Draft -Community Forest Rights and Habitat Rights 2020 | UPSC
Tribal ministry panels draft fresh guidelines for community forest, habitat rights
WHY IN NEWS:
Gram Sabhas will have more power in the management of community forest rights (CFR) and habitat rights, according to new guidelines drafted by the Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MoTA) in December 2020.
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3: Forest Rights
For PRELIMS it is important to upgrade your information bank with regards to Gram Sabha today !
For MAINS go through the Habitat rights . It is quite important !
DRAFT FOR COMMUNITY FOREST RIGHTS AND HABITAT RIGHTS 2020
- An increased representation of various user groups such as the graziers, minor forest produce collectors, women and other groups dependent on forest including hamlets also find mention in the two drafts.
- The drafts were prepared by the two committees formed by MoTA in February 2020.
- The committee to manage CFR was headed by former civil servant and member of the Planning Commission NC Saxena.
- The one to look into habitat rights was by headed by former secretary of MoTA Hrusikesh Panda.
- They have submitted the drafts to the Union tribal ministry for review.
According to the draft, the Gram Sabhas will:
- Integrate the committees that it has had traditional rights with for protection of wildlife, forest and biodiversity, catchment areas, water sources and other ecological sensitive areas.
- Be empowered to carry out the powers and authority as laid down under section 5 of FRA.
- Make rules or issue directions for management of fund generated from various sources.
- Approve CFR conservation and management plan / strategies / actions prepared / suggested by the CFRMC.
- If required, the Gram Sabha can modify suggested plans / actions / strategies including CFR conservation and management plans.
- Appoint any person or hire any institution for extending support to the Gram Sabha for preparation of CFR conservation and management plan, financial management system.
- Resolve any conflict or dispute related to the CFR governance and management.
ROLE OF GRAM SABHAS
- Make rules and issue appropriate directions for governance and conservation of CFR
- Conflict / dispute resolution
- Benefit sharing
- Issuance of transit permit
- Fund management
- Manage functions and activities of the CFRMC
- Also the funds can be allocated as development grant from the government and non-profits as well as compensatory afforestation funds.
- The committee headed by Saxena was formed to guide the Gram Sabhas in managing and conserving their CFR areas in a sustainable fashion.
- The provision grants them the right to manage and conserve their CFR area.
- The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) had drafted CFR management guidelines in 2015. They were, however, withdrawn.
- Habitat rights under the FRA are granted to the particularly vulnerable tribal groups (PVTG).
- Since the PVTGs are pre-agriculture communities, these rights are given over a fairly large area. However, the FRA isn’t clear on the nature of the right.
- Section 3(1)(e) of the act says that these rights are “include community tenures of habitat and habitation for primitive tribal groups and pre-agricultural communities.”
- MoTA, therefore, constituted an expert committee on 21 February, 2020 to improve recognition and vesting process of community rights under FRA with special focus on habitat rights of PVTG.
- The draft created by the committee observes that FRA doesn’t define habitat, but merely hints at its importance.
- It also defines habitat as places where tribal and other traditional forest dwellers have ancient connections in spiritual, cultural, social and livelihood matters.
- Thus, land claimed under community forest rights will be smaller than that claimed under habitat rights and the possessory rights will be different,.
The following are included in habitat rights:
- Right to perform all customary religious or cultural ceremonies in the landscape related to their clans
- Right to protect and conserve the natural entities and sacred sites recognised under habitat rights
- Right to protect and conserve places important for religious and spiritual purposes such as sacred groves.
- Right to practice traditional cultivation systems and other livelihood generating activities including seasonal resource use
- Habitat rights exclude any traditional right of hunting or trapping or extracting a part of the body of any species of wild animal
- The draft also recommended training of state government officials for a better understanding the importance of FRA and habitat rights.
- The MoEF&CC guideline was very technical and unclear about the role and responsibilities of the Gram Sabha.
- Bodies such as the district level committees, SLMCs weren’t involved in the process.
SOURCES: DownToEarth | Draft -Community Forest Rights and Habitat Rights 2020 | UPSC