Environment Ministry mulls corporate funding to protect wildlife

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In a move that could open up the country’s over 700 protected and wildlife areas to the private sector, the Union Environment Ministry is exploring options to seek corporate funding for the management of wildlife protected areas like national parks and sanctuaries due to inadequate budgetary funding.

The ministry is considering a proposal to establish a National Foundation for Resource Mobilization for Wildlife Conservation (NFRMWC) to raise funds. The matter was placed before the meeting of the Standing Committee of the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) last month held under the chairmanship of environment minister Bhupender Yadav. He advised wider consultation on the matter.

Cautioning the ministry over the move, NBWL member Dr R Sukumar said care should be taken to ensure that the corporate sector does not have a disproportionate say in the decision making process of the trust.

The NFRMWC is envisaged as a Government-owned public trust, which will be registered under the Societies Act. It is expected to provide a range of activities for private or corporate funding and will have flexibility in terms of resource mobilisation, operations and collaboration with other organisations for the purpose of wildlife conservation, including zoos.

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