Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:
Prelims level: Not much
Mains level: Positive affects of changing the colonial era definition of Bamboo
Bamboo: Grass from Tree
- Recently, the Lok Sabha amended Section 2(7) of the Indian Forest Act, 1927 which had led to bamboo being seen as timber
- Earlier, a law dating back to the colonial era classified the plant as a tree
What is its significance?
- The significance of this amendment is not merely academic
- Classifying bamboo as a grass will remove the forest department’s hold over the natural resource and open up a range of economic possibilities, including reducing dependence on bamboo imports
How was the colonial-era definition affecting India?
- Bamboo was slotted as a “forest produce” and placed in the same category as palm and other trees
- After Independence, generations of foresters interpreted this provision to imply that bamboo being a tree was under the control of the forest department
- The woody plant would find its way to markets largely through auctions held by the department
- This monopoly has come in the way of India becoming a major player in the 60 billion dollar global bamboo market. India has 30 per cent of the world’s bamboo resources, but still imports the plan
Huge demand and supply gap
- According to a CII-India Development Foundation paper, “Industrialisation of the bamboo sector in India”, at 13 million tonnes (mt) a year, India has nearly 14 million hectares of bamboo forests, but the country’s share of the bamboo market is a measly 4.5 per cent
- the country’s bamboo production is far short of the annual demand of 27 mt.
SC decision on Bamboo
- In 1996, the Supreme Court ruled that “felled bamboo” was not timber
- And, the Forests Rights Act (FRA), 2006, classified bamboo as a “non-timber forest produce”
- But both the apex court and the FRA stopped short of aligning bamboo with its taxonomic classification
The way forward
- Removing the colonial-era law could enable linking the bamboo sector with government initiatives such as Make in India
- It will need some hand-holding like subsidies and bank loans schemes, though