Amrit Dharohar Capacity Building Scheme 2023

Amrit Dharohar Capacity Building Scheme 2023

News: The Indian government has launched the ‘Amrit Dharohar Capacity Building Scheme’ 2023 to convert ecologically fragile wetlands, designated as Ramsar sites, into sustainable tourist attractions.

What are Ramsar Sites?
• A Ramsar site is a wetland designated to be of international importance under an environmental treaty signed in February 1971 at Ramsar, Iran under the auspices of UNESCO.
• Ramsar identifies wetlands of international importance, especially those providing waterfowl habitat.
• It provides for national action and international cooperation regarding the conservation of wetlands, and wise sustainable use of their resources.

What is Amrit Dharohar initiative?
• The initiative is a part of the 2023-24 budget announcement and was launched during June 2023 to promote unique conservation values of the Ramsar Sites in the country.
• The initiative to develop these sites has been taken by the Union Tourism Ministry and the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change under the ‘Amrit Dharohar Capacity Building Scheme’ 2023.

Implementation:
• It is being implemented in convergence with various Central govt ministries, State wetland authorities, and a network of formal and informal institutions, working together for a common cause.
• A total of 16 Ramsar sites have been identified out of which 5 have been taken up as a pilot project for skill development of the facilitators, tourism service providers, stakeholders in and around these sites.
• The 5 Wetlands are Sultanpur National Park (Haryana), Bhitarkanika Mangroves (Odisha), Chilika Lake (Odisha), Sirpur (Madhya Pradesh) and Yashwant Sagar (Madhya Pradesh).
• A total of 30 participants have been trained at each of the Ramsar sites for 15 days each under the Alternative Livelihood Programme (ALP) at Sultanpur (Haryana), Yashwant Sagar and Sirpur (Madhya Pradesh).

What is the objective of the initiative?
The main objective would be to shift these fragile wetlands from high-value tourism to high-value nature tourism by
• Shift from high-value tourism to nature tourism at fragile wetlands.
• Direct support for conservation actions.
• Empower local communities and economies.

Significance of Nature Tourism
• Nature tourism focuses on natural attractions like birdwatching, photography, stargazing, camping, etc.
• Targets high-value tourists interested in diverse natural and cultural resources.

What is the significance of Wetlands?
• Water Quality: Wetlands protect and improve water quality by filtering pollutants from the water.
• Habitats: They provide habitats for a vast variety of species, including aquatic and terrestrial plants and animals.
• Flood Control: Wetlands store floodwaters, which helps in controlling floods.
• Climate Moderation: Wetlands store carbon instead of releasing it as carbon dioxide, helping to moderate global climate conditions.
• Recreation and Aesthetics: They offer opportunities for recreation and aesthetic appreciation.
• Biodiversity: Wetlands are among the most productive ecosystems in the world, comparable to rain forests and coral reefs. 

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