Forest Conservation Efforts – NFP, Western Ghats, etc.

Coming, a law to empower forest staff

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Indian Forest Act, 2019

Mains level: Mechanism for forest conservation in India


News

  • A proposed legislation accords significant powers to India’s forest officers — including the power issue search warrants, enter and investigate lands within their jurisdictions, and to provide indemnity to forest officers using arms to prevent forest-related offences.

Indian Forest Act, 2019

  • The Indian Forest Act, 2019 is envisaged as an amendment to the Indian Forest Act, 1927.
  • It is an attempt to address contemporary challenges to India’s forests.
  • It proposed to provide indemnity to Forest-officer using arms etc, to prevent the forest offence.
  • Forest-officer not below the rank of a Ranger shall have power to hold an inquiry into forest offences and shall have the powers to search or issue a search warrant under the CrPC, 1973.
  • Any Forest-officer not below the rank of a Forester may, at any time enter and inspect any land within his area of jurisdiction.

Defining Village forests

  • Village forests according to the proposed Act, may be forestland or wasteland, which is the property of the government.
  • It would be jointly managed by the community through the Joint Forest Management Committee or Gram Sabha.

Issues surrounding this Act

  • Independent experts said that the proposed law would lead to conflicts during implementation, particularly when seen in the context of the Forest Rights Act, 2006.
  • In effect, the aim is to strengthen the forest bureaucracy in terms of deciding on how to decide on [title claims] over forest land, what parts to declare [off-limits] for conservation, checking encroachments, etc.
  • In recent times, things have dramatically changed since 1927 with new laws, greater rights accorded to forest dwellers by the Constitution.
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