BEWARE OF FAKE INSTITUTES WITH SIMILAR NAMES. blank    blank
banner

Forest Act 2023: Ecology, Economy, and Controversies



  Nov 18, 2023

Forest Conservation Amendment Act 2023



1. Aims to Address Climate Change and Deforestation

Objective: The amendment is primarily designed to tackle climate change and deforestation issues.

Methods: It focuses on effective management and afforestation, intending to improve forest conservation while also considering the economic potential of these lands.

2. Economic Utilization of Forests

Key Change: The amendment facilitates the economic exploitation of forests by adjusting the legal framework.

Scope: It limits the applicability of the forest law to areas defined under the 1927 Forest Act or those designated as forests after October 25, 1980.

Impact: This change allows for certain forest lands to be used for non-forest purposes, potentially opening them up for industrial and other economic activities.

3. Exclusions and Permissions

Excluded Areas: Forests converted for non-forest use after December 12, 1996, are not covered by the Act.

Security Provisions: The government is authorized to build security infrastructure and surveillance facilities within 100 km of the borders with China and Pakistan, and in areas deemed vulnerable.

Area Limitation: This provision applies to areas up to ten hectares for security measures and up to five hectares for vulnerable areas.

4. Promotion of Ecotourism and Environmental Initiatives

Objective: To enhance the livelihoods of people reliant on forest resources.

Initiatives: The amendment encourages projects like ecotourism, safaris, and environmental entertainment in designated forest areas.

5. Industrial Development Motive

Background: The amendment is seen as catering to the needs of the industrial sector, aiming to make forest land available for industrial use.

Godavarman Case Impact: A Supreme Court case expanded the definition of forest land, leading to increased legal protection of forests, which the amendment seeks to modify for industrial benefit.

6. Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) Recommendations

Composition: Dominated by the ruling party with limited opposition representation.

Outcome: The JPC passed the Bill without substantial debate or consideration of dissenting views, indicating a lack of collaborative discussion, particularly with southern States.

7. Issues with Prior Consent and State Involvement

Removal of Consent Requirement: Earlier, tribal grama sabha consent was mandatory for changes to forest land use, but this requirement has been removed.

State Governments' View: Many State governments view Adivasi grama sabhas as obstacles to development, leading to reluctance in involving them in decision-making processes.

8. Compensatory Afforestation

Concept: Involves planting trees to compensate for forest land used for non-forest purposes.

Challenges: There have been concerns about the types of trees planted and the adequacy of the land designated for compensatory afforestation.

9. Impact on Forest Rights Act (FRA)

Reduced Implementation: Central and State governments show less commitment to implementing the FRA.

Concerns: Granting community rights under the FRA is perceived as reducing state control over forests and potentially leading to legal challenges.

10. Problems and Challenges

Contradiction with Decentralized Governance: The amendment conflicts with the principle of decentralized forest governance.

Overlooking Environmental Security: It does not adequately address internal environmental security issues, such as natural disasters and human-animal conflicts, particularly affecting Adivasi communities.

In conclusion, the Forest Conservation Amendment Act of 2023 aims to balance environmental conservation with economic development but raises significant issues about indigenous rights, environmental impact, and the shift in forest governance.

1. 1927 Forest Act Reference

Significance: The 1927 Forest Act is a colonial-era law that first established the legal framework for managing forests in India.

Implication in the Amendment: The new amendment specifies that the forest law will now only apply to areas that were categorised under the 1927 Forest Act. This historical reference indicates a continuity and reliance on colonial-era policies for defining forest areas.

2. October 25, 1980, Designation

Relevance: This date marks a critical point in the legal definition of forests in India.

Amendment Context: Forest areas designated after this date are subject to the provisions of the new amendment. This implies that forests identified as such after 1980 are given legal recognition and protection under the current forest conservation laws.

3. December 12, 1996, Cut-off for Non-Forest Use Conversion

Background: The date is significant due to the Supreme Court's involvement in forest conservation matters.

Amendment Provision: Forests that were converted for non-forest use after this date are not covered by the Act. This creates a legal distinction between forests that were converted before and after this date, potentially exempting certain areas from strict conservation rules.

4. JPC Report Submission on July 20

Importance: The date the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) submitted its report is key to understanding the legislative process of the amendment.

Implication: It signifies the culmination of the JPC’s review and its recommendations, which were critical in shaping the final form of the amendment.

5. Godavarman Thirumulkpad Case (1996)

Significance: This Supreme Court case had a major impact on the definition and management of forests in India.

Relation to the Amendment: The case expanded the definition of forest land and brought private forests under the ambit of the 1980 law, influencing the formulation of the new amendment.

Each of these dates marks pivotal moments in the le


Share:
 

Get a call back

Fill the below form to get free counselling for UPSC Civil Services exam preparation

 
UPSC DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS

 
Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs)
 
Antimalarial resistance in Africa:
 
GENDER GAP IN EDUCATION IN INDIA 2024
 
Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) in India
 
Nipah virus:
 
GOBARDHAN SCHEME OVERVIEW
 
ODISHA’S SHADOW CABINET: DEEP DIVE
 
MONETARY POLICY: DOVES AND HAWKS
 
RBI-INTEREST & EXCHANGE RATES: INDIAN RUPEE
 
FOREX RESERVES FAQs: SIMPLIFIER
 
RUPEE FLOAT: SIMPLIFIER
 
CURRENCY DEPRECIATION AND DEVALUATION
 
RBI FINANCIAL INCLUSION (FI) INDEX
 
Stagflation: Causes, Effects, and Economic Impact
 
Inflation Expectations in India:Simplifier