Scheduled Tribes And Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition Of Forest Rights) Act, 2006
The Forest Rights Act (FRA), 2006 recognizes the rights of the forest dwelling
tribal communities and other traditional forest dwellers to forest resources, on
which these communities were dependent for a variety of needs, including
livelihood, habitation and other socio-cultural needs. The forest management
policies, including the Acts, Rules and Forest Policies of Participatory Forest
Management policies in both colonial and post-colonial India, did not, till the
enactment of this Act, recognize the symbiotic relationship of the STs with the
forests, reflected in their dependence on the forest as well as in their traditional
wisdom regarding conservation of the forests.
The Act encompasses Rights of Self-cultivation and Habitation which are
usually regarded as Individual rights; and Community Rights as Grazing,
Fishing and access to Water bodies in forests, Habitat Rights for PVTGs,
Traditional Seasonal Resource access of Nomadic and Pastoral community,
access to biodiversity, community right to intellectual property and traditional
knowledge, recognition of traditional customary rights and right to protect,
regenerate or conserve or manage any community forest resource for
sustainable use. It also provides rights to allocation of forest land for
developmental purposes to fulfil basic infrastructural needs of the community.
In conjunction with the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land
Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Settlement Act, 2013 FRA protects the tribal
population from eviction without rehabilitation and settlement.
The Act further enjoins upon the Gram Sabha and rights holders the
responsibility of conservation and protection of bio-diversity, wildlife, forests,
adjoining catchment areas, water sources and other ecologically sensitive areas
as well as to stop any destructive practices affecting these resources or cultural
and natural heritage of the tribals. The Gram Sabha is also a highly empowered
body under the Act, enabling the tribal population to have a decisive say in the
determination of local policies and schemes impacting them.
Thus, 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.
- To undo the historical injustice occurred to the forest dwelling communities
- To ensure land tenure, livelihood and food security of the forest dwelling Scheduled Tribes and other traditional forest dwellers
- To strengthen the conservation regime of the forests by including
the responsibilities and authority on Forest Rights holders for
sustainable use, conservation of biodiversity and maintenance of