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Forest Rights Act Implementation Analysis

Context- A fact-finding committee formed by Call for Justice, a Delhi-based organization, has found “mixed” implementation of the Forest Rights Act (FRA) of 2006 in five States across the country.

Relevance: GS 3


  • Conducting Body: A committee formed by Call for Justice, a Delhi-based entity, undertook the analysis.
  • Committee Leadership: Retired Justice S.N. Dhingra spearheaded the committee.
  • Study Period: The analysis spanned eight months.
  • Regions Examined: The states of Assam, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Odisha, and Karnataka were the focus of the study.

Principal Findings Across States

  • Assam (Specifically Dima Hasao and Hailakandi Districts): The current framework of the FRA falls short in accommodating the practice of shifting or jhum cultivation, integral to the life and ecosystem of the region’s indigenous communities.
  • Chhattisgarh (Kanker and Korba Districts): Delays in the decision-making process were notable, impacting the FRA’s effective execution.
  • Maharashtra (Gadchiroli and Nashik Districts): Effective implementation was noted in Gadchiroli.

In Nashik, the implementation process remained incomplete, suggesting existing obstacles.

  • Odisha (Kandhamal and Sundargarh Districts): Notable progress was observed in the application of the FRA. There was a marked disparity between the number of submitted and approved claims for individual and community forest rights.
  • Karnataka (Ramnagara and Mysuru Districts): A mere 5.17% of submitted IFR claims received approval, indicating a significant rejection rate, the highest among the examined states.

General Insights

Community Rights Oversight: A widespread oversight concerning community rights was observed.

Ambiguity among different agencies regarding the distinction between individual and community rights was identified.

Strategic Recommendations: The findings advocate for a tailored approach to address the distinct environmental and cultural practices of indigenous populations, especially those in northeastern states.

The committee calls for more precise regulations and a more efficient framework to enhance the implementation of both individual and community forest rights.

Overview of the Forest Rights Act, 2006

  • Purpose: To recognize and vest forest rights and occupation in forest lands to Forest Dwelling Scheduled Tribes (FDST) and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (OTFD).
  • Rights Included:

Title Rights: Ownership of land up to 4 hectares.

Use Rights: Extraction of Minor Forest Produce, grazing, etc.

Relief and Development Rights: Rehabilitation in case of illegal eviction, access to basic amenities.

Forest Management Rights: Right to protect, regenerate, conserve, or manage community forest resources.

  • Authority: Gram Sabha initiates the process for determining IFR and CFR.

Rationale behind FRA, 2006

  • Historical Injustices: Address injustices to forest-dwelling communities by colonial and post-colonial forest management policies.
  • Empowerment: Empower forest dwellers to access, use, and manage forest resources sustainably.

Injustices to Forest Dweller Communities

  • Pre-Colonial Era: Traditional rights over forests were recognized.
  • Colonial Era: Introduction of the Indian Forest Act, 1878, leading to restricted access and exploitation of forests for timber.
  • Post-Independence Era: Continuation of colonial policies, treating forest dwellers as ‘encroachers’.

Addressing Historical Injustices through FRA, 2006

  • Acknowledgment of Injustices: Recognition of historical wrongs to forest communities.
  • Redressal Mechanisms: Recognizing individual and community rights to habitation, cultivation, and forest management.

Implementation Challenges of the FRA

  • Individual vs. Community Rights: Focus on individual rights at the expense of community rights.
  • Poor Recognition of IFRs: Resistance from the Forest Department, technological issues, and non-transparent processes.
  • Challenges with Digital Processes: Implementation difficulties in areas with poor connectivity.
  • Incomplete Recognition of CFRs: Slow progress and resistance from the forest bureaucracy.
  • Limited Recognition in Many States: Inconsistent recognition of CFRs across states.
  • Interests of Conservationists and Development Lobby: Non-recognition of community rights serving external interests.
  • Neglect of Forest Villages: Inadequate attention to converting forest villages into revenue villages.

Way Forward

  • Empower Gram Sabha: Involve local self-governments in forest management decisions.
  • Inclusive Decision Making: Include rights holders in decision-making processes.
  • Awareness and Training: Educate Forest dwellers about their rights under the FRA.
  • Capacity Building: Strengthen civil society support for forest dwellers’ rights.
  • Monitoring and Accountability: Ensure compliance with FRA provisions and hold violators accountable.
  • Integrated Planning: Balance development and conservation needs while respecting forest dwellers’ rights.
  • Consultative Processes: Engage all stakeholders in finding sustainable solutions.


Need for Comprehensive Understanding and Support: Political leaders, bureaucrats, and environmentalists must fully grasp and support the FRA’s objectives to address past injustices and promote democratic forest governance and sustainable livelihoods.

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What is the objective of the Forest Rights Act (FRA) of 2006?

The FRA aims to recognize and vest forest rights and occupation in forest lands to Forest Dwelling Scheduled Tribes (FDST) and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (OTFD).

Which regions were examined in the study of the FRA implementation?

The study focused on the states of Assam, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Odisha, and Karnataka.

What are some general insights derived from the analysis?

The analysis highlighted widespread oversight concerning community rights, ambiguity among agencies regarding rights distinctions, and recommendations for tailored approaches to address environmental and cultural practices.

About the Author

Hey there! I'm Nikesh, a content writer at Adda247. I specialize in creating informative content focused on UPSC and State PSC exams. Join me as we unravel the complexities of these exams and turn aspirations into achievements together!

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