Ordinances Current Affairs

Bamboo not ‘tree’ any more: President promulgates ordinance to amend Forest Act

President Ram Nath Kovind has promulgated an ordinance under Article 123 of Constitute to amend Indian Forest Act, 1927 to encourage bamboo plantation by farmers in private lands.

The ordinance omits bamboo (taxonomically a grass) grown in non-forest areas from definition of trees. The omission, thereby exempts it from requiring permits for felling or transportation of bamboo grown in non-forest areas.

Key Facts

With this, bamboo grown in non-forest areas ceases to be tree. However, bamboo grown in forest areas continues to be governed by provisions of Indian Forest Act. The amendment to Section 2(7) of Indian Forest Act, 1927 will encourage bamboo plantation by farmers, which will contribute to doubling farmers income by 2022.

Need

India has largest area under bamboo cultivation and is second richest in terms of bamboo genetic resources after China. India has 19% share of world’s area under bamboo cultivation, its market share in sector is only 6%. But, India’s massive potential was not utilised to increase country’s share in global bamboo market.  As result, India is currently importing timber and allied products such as pulp, paper and furniture, etc. The amendment will help in addressing some of these issues, besides meeting the demand from domestic production.

Significance of Amendments

By omitting bamboo grown in non-forest areas from definition of trees, government hoped to promote cultivation of bamboo in non-forest areas to achieve the “twin objectives” of increasing the income of farmers and also increasing the green cover of the country.

The amendment approved will allow free movement of bamboo and ensure that production and consumption centres are seamlessly integrated. This will generate demand for raw material leading to planting of bamboo trees on non-forest land, provide employment and encourage growth of small and medium industries in villages and smaller towns also, and reduce our dependence on imports.

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Rajasthan Government introduces bill prohibiting probes against judges, officers without sanction

Rajasthan Government has introduced The Code of Criminal Procedure (Rajasthan Amendment) Bill, 2017 in the state assembly to protect both serving and former judges, magistrates and public servants in state from being investigated for on-duty action without its prior sanction. The bill replaces Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Ordinance, 2017 promulgated in this regard.

Features of Bill

The Bill prevents courts from taking up private complaints against both serving and former judges, magistrates and public servants in state for on-duty action without its prior sanction. It also bars media from reporting on such matters involving accusations against public servants until sanction to proceed with probe is obtained.

The bill amends Criminal Code of Procedure (CrPC), 1973. It curbs publishing and printing or publicising in any case the name, address, photograph, family details of the public servants.

It make additions to sections 156 (3) and 190 (1) of CrPC which empower a magistrate to take cognizance of an offence and order an investigation. It provides 180 days immunity to officers as it has provision mentioning no magistrate can order an investigation nor will any investigation be conducted against person who is or was a judge or a magistrate or a public servant.

Its violation will call for two years imprisonment. If there is no decision on the sanction request post the stipulated time period (180 days), it will automatically mean that sanction has been granted.

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