An uphill struggle to grow the Forest Rights Act
The challenges in implementing the Forest Rights Act (FRA) focus on historical injustices, bureaucratic resistance, and unrealized potential.
- Idea to give Rights: Colonial forest policies disrupted local traditions, leading to injustices.
- Decentralization: FRA addresses historical wrongs, recognizing individual and community forest rights, and aiming for decentralized forest governance.
Distortions in FRA Implementation
- Overlooked Tribal Rights: Politicians focus on individual rights, overlooking community forest rights.
- Forest bureaucracy: It resists recognition of community rights, hindering the democratization of forest governance.
- Non-recognition of community Rights: It benefits conservationists and development lobbies, making Protected Area communities vulnerable to displacement and exploitation.
Challenges in FRA Realization
- Ground realities: FRA aims at sustainable livelihoods, but implementation face political opportunism and bureaucratic hurdles.
- Forest governance: Without understanding FRA's intent, there's a risk of distorted rights recognition and undemocratic forest governance.
Judicial hurdles: Even the open-and-shut case of ‘forest villages’ has not been addressed in most States.