NITI Aayog has released five Thematic Reports on Sustainable Development in Indian Himalayan Region (IHR) recognizing uniqueness of Himalayas and challenges for sustainable development. These reports list challenges in all defined five thematic areas and discuss significance, challenges, ongoing actions and future roadmap.
These reports were prepared by five working groups which were set up by NITI Aayog in June 2017 to prepare roadmap for actions in five thematic areas that are quite significant for the Himalayas. These areas were Inventory and Revival of Springs in Himalayas for Water Security, Sustainable Tourism in Indian Himalayan Region, Transformative Approach to Shifting Cultivation, Strengthening Skill & Entrepreneurship Landscape in Himalayas and Data and Information for Informed Decision Making. These working groups were constituted after NITI Aayog recognised that Himalayan mountains require specific solutions for resilience building that address socio-economic and environmental challenges in the mountain setting.
Key Features of five Thematic reports
Inventory and Revival of springs in Himalayas for Water Security: Nearly 30% of springs, crucial to water security of people in Himalayas are drying and 50% have reported reduced discharge. There is need for spring mapping and revival by using eight steps protocol that must be taken up across Himalayan States in phased manner. It calls for setting up of Mission on Spring Water Management in Himalayas.
Sustainable Tourism in Indian Himalayan Region: Himalayan Tourism is growing annually at 6.8% and has created huge challenge related to solid waste, water, traffic, loss of bio-cultural diversity etc. Projected arrival of tourists will be more than double by 2025. Urgent actions are needed to address issues of waste management and water crisis. The concept of carrying capacity must be applied to all major tourist destinations. Besides tourism sector standards must be implemented and monitored. Performance based incentives must be approved for states. Himalayan Authority must be launched for coordinated and holistic development of entire Himalayan region. “Himalaya Calling: An Awareness to Action Campaign” must be launched as people’s movement.
Transformative approach to shifting cultivation: Thousands of households in north eastern states, continue to practice shifting cultivation i.e. slash and burn (Jhum cultivation) which needs to be addressed in view of ecological, food and nutritional security. There is urgent need for assessment of nature and extent of shifting cultivation area. Moreover there is need for improved policy coherence, strengthened tenurial security and improved access to related programs for transform shifting cultivation. National Mission/Program on Transforming Shifting Cultivation in North Eastern States must be set up.
Strengthening Skill and Entrepreneurship Landscape in Himalayas: The Himalayan states face severe challenge of unskilled workforce and migration of youths. There is urgent need to strengthen skill and entrepreneurship workforce in Himalayan region with required focus on identified priority sectors where mountains have advantage, along with investment in trainers, assessors and setting up training centers with industry partnership. There is need to set up demand driven network of skill and entrepreneurship development Centers in Himalayan States along with consortium of institutions of high learning for mountain specific research and technology.
Data/Information for Informed Decision Making: Himalayan states face challenges related to data availability, data authenticity, compatibility, data quality, validation, user charges. It needs to be addressed for informed decision making at different levels of governance. Central Data Management Agency for Himalayas must be set up to provide data with high fidelity scenario. It will help in addressing data sharing, access, authenticity and comparability issues. It should be linked with Hindukush Himalaya Monitoring and Assessment program (HIMAP). Central Data Management Agency for Himalayan Database must be set up at GB Pant National Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development.
Tags: Entrepreneurship • Environment • Himalayan Region • National • Niti Aayog • Shifting Cultivation • Skills • Sustainable Development • Sustainable Tourism • Thematic Reports • Tourism • Water Security