The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) has released the first draft of the comprehensive amendments to the Indian Forest Act, 1927 (IFA). However, the amendments have been criticized as an attempt by the central government to grab natural resources owned by tribals for generations.
As the most disadvantaged section of the society, the tribal population has certain rights that are necessary for their overall protection and development. Tribal people are the least integrated into society. India too takes the responsibility of taking affirmative actions regarding the welfare of the tribal population and protection of their basic human rights and their traditional rights of livelihood.
The Parliamentary panel on environment and forests has raised serious concerns regarding the Draft National Forest Policy for its excessive focus on commercialisation of forest and serving industry interests. Once finalized, this document will replace the current National Forest Policy, 1988.
India’s forest cover has increased by 3,976 km2 since 2017. For the second successive time since 2007, the India State of Forest Report (ISFR) has shown an increase in the forest cover. Given the pressure on the forestland and the natural resources, these figures may give a positive outlook but it does not tell how India continues to lose some of its natural forests since this report is including plantations and invasive species under the forest cover.
Recently, Uganda became the first African country to submit Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) results to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). According to Food and Agriculture Organization, the result submission paved the way for result based payments to the country. In this context, it is important to study REDD+ and its role in climate action.