UPSC CSE – SYLLABUS: GENERAL STUDIES-3- Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment
Forest Rights Act – Tribal
- The Supreme Court’s had ordered to evict, occupants of forest lands who failed to make a successful claim for tenure under the Forest Rights Act, 2006. This order has now been stayed by the SC.
- This has brought to the fore a main issue. The claim that tribal protection and wild life conservation are opposite to each other.
- There is a need to understand that tribal and wild life conservation complements each other.
- The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, has been enacted to recognize and vest the forest rights and occupation of forest land in forest dwelling Scheduled Tribes and other traditional forest dwellers, who have been residing in such forests for generations, but whose rights could not be recorded.
- This Act not only recognizes the rights to hold and live in the forest land under the individual or common occupation for habitation or for self-cultivation for livelihood.
- Over 20 lakh other applicants who could not establish their claim through gram Sabha and appellate authorities have now been ordered to be evicted. It is said that administrative inefficiency is also a reason for non-establishment of claims.
- The Xaxa Committee observed that “claims are being rejected without assigning reasons, or based on wrong interpretation of the ‘OTFD’ definition and the ‘dependence’ clause, or simply for lack of evidence or ‘absence of GPS survey.
- The SC has now agreed to examine whether the due process under the Forest Rights Act was followed by the state governments in deciding the claims of the forest dwellers and the process of adjudicating appeals before final rejection
Tribal and wildlife:
- Studies indicate the strength of tribal knowledge of forests and ecological resources. Such knowledge enabled not only the conservation of flora and biodiversity but also that of fauna.
- In the context of the negative fallout of decades of intensive chemical and technology-based agriculture and the recent impact of global climate change, which threatens natural resources and food production, it may be important to draw on such knowledge systems.
- No one can look after their forest and environment better than ethnic people because their survival and identity depend on it. They are generally the best conservationists and they have managed their cultivable lands for many generations.
- Tribal peoples have managed, protected, nurtured and shaped their land for generations. They, more than anyone, have the best knowledge and motivation to protect their land.
- Tribal peoples developed highly effective measures for maintaining the richness of their environment. They have sophisticated codes of conservation to stop overhunting and preserve biodiversity.
- The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, is the most comprehensive international instrument on the rights of indigenous peoples. It establishes a universal framework of minimum standards for the survival, dignity and well-being of the indigenous peoples of the world and it elaborates on existing human rights standards and fundamental freedoms as they apply to the specific situation of indigenous peoples.
- As a signatory to the convention India should uphold and protect the tribal. Conservation of forests and wildlife is essential but it should not be detrimental to the tribal.
- The three essential components—forests, tribal forest dwellers and life forms living in forests complement one another.
SOURCE:” Indian Express.”
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