7 States fall short of Forest Rights Act implementation
The government has asked seven states- Assam, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Jharkhand, to effectively implement the Forest Rights Act. The Prime Minister’s office (PMO) has asked these states to implement Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act in campaign mode. The analysis of monthly progress reports of these seven states sent to the PMO showed that these states have performed very badly in implementing the FRA since its notification in January 2008.
The Ministry of Tribal Affairs has been organising various consultation meetings with state governments to create awareness for timely disposal of land right claims. Despite these efforts, Uttar Pradesh has reported the highest rejection rate (81%) of land right claims. West Bengal has registered a 68% rejection followed by Maharashtra (64%) and Madhya Pradesh (61%). Lack of awareness among beneficiaries and those who are supposed to implement the act is cited to be the reason for lot of wrongful rejections based on invalid and flimsy grounds.
The Scheduled Tribes and the Other Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act 2006 seeks to restore rights of tribes living in forests for generations.
The Forest Act 2006 marked a real water shade in the history of the forest communities in India. The act provides the right to hold and live in forest land under individual or common occupation for habitation or for the self-cultivation for livelihood purposes. As per this act, Gram Sabha plays a pivotal role in ensuring the rights of the forest dwellers, decision making, planning and management for Joint Forest Management.