Forest (Conservation) Rules 2022 - The Hindu - 03/01/23

Recently, the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) Chairperson said that the ST body’s position on the Forest (Conservation) Rules 2022 being violative of the Forest Rights Act, 2006 “will be the same” even as the Environment Ministry has dismissed these concerns.
1. Consent Clause for Diversion of Forest Land: In September 2022, flagging concerns over the provision in the new rules that proposes to do away with the consent clause for diversion of forest land for other purposes, the Commission had recommended that these rules should be put on hold immediately.
2. Consent of Gram Sabhas: The NCST had pointed out that the FCR 2022 has done away with the provisions to mandatorily seek consent of Gram Sabhas before the Stage 1 clearance, leaving this process to be done later and even after Stage 2 clearance.

->Provisions of Forest (Conservation) Rules, 2022:
-Formation of Committees: It constituted an Advisory Committee, a regional empowered committee at each of the integrated regional offices and a screening committee at State/Union Territory (UT) government-level.
-Compensatory Afforestation: The applicants for diverting forest land in a hilly or mountainous state with green cover covering more than two-thirds of its geographical area, or in a state/UT
-No consent of Gram Sabha needed: The new rules state that a project, once approved by the FAC, will then be passed on to the State authorities who will collect the compensatory fund and land, and process it for final approval.
-Allows building in Forests: Right to construct structures for bonafide purposes including forest protection measures and residential units (up to an area of 250 sq meters as one-time relaxation).

->Related Initiatives:
Indian Forest Policy, 1952
Forest Conservation Act, 1980
National Forest Policy, 1988
National Afforestation Programme

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