Dr Singh said the Central Government would further enhance financial and organizational support for efforts in this direction. While expressing concern about the decline in Tiger population, he noted that recent estimates of Tiger population, arrived at on the basis of a new methodology, couldn"t be compared with earlier estimates.
The Prime Minister directed that the Centre should fund modernization of Tiger Reserves management, including recruitment of staff from local population and providing them adequate equipment. Dr Singh sought a State-specific strategy for such central assistance.
The government has recently approved an enhanced relocation package of up to Rs. 10 lakhs per family for families living in Tiger Reserves.Schemes for rehabilitation of traditional hunters; for supporting new Tiger Reserves; for supporting eco-tourism benefiting local communities; for deployment of anti-poaching staff; and, for improving service conditions of forest officers have also been taken up.
Noting that some States have a better record of Tiger conservation than others, the meeting stressed the importance of the concerned State Governments paying focused attention.The Chief Ministers have been asked to take personal charge of Tiger conservation and forest management.
The Prime Minister will convene a Conference of Chief Ministers with Tiger Reserves to put in place a coordinated response to the challenge of Tiger conservation. The Minister of State for Forests Regupathy, Deputy Chairman Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia, attended the meeting. Senior officials of the Prime Minister"s Office and the Environment and Forests Ministry, and the Director National Tiger Conservation Authority were also present during meeting.