What is MISHTI, to save mangroves, and what do experts say?

On 1st February the Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs, Nirmala Sitharaman in the union budget 2023-24 speech introduced the MISHTI scheme. It stands for ‘Mangrove Initiative for Shoreline Habitats & Tangible Incomes.’

The scheme will be taken up for mangrove plantations along the coastline and on saltpan lands, wherever feasible. This would be done through convergence between Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) fund, and other sources.


This new initiative aims to heavily afforest coastal mangrove forests. These mangrove forests are found in both the eastern and western coastlines of India. And, the Sundarbans in West Bengal are one of the largest mangrove forests in the world.

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Mangrove cover in India

According to the Forest Survey Report 2021, the total mangrove cover in India is 4,992 sq km. Furthermore, it accounts for 3% of the total mangrove cover in South Asia. India is also a part of the Mangrove Alliance for Climate. The organization aims to identify the importance of preserving mangrove ecosystems for climate change mitigation and adaptation through the use of modern technology, artificial intelligence, and innovative mechanisms and tools.

Read more: Mangrove Cover

Experts’ opinion on the scheme

Ramasamy Ramasubramanian, senior fellow, coastal systems research, MS Swaminathan Research Foundation, Chennai states that it is a good idea to plant mangroves wherever feasible and the MISHTI program will help to increase the forest cover. Already the funds of MGNREGS funds are being used in pilot projects in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh and the new program will help to get more funds for mangrove plantation, reported Mongabay.

Nehru Prabakaran, a scientist at the Wildlife Institute of India told Down to Earth that state-level actions can only contribute to a certain extent. But, the announcement from the Union government can provide the necessary boost for large-scale plantations. Sea level rise is happening on the Indian coast. We do not know how vulnerable Indian mangroves are to this change. We must take advantage of the available scientific information and use it in our plantation efforts, he further states.

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