Forest (Conservation) Amendment Bill 2023
Why in news:
- The controversial Forest (Conservation) Amendment Bill 2023, passed by the Lok Sabha with limited debate, awaits discussion in the Rajya Sabha.
- The bill aims to restrict conservation scope, exempt border lands for strategic projects, and allow some nonforest activities.
How does the Bill restrict the scope of the Act?
- The Bill stipulates that only those lands that were notified as ‘forest’ under the Indian Forest Act 1927, any other relevant law or were recorded as ‘forests’ in government records will be acknowledged as ‘forests’ under this Act as well.
- This revision stands in stark contrast to the wide applicability of the extant Act at present.
- A Supreme Court judgement in 1996 had reiterated such a broad application.
- Why is the exemption for border infrastructure controversial?
- The Bill seeks to exempt linear infrastructure projects like roads and highways from seeking forest clearance permissions if they are located within 100 km of the national border.
About Indian Forest Act 1927:
- In the year 1927, the Indian Forest Act 1878 was replaced by the British government and a new Act was brought into place.
- The main purpose of this Act was to conserve the forest strength and the laws related to forest and increase the productivity of the forest.
The main objective of this Act was to preserve and safeguard the forest. Besides this there are few more objectives:
- To maintain the quality of water in the water bodies like lakes and streams.
- To balance the impact of cultivation and other forest activities.
- To aim for expansion of Activities in the forest by sharing of the public and other communities in the forest to take part in activities that help improve the condition of the forest.
- To inform everyone about the efficient use of forest resources.
- To ensure high productivity of forests and saving the resources of the forest by afforestation, etc.
- To introduce advanced programs that help in increasing the area of forest.
- to make the management of the forest better by appointing efficient resource professionals and conducting training and educational programs for them.
- To ensure long-term harvest levels with the minimum usage of the forest resources.
- To balance the distribution of wildlife, nature and habitats and conserve biological diversity by development and implementation.
- To make efficient use of the advanced programs that expand the practice of forestry.
- To improve the research technology associated with the forests.
- Chapter 3 Section 28 of the Indian forest Act deals with the provisions of the village forest. when the reserved forests are provided by the government for the usage of the village community that particular land is considered as a village forest land.
Syllabus: Prelims + Mains; GS III – Environment