Bamboo ceases to be a tree, freed of Forest Act

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Mains Paper 3: Agriculture | Transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Beneficial for farmers


News

Bamboo is no longer a tree

  1. The bamboo has legally ceased to be a tree
  2. Government has amended the Indian Forest Act and removed the bamboo(taxonomically a grass) from a list of plants that also included palms, skumps, brush-wood and canes
  3. Bamboo grown in the forest areas would continue to be governed by the provisions of the Indian Forest Act.

Why this step?

  1. With this, the 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

Background

  1. For several years now, the classification of the bambooas a tree meant that it couldn’t be easily ferried across State borders
  2. It also required permits from village councils and couldn’t be cultivated in non-forest areas

Experts hailed the decision

  1. The amendment was cleared as an ordinance and is therefore yet to get parliamentary backing
  2. However experts welcomed it saying that it removed ambiguity on the status of bamboo and also brought it in harmony with the related Forest Rights Act

Possible trade benefits

  1. The current demand of bamboo in India is estimated at 28 million tonnes
  2. Though the country has 19% share of the world’s area under bamboo cultivation, its market share in the sector is only 6%
  3. The amendment will help in addressing some of these issues, besides meeting the demand from domestic production
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