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Forest Conservation rules 1980 UPSC NOTE

 


  • The Forest (Conservation) Act of 1980 (FCA, 1980) is an act by the Parliament of India which ensures conservation of forest and its resources.

  • It was enacted by the Parliament of India in order to control the ongoing deforestation of the forests of India. 

  • It came into force on October 25, 1980 containing five sections.

  • The Forest Conservation Act of 1980 come with the following features:

  • The Act restricts the state government and other authorities to take decisions first without permission from the central government.

  • The Forest Conservation Act gives complete authority to the Central government to carry out the objectives of the act.

  • The Act levies penalties in case of violations of the provisions of FCA.

  • The Forest Conservation Act will have an advisory committee which will help the Central government with regard to forest conservation.

  • The section lists restrictions where state authorities cannot make laws regarding forest without the permissions of the Central Government. 

  • The emphasis is on ‘non forest purposes’ which means that clearing forest land for the planting of: Tea, Coffee, Spices, Rubber, Palms, Oil-bearing, Medicinal plants

  • A parliamentary committee has endorsed the proposed amendments to the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980.

  • The Bill aims to amend the 1980 law, which was enacted to prevent the unauthorized use of forest land for non-forestry purposes.

  • The Act grants the central government the authority to ensure compensation for any forest land diverted for non-forestry purposes

  • It also covers land that is not officially designated as "forest" in government records.


  • The committee received representations from 10 Union Ministries, as well as input from the governments of Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, and Telangana, experts, individuals, and representatives of public sector units.

  • Objections were raised regarding various aspects of the Bill, including concerns that the proposed amendments could weaken the Supreme Court's 1996 judgment in the Godavarman case. 

  • This judgment extended protection to extensive forest areas, even if they were not officially recognized as forests.

  • The Forest Bill has been presented to Parliament without any changes.

  • An amendment in the Bill eliminates the requirement for forest clearance for construction projects, such as highways and hydel power projects, within 100 km of International Borders or the Line of Control. 

  • No Central protection for vast tracts of so-called ‘deemed forest’ (forests not officially recorded as forests) and permitting activities such as tourism, compromising their integrity

  • This change raised concerns among some members.

  • The Environment Ministry clarified that the exemptions mentioned in the amendment were not applicable to private entities and were not generic.

  • There were objections to renaming the 1980 law from the Forest (Conservation) Act to the Van (Sanrakshan Evam Samvardhan) Adhiniyam, as it was deemed non-inclusive and excluded certain populations in South India and the Northeast.

  • The Environment Ministry defended the name change, emphasizing that it highlighted the importance of not only conserving but also augmenting forests, as forest conservation involves more than just granting clearances.

  • The latest amendments to the Forest Act aim to remove ambiguities and provide clarity on its applicability to different types of lands.

  • Some of the proposed amendments specify areas where the Act does not apply, while others encourage the cultivation of plantations on non-forest land to increase tree cover, act as a carbon sink, and support India's goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2070.

  • The amendments also aim to remove restrictions on creating infrastructure for national security and generating livelihood opportunities for communities living on the fringes of forests.

  • Opposition to the Bill has come from various quarters, including certain northeastern states concerned about the unilateral allocation of forest land for defense purposes.

  • Environmental groups have also opposed the amendments, arguing that they reduce central protection for deemed forests and allow activities like tourism that compromise the integrity of these areas.

  • The Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha have agreed to refer the Bill to a Joint Committee for further review

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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Forest Conservation rules 1980 UPSC NOTE
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