Indian states distorted Forest Rights Act: Report

Indian states distorted Forest Rights Act: Report

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Pune, India: The national committee on Forest Rights Act, 2006, constituted by the Ministry of Environment and Forests and Ministry of Tribal affairs, Government of India (GOI), has found that the implementation of the act is slow and distorted all over the country.
However, the panel observed that in Maharashtra, the implementation began well. Rapid delineation of boundaries and physical status of claimed lands was done with relative transparency using remote sensing, GPS and GIS.
Of the 17 states where public consultations were conducted, as many as 11, mostly from the North-East, have not begun implementation even though the act was enforced in 2008, the report said. 
The act recognises tribal and other forest-dwellers’ rights including land rights, rights to use or collect produce and the right to protect and manage the jungles.
The 20-member committee was constituted in April 2010 to look into the implementation and recommend steps for better forest governance and conservation.
The study, accessible on https://fracommittee.icfre.org, observed that the act’s potential to achieve livelihood security and changes in forest governance and strengthen forest conservation has hardly been achieved.
The report points at serious flaws in many states while constituting the Forest Rights Committee (FRC). These panels assist the gram sabha in determining claims from individuals by receiving, consolidating and verifying them.
According to the report, there is inadequate preparedness and lack of trained staff to implement the act. Claims over rights have a high rate of rejection in many states because of faulty processing where forest officials dominate and tribal departments are found weak.
Source: TOI