Cabinet approves MoU on tiger conservation

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Cabinet approves MoU on tiger conservation

3 Jul 2009, 0542 hrs IST, TNN

NEW DELHI: In fresh move to strengthen tiger conservation efforts, the Union cabinet on Thursday approved a proposal for implementing the tripartite agreement among the environment ministry, state governments and tiger reserves.

The MoU seeks to ensure effective tiger conservation by laying out respective responsibilities and reciprocal commitments linked to fund flow to foster public accountability.

The MoU aims at strengthening tiger conservation initiatives and developing approaches to strengthen efforts for conserving tigers in the identified reserves and other tiger-bearing forests of the country.

“It will address the growing concern among the public for saving the tiger,” I&B minister Ambika Soni said after cabinet meeting.

Funds are now being disbursed by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) under a pact with states for protecting the animal under Project Tiger.

However, under the new agreement, tiger reserves will also be made accountable for fund utilisation given that many states had failed to fully spend money provided by the Centre.

In another decision, the cabinet approved an amendment to the Rubber Act, 1947, that seeks to change the definition of a small grower, among others. The relevant Bill will be moved in Parliament.

The amendment seeks to change the definition of a small grower to the one having an estate of 10 hectares or less instead of the current norm of 20 hectares or less.

The amendment will also empower the state-owned Rubber Board to implement quality standards in marketing various types of rubber, Soni said.

A Rubber Development Fund will replace the existing general fund, which will also give fresh impetus to the funding of the Board, she said.

The cabinet also decided to set up a plasma fractation centre at Chennai at a cost of Rs 250 crore. The centre, which will be able to process more than 1.5 lakh litres of plasma, will be a state-of the art facility with the latest technology and equipment as well as meeting international standards.

The centre will manufacture all important plasma derivatives which are presently being imported. This will reduce the country’s dependence on import of these plasma products, Soni said. The imported plasma derivatives are expensive and not accessible to all needy patients.

Out of the Rs 250 crore, Rs 25 crore will be for the building’s construction, Rs 65 crore for procurement of equipment, Rs 20 crore for manpower and Rs 140 crore for consumables and other recurring expenses.

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