Planning Process for Development of Forests
The National Forest Policy, 1988 provides that the holders of customary rights and concessions in forest areas should be motivated to identify themselves with the protection and development of forest from which they derive benefits.
The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of forest Rights) Act, 2006 (in short FRA) is an act to recognize and vest the forest rights and occupation in forest land in forest dwelling Scheduled tribes and other traditional forest dwellers who have been residing in such forests for generations but whose rights could not be recorded.
Section 3(1)(i) of FRA provides rights to forest dwelling Scheduled Tribes and of other traditional forest dwellers to protect, regenerate or conserve or manage any community forest resource which they have been traditionally protecting and conserving for sustainable use. Section 5 of FRA provides as under: –
The holders of any forest right, Gram Sabha and village level institutions in areas where there are holders of any forest right under this Act are empowered to-
(a) Protect the wild life, forest and biodiversity;
(b) Ensure that adjoining catchments area, water source and other ecological sensitive areas are adequately protected;
(c) Ensure that the habitat of forest dwelling Scheduled tribes and other traditional forest dwellers is preserved from any form of destructive practices affecting their cultural heritage;
(d) Ensure that the decisions taken in the Gram Sabha to regulate access to community forest resources and stop any activity which adversely affects the wild animals, forest and the biodiversity are compiled with.
Ministry of Tribal Affairs and Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change have issued a joint communication dated 06.07.2021 to all States/UTs for effective implementation of FRA. As per FRA and rules made there under, State Governments are responsible for implementation of the Act.