The Forest (Conservation) Amendment Bill, 2023 that is being deliberated upon by a Joint Committee of Parliament is a contentious piece of legislation that signals the complex challenges involved in balancing industrial development and the conservation of forests.
Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980:
- Mantelpiece legislation- It has been the mantelpiece legislation that has empowered the state to regulate and impose costs on industrial exploitation.
- N. Godavarman Thirumalpad case-A landmark Supreme Court judgement, it broadened the scope of this act by extending the protection to even those who were not o?cially classi?ed so.
- Plantation activities- It does not incentivise private agroforestry and tree plantation activities.
Challenges in Its Application in India:
- Shortage of manpower- Regulatory agencies is understaffed compared to how quickly industries are growing.
- Lack of expertise- Lack of the technical expertise needed to enforce the rules.
- Lack of community participation- Very less participation of the poor community leads to the ineffectiveness of this Act.
- New changes-The new climate realities might necessitate changes to the way conservation laws are made and interpreted
- Scientific Evidence- Effort should be made to make conservation laws which are backed by rigorous scienti?c evidence.
- Awareness- Government should spread awareness and make campaigns to involve the local community in the conservation of forests.