The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) and Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MoTA), on 6 July 2021 signed a Joint Communication to provide more powers to tribal communities in managing the forest resources.
- The Joint Communication was signed in the presence of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change Minister Prakash Javadekar and Tribal Affairs Minister Arjun Munda.
- The Joint Communication is related to the effective implementation of the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, which is commonly known as the Forest Rights Act (FRA).
- The signing of Joint Communication is the extension of the Forest Rights Act and it will help in maintaining the biodiversity and resources of the forest.
- This communication will also empower the tribal communities and help in the effective implementation of the Forest Rights Act.
About Forest Rights Act (FRA), 2006:
- The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, is a key piece of forest legislation passed in India on 18 December 2006.
- It has also been called the Forest Rights Act, the Tribal Rights Act, the Tribal Bill, and the Tribal Land Act.
- The act recognizes and vests the forest rights and occupation in forest land in Forest Dwelling Scheduled Tribes (FDST) and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (OTFD) who have been residing in such forests for generations.
- It provides a framework for recording the forest rights so vested and the nature of evidence required for such recognition and vesting in respect of forest land.
- The Act empowers the forest dwellers to access and use the forest resources in the manner that they were traditionally accustomed to protect, conserve and manage forests, protect forest dwellers from unlawful evictions, and also provides for basic development facilities for the community of forest dwellers to access facilities of education, health, nutrition, infrastructure, etc.
- The act identifies four types of rights. They are:
- Title rights
- Use rights
- Relief and development rights
- Forest management rights