News from RRI »
Tracking the first year of change under India’s Forest Rights Act
Since the implementation of India's Forest Rights Act (FRA) one year ago, RRI collaborator Kalpavriksh has been tracking the social and ecological impacts of FRA implementation and documenting the progress and obstacles experienced by local forest communities.
In recent months:
Several provisions within the Act have remained neglected, including those intended to protect community forest resources, rights to minor forest products, and traditional knowledge. The empowerment of gram sabhas (community level governance groups) for conservation has not been addressed. Anger and disinterest has hampered the claim process among non-tribal forest-dwellers.
The implementation of the FRA has been most robust where civil society is active. In these areas, activities include disseminating information to forest-dwelling communities, distributing and collecting claims forms, supporting the completion, filing and verification of claims, and taking action against violations. In some districts, Forest Department officials and proactive District Collectors have also taken initiative on effective implementation of the act.
There are still significant clarifications needed on certain aspects of the FRA. The second Section of the Act establishes a list of community facilities such as anganwadis (government-sponsored child-care and mother-care facilities), hospitals, schools, and fair price shops that forest-dwelling communities are entitled to under the FRA. However, it is unclear whether communities can directly claim these facilities or whether the construction of these new facilities has to be negotiated with relevant government departments.
Legal challenges, calling for the annulment of the FRA, have been filed in the Supreme Court and in state High Courts. To date, these petitions have not been successful in blocking implementation.
According to a report released by the Government of India Press Information Bureau in late December 2008, over 94,264 tribal member and forest-dwelling persons have settled land claims and 86,455 are in the process of being settled.
For more information on the implementation of the India Forest Rights Act, visit the website of RRI collaborator Kalpavriksh and view the additional resources below.
- RRI Resources on India
- Kalpavriksh FRA Newsletter #1
- Kalpavriksh FRA Newsletter #2
- Kalpavriksh FRA Newsletter #3
- Kalpavriksh FRA Newsletter #4
- Kalpavriksh FRA Newsletter #5
- Kalpavriksh FRA Newsletter #6
Posted By Lopaka Purdy & Megan Liddle at 10:00am on February 13, 2009
This blog may contain links to external websites. These links should not be construed as endorsements by Rights and Resources of the content present. They are provided for informational purposes only.