Forest Right Act (FRA), 2006
Why is it in News?
SC has ordered the eviction of nearly 10 lakh forest dwellers whose claims as forest dwellers have been rejected under the Forest Rights Act of 2006.
The Need of Forest Right Act:
During colonial time, forests have all been declared to be owned by the government, and people living in forest for years were considered as trespassers. After independence, the government realized the injustice done to these tribal people and came up with an act in 2006.
The Forest Right Act, 2006:
The FRA was passed in 2006 by the Parliament which recognizes the rights of Tribals & other forest dwelling communities on forest resources, forest produce and the land.
What are Rights under the FRA, 2006?
1. Title Rights: Ownership to land that is being cultivated by tribals or forest dwellers subject to a maximum of 4 hectares; ownership is only for land that is actually being cultivated by the concerned family, meaning that no new lands are granted.
2. Use Rights for Forest Produce: Tribals & forest dwellers are given rights to minor forest produce (also including ownership), to grazing areas, to pastoralist routes, etc. Major forest produce like Timber etc. is still controlled by the government.
3. Relief and Development Rights: Rehabilitation in case of illegal eviction or forced displacement; and to basic amenities, subject to restrictions for forest protection.
4. Forest Management Rights: To protect forests and wildlife.
Eligibility Criterion under FRA:
Claimant must be residing in that forest area for at least 75 years or shall belong to the Scheduled Tribe category.
Who is the Deciding Authority?
Gram Sabha is the nodal agency under the FRA; it recommends whose rights shall be recognized. These recommendations are screened by a six member committee (3 Government+3 local member’s body) and finally claims are settled.