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Post at: Sep 28 2022

Forest Conservation Rules, 2022

Forest Conservation Act (FCA), 1980 was enacted by the Parliament to control the ongoing deforestation of the forests of India.Forest Conservation Act is the principal legislation that regulates deforestation in India. In a recent development, new set of rules have been notified by MoEFCC (Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change) under Forest Conversation Act, 1980.
Forest Conservation Rules, 2022

  • Issued in : July, 2022
  • Issues by : Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change
  • Issued Under : Forest Conversation Act, 1980.
  • Replaces : The earlier rules notified in 2003.

Main Provisions

  • The Rights of the forest dwellers would be settled before a project receives sanction.
  • The State Government will be responsible for the settlement of Forest rights.
  • For monitoring the Act, the following committees will be constituted:
    • An advisory committee
    • A regional empowered committee and
    • A screening committee at the State/UT
  • Allows for Compensatory Afforestation (CA) in other states:
  • CA to be carried out in states with Forest Cover <20% in case a state already has,
    • 2/3rd (66%) under Green Cover or
    • 1/3rd (33%) under Forest Cover
  • Time Frame will be attached for quicker review of the project.

Government’s rationale behind new rules

  • As the implementation of the Forest Rights Act and settling claims of Forest Rights is an independent process from that of project approvals.
  • Forest Rights will be ensured by regular monitoring by Tribal Affairs Ministry.
  • Balanced creation of Forests across states due to new provision of Compensatory Afforestation permitted in other states.

Concerns/ Challenges

  • There is no written clause to take a NOC (no-objection Certificate) from the Gram Sabha before the diversion of lands in a forested area.
  • All claims of Forest Rights (FRs) will be deemed to be settled once the project receives final approval.
  • The state governments will be under even greater pressure from the Centre to accelerate the process of diversion of forest land.

Conclusion

  • A balanced approach must be taken to safeguard the Forest Rights and allow for timely approval of the projects by following due process. Only then, sustainable development can be ensured.


 


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