Forest and Tribal Rights

Forest and Tribal Rights


FAQ on Forest Rights Act (2006)

Frequently Asked Questions on the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 (FRA), prepared in December, 2012, http://tribal.nic.in/writereaddata/mainlinkFile/File1539.pdf:

The enactment of the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 (FRA) is an important watershed in the history of tribal empowerment in India especially relating to tenure security on forests and forest land. The Act became operational through notification of the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Rules on January 1, 2008 which marked a historic journey to recognize and vest Forest Rights to the marginalized and vulnerable who are dependent on forests for their sustenance and their existence.

Over a period of last four years of implementation of the Act, some problems impeding the implementation of the Act in its letter and spirit had come to the notice of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs. Some of the major concerns regarding implementation of this Act related to high rate of rejection of claims , little progress in the recognition of community rights and habitat rights of PTGs , convening of Gram Sabha meetings at the Panchayat level, insistence of particular form of evidence, claimants not being informed about rejection of claims and inadequate awareness about the provisions of the Act and the Rules, etc. Based on this experience, the Ministry of Tribal Affairs issued detailed Guidelines to the States in July 2012 and notified amendment to the FRA Rules in September 2012 in order to develop further clarity on the interpretation of the Act and to streamline its implementation.

The Ministry in collaboration with UNDP organized Five Regional Consultations covering 22 states across India to share the recent amendments to the Rules, understand the operational challenges and to collectively identify the way forward on effective implementation of the Act including preparation of Action Plans for time-bound implementation of the Act. The Regional Consultations provided a platform where Tribal Welfare, Panchayati Raj, Forest and Revenue Departments shared their views and sought clarifications on wide range of issues.

This Booklet seeks to addresses some of the questions raised during the Regional Consultations related to the process of recognition of rights, evidence requirements, ownership over minor forest produce, rights over community forest resource , protection against eviction, definition of OTFDs, convening of Gram Sabha at hamlet/habitation level, recognition of habitat rights of PTGs etc. It is an attempt to consolidate the responses given in the workshop by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs. This Booklet can be used as a reference document for consultations, workshops, and effective implementation of FRA.
 
1.    Section 3(1)(c) of FRA confers ownership rights over minor forest produces (MFP) to forest dwelling STs and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers. Can ownership rights over Tendu/Kendu, Bamboo which are nationalised forest produce under the State forest laws be conferred under FRA?

•    Yes. The recognition and vesting of ownership rights over all minor forest produces (MFP) including bamboo and tendu/kendu are to be conferred to forest dwelling STs and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers as and when the claim for such rights is made.

•    Section 2(i) of FRA clearly defines the term “minor forest produce” which include bamboo and tendu/kendu.

2.    Whether the shift of ownership of MFPs from the State in case of certain nationalised MFPs, like, tendu patta, would not lead to exploitation of MFP gatherers by the private traders?

•    The shift of ownership to right holders does not necessitate withdrawal of the State agencies from MFP trade. It is advised that the State agencies should continue to extend their support system to the MFP gatherers by way of purchasing the produces to provide minimum support price and safeguard against any potential exploitative cartel of buyers. A parallel may be drawn in the manner with process followed for rice and wheat.

•    MFP gatherers may be organized through formation of cooperatives/federations or producer companies to enhance bargaining power vis-à-vis   MFP buyers.

•    Abolition of monopoly of State Agencies in the trade of nationalized MFPs will in fact strengthen institutions engaged in trade of MFPs and making them more competitive and this will reduce exploitation of the rights holders under the watchful eye of the State.

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The following linksand websites would benefit reporters writing on the issue of Forest Rights Act(2006):

 

Ministry ofEnvironment and Forests

http://www.moef.nic.in/modules/rules-and-regulations/fores
t-conservation/

 

Ministry of TribalAffairs


http://tribal.nic.in/writereaddata/mainlinkFile/File1434.pdf

http://tribal.nic.in/index1.asp?linkid=376&langid=1

 

Websites on ForestRights Act:

 

http://fra.org.in/new/

http://www.forestrightsact.com/

 

 


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