FOREST RIGHTS ACT
What is in news : Recently, the Jammu and Kashmir government has decided to implement the Forest Rights Act (FRA), 2006, which will elevate the socio-economic status of a sizable section of the 14-lakh-strong population of tribals and nomadic communities.
- Was passed in December 2006
- Deals with the rights of forest-dwelling communities over land and other resources. Grants legal recognition to the rights of traditional forest dwelling communities
Rights under the Act:
- Title rights – Ownership to land that is being farmed by tribals or forest dwellers subject to a maximum of 4 hectares; ownership is only for land that is actually being cultivated by the concerned family, meaning that no new lands are granted.
- Use rights – to minor forest produce (also including ownership), to grazing areas, to pastoralist routes, etc.
- Relief and development rights – to rehabilitation in case of illegal eviction or forced displacement; and to basic amenities, subject to restrictions for forest protection.
- Forest management rights – to protect forests and wildlife.
- Confined to those who “primarily reside in forests” and who depend on forests and forest land for a livelihood
- Either the claimant must be a member of the Scheduled Tribes scheduled in that area or must have been residing in the forest for 75 years.
Process of recognition of rights:
- Gram sabha, or village assembly, will initially pass a resolution recommending whose rights to which resources should be recognised.
- This resolution is then screened and approved at the level of the sub-division (or taluka) and subsequently at the district level.
- The screening committees consist of three government officials (Forest, Revenue and Tribal Welfare departments) and three elected members of the local body at that level. These committees also hear appeals.