We could save the world’s ecosystem if we really wanted to.
In “Meeting India’s tree planting guru” Amarnath Tewary talks to SM Raju about how he organized the villagers of India’s poorest state to reforest, including planting almost a billion trees in one day.
Under NREGA – initiated in February 2006 as the government’s most ambitious employment generation scheme for poor people – the authorities are bound by law to provide a minimum of 100 days of employment a year to members of families living below the poverty line.
About 44% of Bihar’s population fall into this category.
“I told the villagers that they would get 100 days employment in a year simply by planting trees and protecting them. The old, handicapped and widows would be given preference,” he explained.
Every village council has now been given a target of planting 50,000 saplings – a group of four families has to plant 200 seedlings and they must protect them for three years till the plants grow more sturdy.
“They would get the full payment if they can ensure the survival of 90% of the plants under their care. For a 75-80% survival rate, they will be paid only half the wage. If the survival rate is less than 75%, the families in the group will be replaced,” the guidelines say.
Under NREGA rules, each worker has to be paid 100 rupees ($2) per day for 100 days in a year.
We could choose life.