Climate change. But they are not coming forward with PCNs. For example we have written to health and tourism departments many times, but we are yet to get any substantial response from them,” said highly reliable sources in the forest department at secretariat.

Under the union ministry of environment, sources said, a lot of funds are available for climate change related projects, but the departments are not coming forward with concept notes for the projects.

In 2014, the state government prepared the State Action Plan on Climate Change (SAPCC) which was endorsed by New Delhi with an estimated funding of INR6739 crores.

Under the SAPCC, the state government has establishedClimate Change Cell (CCC)with a Nodal Officer who coordinates between different departments coming under the 11 missions on climate change.

Since the implementation of SAPCC involves cross-sectorial engagement, the climate change cell is supposed to coordinate with the departments such as agriculture, health, tourism etc. to take PCNs (and detailed project reports)to the chief secretary’s office wherefrom they go to theexpert committee and the governing council headed by the chief minister. The funding for the project is finally supposed to come from the union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoFCC).

But, only one PCN (and the Detailed Project Report) has been prepared so far (by the agriculture department)which has got approved as well with a funding of INR 22.51 croresfrom MoEFCC.

However, the sources informed that no work has been done so far despite the fact that initial funding of the project (2.77 crores) was released in June 2016.

A senior government official in the forest department, who pleaded anonymity, said that Jammu & Kashmir is being deprived of huge availability of funds under climate change adaptation “because of a tussle”going on between the bureaucrats within the state.

For example, he said, top officials of the agriculture department are not happy that they are getting the funds through the state’sforest department which hosts the climate change cell.

According to an official document mentioning the minutes of a meeting in November 2017,chief secretary, B B Vyas, has expressed serious concern over the non-utilization of available funds. “[He] instructed the Agriculture Production Department to implement the Project on priority. He also asked the Department to keep the Jammu & Kashmir Climate Change Cell (JKCCC) in loop as required in terms of the tenants of the scheme,” the document says.Yet, no progress has been made till date as regards the utilization of the funds.

The broad objective of the project is to reduce agricultural vulnerability of farmers in water stressed rain shadow zones of the statethrough promotion of appropriate cropping system, rain water harvesting and recycling, appropriate irrigation, water saving facilities, integrated farming system and building soil resilience.

As per the project, water conservation infrastructure has to be created for moisture stress areas whereas drainages shall be created for low-lying areas to increase the area under double cropping.

“Special attention will be paid to rain-fed farming (dry land agriculture) in terms of augmentation of available water resource, rain water harvesting and recharge of aquifers,” the project report says.

“Judicious use of irrigation water is necessary and management will be ensured through improved irrigation practices, micro-irrigation systems (sprinkler and drip irrigation), water harvesting structures, cultivation of high value low water requiring crops, water saving methods of cultivation to improve Water Use Efficiency (WUE) e.g. System of Rice Intensification (SRI) and choice of cropping pattern,” it further says.

According to the project report, organic farming will be promoted in the hilly regions of the statethrough conjunctive use of plant residues, farmyard manure, bio-fertilizers, vermi-compost, bio-pesticides, biocontrol agents, associated cropping of legumes with cereals etc. “This will improve Total Factor Productivity (TFP) and sustainability of farming systems,” the report says.

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