|Demand of the question |
Introduction. Contextual Introduction.
Body. Importance of the act with issues.
Conclusion. Way forward.
To address the adverse living conditions of many tribal families Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, was enacted to recognize and provide the forest rights and occupation of forest land to forest dwelling Scheduled Tribes (FDST) and other traditional forest dwellers (OTFD), who have been residing in such forests for generations.
Importance of the act:
- This Act p recognises the rights to hold and live in the forest land under the individual or common occupation for habitation or for self-cultivation for livelihood.
- It also grants several other rights to ensure their control over forest resources which include
- Right of ownership, access to collect, use and dispose of minor forest produce.
- Community rights.
- Habitat rights for primitive tribal groups and agricultural communities.
- Right to protect, regenerate or conserve or manage any community forest resource which they have been traditionally protecting and conserving for sustainable use.
- The Act provides for diversion of forest land for public utility facilities managed by the Government, such as schools, dispensaries, fair price shops, electricity and telecommunication lines, water tanks, etc. with the recommendation of Gram Sabhas. It is important or development of forest villages.
- The rights of settlement and conversion of all forest villages, old habitations and other villages in forest, into revenue villages have been recognized as one of the forest rights of forest dwelling Scheduled Tribes and other traditional forest dwellers on all forest lands.
- It seeks to rectify colonial injustice to the FDST and OTFD who are integral to the very survival and sustainability of the forest ecosystem.
- The rights of the dwellers extend to extracting Minor Forest Produce, grazing areas, to pastoralist routes, etc.
- It provides for rehabilitation in case of illegal eviction or forced displacement and to basic amenities, subject to restrictions for forest protection.
- It includes the right to protect, regenerate or conserve or manage any community forest resource which they have been traditionally protecting and conserving for sustainable use.
- It expands the mandate of the Fifth and the Sixth Schedules of the Constitution that protect the claims of indigenous communities over tracts of land or forests they inhabit.
- The act through identifying individual forests right and community forest rights tries to provide inclusion to tribes.
The key reasons for poor implementation of FRA are:
- Lack of political commitment.
- Lack of adequate human and financial resources with the Department of Tribal Affairs, which is the nodal agency for implementation of FRA.
- Unkind and irresponsible forest bureaucracy which influences decision at various levels.
- Poor and non-functioning district and sub-division level committees, which consider the claims filed by gram sabhas.
India’s Forest Rights Act is a step forward in the same direction. It empowers the communities to use, manage and govern forests for their livelihood as well as for the conservation and protection of forests. But its poor implementation remains an issue. In the absence of proper survey, settlement and land record, their customary rights over forest land have always been under threat. Centre should cooperate with State governments to implement the Forest Rights Act, 2006 in its right spirit.