Published on: October 15, 2023

Habitat Rights

Habitat Rights

Why in news? Baiga tribal group gets habitat rights in Chhattisgarh


  • The Baiga Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG) became the second to get habitat rights in the Chhattisgarh

What are habitat rights?

  • According to forest rights act, “Habitat includes the area comprising the customary habitat and such other habitats in reserved forests and protected forests of primitive tribal groups and pre-agricultural communities and other forest dwelling Scheduled Tribes.”

What does ‘habitat’ mean, under what law are such rights granted?

  • Habitat rights are given to PVTGs under rights including community tenures of habitat and habitation for primitive tribal groups and pre-agricultural communities of The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 also known as the Forest Rights Act (FRA).

What are the benefits of habitat rights given to tribes?

  • Habitat rights will help the PVTG protect their habitat from developmental activities harmful to them. Ex: Mining
  • Consent and consultation of the gram sabha will be needed for any developmental activity.
  • It provides additional layer of legal protection like Forest Rights have legal protection under the Forest Conservation Act, the Land Acquisition law of 2013, and even the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities. Act.

Which tribes are termed PVTG?

  • According to the ministry of tribal affairs, tribal communities who are technologically backward, who have stagnant or declining population growth, extremely low level of literacy, and a subsistence level of economy are declared as PVTG.
  • PVTGs have low health indices and largely reside in isolated, remote, and difficult areas in small and scattered hamlets/habitats.

How many states have recognised habitat rights?

  • The ministry has identified 75 PVGTs in 18 states and one Union Territory.
  • Out of 75 PVTG in India, only three have habitat rights.
  • The Bharia PVTG in Madhya Pradesh was the first, followed by the Kamar tribe and now the Baiga tribe in Chhattisgarh.

How does the government fix a habitat?

  • United Nations Development Program (UNDP) is providing technical assistance to the administration to implement the habitat rights law, the procedure is based on a detailed guideline given by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs.
  • Four state-level departments — Forest, Revenue, Tribal and Panchayati Raj — will coordinate with the UNDP to ascertain what can be termed as habitat.
  • Based on the MoTA guidelines, the traditional tribal leaders of the tribe are consulted about the extent of their culture, traditions, occupation that is ratified by the government and then a habitat is declared