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The Forest Rights Act, 2006: What makes implementation challenging

GS Paper 2

 Syllabus: Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors and Issues arising out of their Design and Implementation

 

Source: DTE

 

Context: Even after 16 years, implementation provisions under the Forest Rights Act, 2006, have been far from satisfactory.

 

The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act 2006 (FRA):

Current Affairs

 

  • It recognizes the rights of forest-dwelling communities to forest resources.
  • It also provides rights to the allocation of forest land for developmental purposes to fulfil the basic infrastructural needs of the community.
  • In conjunction with the Land Acquisition Rehabilitation and Settlement Act 2013, FRA protects the tribal population from eviction without rehabilitation and settlement.
  • The Gram Sabha is a highly empowered body under the Act, enabling the tribal population to have a decisive say in the determination of local policies and schemes impacting them.

 

Reasons for non-implementation of FRA:

  • Lack of clarity about where and how much forest land might be eligible for Community Forest Resource Rights (CFRR) claims.
  • Consequently, there is no target against which the state government’s performance can be measured.

 

The potential area that could be marked for granting of CFRR in 4 states:

 

Why this gap?

  • The complexity of land and forest settlement in India.
  • The poor quality of land records and maps available.
  • A crude estimate can be made from village land use data provided in the census’ village amenities tables → likely to be significantly lower than the actual area → large tracts of forests being demarcated as Reserve Forest (RF) → not being part of any revenue village.

 

Estimate the CFRR potential area in two parts:

  • All villages have more than 10 hectares (ha) of forest area within their revenue boundaries as per Census 2011.
  • All villages that are in or adjacent to RF patches that are outside village revenue boundaries.
    • The customary boundaries of these villages should extend at least 2 km into the forest (to be identified using GIS).

 

Conclusion: The correct estimation of the CFRR potential areas will potentially benefit the livelihoods of a total of around 62.6 million people (in 4 states in the table above).

 

Inta Links:

IFR review: States do dubious paperwork, cite baseless reasons for refusing forest rights to tribals