Rebuffs call to suspend Forest Conservation Rules 2022
Recently the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has rejected the request of the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) to suspend the Forest Conservation Rules (FCR), 2022.
MoEFCC has argued that these rules do not dilute the Forest Rights Act (FRA), 2006, as stated by the Tribal Working Group.
In October 2022, the NCST constituted a working group. The task of this working group was to examine whether the FCR rules violated any provision of the FRA or whether these rules encroached on the rights of tribals.
Forest Conservation Rules, 2022
- These rules have been issued in place of the Forest (Conservation) Rules, 2003 in exercise of the powers conferred by the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980.
- These rules lay down the procedure to be followed for forest land to be used for non-forestry uses.
- It provides for the constitution of an Advisory Committee, a Regional Empowered Committee in each Integrated Regional Office and a Screening Committee at the State/UT Government level.
- States have been given the responsibility of regulating the forest rights of forest dwellers and allowing the use of forest land for any other purpose.
Concerns expressed by NCST
- The Forest Conservation Rules, 2022 are not in consonance with FRA, 2006. Under FRA, 2006, the government is required to take the consent of forest dwellers before allowing any project on the traditional land of forest dwellers.
- The existing rules do not make provisions regarding obtaining the consent of the Gram Sabha before allotting forest land for any project. This has weakened the system of getting the opinion of the local people in the project.
National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST)
- It is a constitutional body. It has been constituted under Article 338A of the Constitution.
- Its objective is to protect and promote the constitutional, socio-economic, legal and civil rights of the Scheduled Tribes in the country.
- It consists of a chairman, a vice-chairman and three other members. They are appointed by the President by warrant under his hand and seal.
Source – The Hindu