Ten years of FRA
A report card OF THE 4.4 million claims consisting of individual and community forest rights filed, only 2 million titles were given in 19 states till October 2015, according to official data. This means close to 47 per cent of the claims were rejected. Except Assam, north-eastern states say the FRA has minimal relevance in view of the customary laws that protect their people and forests. Uttarakhand and Goa have not been able to implement the law. The Uttarakhand government has an amusing excuse: the state had elections in 2012, so it could not notify any measure as "there was a model conduct of elections in force". Goa blamed opposition from Other Backward Castes.
According to a preliminary assessment of community and individual forest rights by the US group Rights and Resources Initiative and Odisha-based non-profit Vasundhara in July 2015, at least 150 million forest-dwelling people have had their rights recognised over at least 40 million hectares (ha) of forest land in over 170,000 villages.
Community forest rights (CFR), which also reflect tribal land-owning patterns, have not received much thrust. For these rights, 40,269 gram panchayats have received titles for 870,711 ha till October 2015. This includes 2,148 titles for 28,438 ha to collect community forest resource.
This is when the national census and the Forest Survey of India show that half of India's forests fall within the definition of CFR under FRA. "But barely 1.2 per cent of this area has been recorded and (rights) recognised," says Arvind Khare, executive director of Rights and Resources Initiative working on forest rights. Potential CFR recognition could be from 7.72 million ha to 11.4 million ha. In contrast, since 1980 1.2 million ha of forest area has been diverted for mining, dams and other industrial projects, says environment minister Prakash Javadekar.