Forest Conservation Current Affairs - 2020

Annual Report of Environment Ministry

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has released the Annual Report 2019-20.

Highlights

The report says that around 11,467 hectares of forest lands have been diverted in 22 states in 2019. The diversion has been made under Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980. The diversion was made for 932 non-forestry projects.

Of all the diversions made, one-third was for Odisha based projects. They were around 14 in number and 4,514 hectares of land was diverted. Odisha was followed by Telangana where the diversion was made for 11 projects diverting 2,055 hectares of land.

The maximum number of projects were in Haryana. However, the land diversion was comparatively less, 519 hectares.

Findings

The report also provided category wise details. The largest forest area land was diverted for mining projects and irrigation. The report observed that the ministry provided guidelines to help in relocation of villages. Whenever this was done, the legal-status of the land shall be changed to non-forest land under Forest Conservation Act.

Forest Villages

The report says that there was no conservation of forest villages in the year 2019. The forest villages were those that were set up by the Britishers to procure resources such as timber. Even today there are 2,500 forest villages in the country.

Ministry of Tribal Affairs constitutes committee on Community Forest Resource Guidelines

The Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs recently constituted a committee under NC Saxena, former member of Planning Commission of India. The Committee will examine and recommend Community Forest Resources (CFR) Guidelines. The Committee has been constituted under Forest Rights Act, 2006.

Why the Committee?

In 2016, the Tribal Affairs Ministry framed CFR in consultation with the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. However, the guidelines faced several criticisms from tribal organizations all over India. They complained that the guidelines were too technical.

The Issue

The Forest Right Act, 2006 gives habitat rights to the Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group and pre-agriculture communities. They shall access the resources in the area that are designated as their habitat. However, the act left it at the responsibility of the states to identify the habitats. Several states failed to recognize such habitats.

Therefore, the Committee will provide a report clarifying concepts and detail the procedures that make implementation of CFR guidelines easy and understandable.