Forest Rights Act in J&K

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Context

  • The Jammu and Kashmir government has decided to implement the Forest Rights Act, 2006. 
  • This will better the socio-economic status of a sizeable section of the 14 lakh population of tribals and nomadic communities in Jammu & Kashmir. 
  • This will include the Gujjar-Bakerwals and Gaddi-Sippis tribes.

Forest Rights Act

  • The Forest Rights Act is also called the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act. 
  • It is also known by other names like the Tribal Rights Act or the Tribal Land Act.
  • It deals with the rights of the communities whose livelihood are based on forest and forest produce (including Scheduled Tribes). 
  • The forest land and other resources were denied to them during the colonial era. The continuation of forest laws from the colonial era in India had restricted them from enjoying their rights. 
  • The act attempts to reinstate marginal and tribal communities’ rights over forest lands over which they were traditionally dependent. 
  • The act empowers Forest Dwelling Scheduled Tribes (FDST) and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (OTFD) who have been residing in such forests for generations by providing them with forest rights and occupation in forest land.  
  • The act also insists on the conservation of the forests while ensuring livelihood and food security of the FDST and OTFD.
  • The act envisages to resolve colonial injustice to the FDST and OTFD who are integral to the very survival and sustainability of the forest ecosystem.
  • It is an extension to the constitutional mandate of the Fifth and the Sixth Schedules gthat protect the claims of indigenous communities over tracts of land or forests they inhabit.
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