Kochi: Mangroves are in the news, thanks to finding special mention in the Union Budget this year. Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced ‘MISHTI’, a new scheme for mangrove plantation along India’s coasts, in her Union Budget speech on February 1.
But while some experts have lauded the move, others are not convinced. The Minister did not specify the amount that will be earmarked for the scheme; the Union Budget does not dwell on it either. At the same time, the government has slashed fund allocation for several schemes that aid mangrove afforestation, including the National Coastal Mission. Together with the Union government’s weakening of environmental and coastal protection laws to improve ease of doing business rankings, India’s coastline is being exposed to more vulnerabilities than an unbudgeted mangrove initiative can mitigate, environmentalists said.