THE SCHEDULED TRIBES AND OTHER TRADITIONAL FOREST DWELLERS (RECOGNITION OF FOREST RIGHTS) ACT, 2006

The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 is a result of the protracted struggle by the marginal and tribal communities of our country to assert their rights over the forestland over which they were traditionally dependent. This Act is crucial to the rights of millions of tribals and other forest dwellers in different parts of our country as it provides for the restitution of deprived forest rights across India, including both individual rights to cultivated land in forestland and community rights over common property resources. The notification of Rules for the implementation of the Forest Rights Act, 2006 on 1st Jan 2008, has finally paved the way to undo the ‘historic injustice’ done to the tribals and other forest dwellers.

The livelihood of perhaps 100 million poorest of the poor (The Indian Forest Rights Act 2006: Communing Enclosures) stands to improve if implementation can succeed. The Act is significant as it provides scope and historic opportunity of integrating conservation and livelihood rights of the people.

We perceive this Act as a potential tool

  • To empower and strengthen the local self governance
  • To address the livelihood security of the people, leading to poverty alleviation and pro poor growth
  • To address the issues of Conservation and management of the Natural Resources and conservation governance of India.

SIGNIFICANCE OF THE ACT

  • For the first time Forest Rights Act recognises and secures
  • Community Rights or rights over common property resources of the communities in addition to their individual rights
  • Rights in and over disputed land Rights of settlement and conversion of all forest villages, old habitation, un-surveyed villages and other villages in forests into revenue villages
  • Right to protect, regenerate or conserve or manage any community forest resource which the communities have been traditionally protecting and conserving for sustainable use.
  • Right to intellectual property and traditional knowledge related to biodiversity and cultural diversity
  • Rights of displaced communities
  • Rights over developmental activities