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.
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.
The Supreme Court has recently directed the state governments to evict around 10 lakh forest dwelling communities whose claims have been rejected under the Forest Rights Act. This order may affect some of the country’s most vulnerable communities and their fundamental rights, therefore it needs a relook.
Recently, an American self-styled adventurer and Christian missionary was allegedly killed by Sentinelese tribes of Andaman & Nicobar Islands, when he was trespassing into their restricted island. This incident highlights the shameful practice of tribal tourism, which was prohibited by the Supreme Court of India but still remains in practice and continues to haunt the reclusive tribes of the Andaman Islands.
Minimum Support Price Scheme (MSP) for Minor Forest Produce (MFP) is a centrally-sponsored scheme launched at the end of 2013-14 (during the 12th five-year plan) to ensure fair and remunerative price to MFP gatherers. Known as ‘Mechanism for marketing of Minor Forest Produce (MFP) through Minimum Support Price (MSP) and development of value chain for MFP’, the scheme was planned as a social safety initiative for MFP gatherers.