A state legislative assembly member of Jharkhand recently called for declaration of mica flakes collected from forests as a ‘forest produce’.
Mica is a group of sheet silicate minerals. The term ‘mica’ is derived from Latin words ‘mica’ meaning crumb and ‘micare’ meaning glitter. It is used in paint industry as a paint extender, to brighten paints, in electrical industry as thermal and electrical insulators, in atomic force microscopy, etc.
Mica in India
India used to be the leading producer and exporter of mica until 1980. India’s mica production accounted for nearly 60% of the global production. Mica collection was made illegal in 1980. Currently, it is being collected illegally from forested areas and is locally called ‘dhibra’.
The collection of mica was made illegal after the promulgation of Forest (Conservation) Act in 1980. Earlier, the 1927 Indian Forest Act considered minerals, like mica, collected from forest as ‘forest produce’. However, the 1980 act removed mica from the list of what constitutes a forest produce.