Recognition and respect for basic services under Section 3.2 of the Scheduled Tribe and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 is an important concern for local development, and livelihood improvement. This article discusses how forest diversion for local basic services through an integrated approach anchored by state and local institutions has produced tangible benefi ts for local communities and forest conservation in the study areas.
Articles By Geetanjoy Sahu
The National Green Tribunal—a specialised environmental institution constituted 10 years ago—has transformed environmental regulation and governance in India. Yet, the NGT’s success has been tarnished in several areas. What used to be a progressive, the innovative green tribunal now is inconsistent in adjudicating environmental litigation pitched against huge infrastructure projects. The tribunal is also struggling because of the lack of human resources and administrative support for its existence. The past 10 years of the NGT can be largely summed up as a story of procedural success in environmental decision-making tainted by institutional erosion and selective adjudicative decisions.
The Vidarbha region of Maharashtra presents a unique case in the implementation of community forest rights where much of the region’s potential community forest rights claims have been recognised in the name of gram sabhas under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006. The key factors like the collective action of gram sabhas, the role of non-governmental organisations, grassroots organisations, and state implementing agencies, and their collaboration in advancing the implementation of cfr are explained here. There is need to support the upscaling of cfr across India, and to analyse the broader implications for forest resource governance at a national scale.
Justice P N Bhagwati’s efforts to address the rights of prisoners, bonded labour, child labour, conditions of inmates of various asylums, the right of the poor to education, shelter and other essential amenities, and protecting and improving the environment with an additional emphasis on social justice continue to influence the legal minds of the country.
The various dilutions, contradictory policies and litigations challenging the constitutional validity of the Forest Rights Act reveal the range and depth of opposition from an entrenched forest bureaucracy on the one hand and non-state actors on the other. The lack of implementation support to it also indicates a refusal of the political system to embrace the historic opportunity created for democratic governance of forests in India.
The Coal Nation: Histories, Ecologies and Politics of Coal in India edited by Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt, England: Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2014; pp 348, £63 (hardback).