Mains Daily Question
Feb. 23, 2024

Q2. The Forest Rights Act of 2006 has been instrumental in safeguarding and bolstering the rights of forest dwellers, yet it also raises certain concerns. Discuss. (10M, 150W).

Model Answer

Approach to the answer:


We can start by writing Briefly about the Forest Rights Act of 2006 and its purpose in protecting the rights of forest dwellers.


Heading 1: Positive Impacts of the Forest Rights Act:

Heading 2: Concerns Associated with the Forest Rights Act:

Conclusion: Summarize the dual nature of the Forest Rights Act, acknowledging its achievements while recognizing the need for addressing associated concerns. Or you can write the way forward as well.


Answer: Forest Rights Act (FRA), 2006 recognises & vests Forest & occupancy rights of Forest Dwelling Scheduled Tribes (FDST) & other Traditional forest dwellers (OTFD) who have been residing in Forests from at least 3 generations (75 years) prior to December, 2005. 


Provisions of FRA has resulted in protecting & enhancing the rights of Forest dwellers”:


  • Undo Historical Injustice: Granting recognition to ancestral rights over Forest resources deprived under Colonial acts: 


      • Eg - Indian Forest Act 1878 which banned Shifting cultivation (Podu) by Tribals & limited access to Forest produce especially under “Reserved area” 


  • Empower Forest dwellers: To access and use forest resources in sustainable manner by extracting and selling Minor Forest Produce (MFP) 
  • Recognise IFRs: Individual Forest Rights to continue habitation and cultivation that existed before December 2005 for at least 3 generations (75 years) 
  • Community Forest Rights (CFR): Aims to protect and manage Forest resources by the community: 


      • Eg - Gram Sabha is made authority to initiate nature of IFR & CFR 


  • Relief and Developmental Rights: To Rehabilitate in case of eviction & displacement and provisions of basic amenities 
  • Expands Constitutional mandate: To protect and develop Indigenous communities. Eg - Gonds, Santhals etc 



Certain drawbacks which persists and dilutes the noble aim of the Act: 


  • Administrative apathy: In enforcement of rights of OTFD and FDST and use of act as instrument to encroach welfare measures for tribals. 
  • Issues with Forest Conservation Rules 2022: 


      • Prescribe rule for diversion of Forest land for Non-forest purposes thus contradicting provisions of Godavarman Judgement 1996
      • Omit required "Prior Informed Consent" of Gram Sabha before proceeding for Stage 1 & 2 clearance of Project


  • Limitations of Digitized services: Eg- Requirement of Aadhaar Card under Van-Mitra initiative poses challenges with areas impacted by poor internet connectivity and digital illiteracy 
  • Limited recognition of CFR in priority areas: Eg- States such as Maharashtra, Jharkhand & Odisha with significant FDST & OTFD population have made limited progress in recognition of Forest Rights under the Act 
  • Inadequate Rehabilitation process: E.g. - Tribals displaced due to Nagarjuna Sagar Dam.



Strengthening & implementing the Act in spirit of letter is ideal way forward: 

    • Encouraging forest protection by the local user community: Eg: Nepal increased forest cover to 45% by this practice (1990-2020)


  • Empowering Gram Sabha: Involvement of Gram Sabha in effective decision making and screening of projects shall be sin quo non. 
  • Education & Awareness: Eg - Such awareness programmes can be conducted under PM - Adi Adarsh Gram Yojana 
  • Strengthening Accountability & Monitoring mechanism: Integrated plans for both development & conservation of forests as well as ensuring penalty measures for violations and non-compliance shall be ensured 



Thus, aims of “Antyodaya” shall be integrated with objectives of National Forest Policy 1988 to safeguard the rights of Tribals and ensure the fulfillment of objectives of the Forest Rights Act 2006.

Subjects : Environment
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