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MP’s Van Mitra portal and Forest rights claims

  • Category
    Polity & Governance
  • Published
    4th Mar, 2023

Context

An activist working for the rights of the tribals with JagritAdivasi Dalit Sangathan (JADS) in Burhanpur Madhya Pradesh, during a field visit has highlighted the misuse of the Van Mitra portal — which was created to facilitate the review of rejected claims, has now become a tool to fraudulently reject claims of Tribals.

About the scenario:

  • On February 13, 2019, in a matter pertaining to the constitutionality of the Forest Rights Act, 2006 (FRA),the Supreme Court of India (SC) directed the states to evict those FRA claimants whose Individual Forest Rights (IFR) claims were rejected. 
  • The apex court had ordered the eviction of 1,191,273 tribals across 20 states of the country.

Van-Mitra Portal:

It is an online portal launched by Madhya Pradesh government in 2015.

Concerns highlighted:

  • The individuals who file the claims through the Van Mitra portalare generally illiterate or have little formal schooling with no familiarity with the world of the internet.
  • They approach the MP Online kiosk operatorsto help them fill up the application. These kiosk operators charge 200-Rs 500 to fill up their forms when the state government already pays them Rs.60 just to fill up the form to help the ST and OTFDs file the claims.
  • Secondly, they upload documents without properlyreading them, often mixing up different individuals’ documents and printing out the receipt.

Role of Forest Rights Committee (FRC):

  • The FRC is supposed to verify the claim and then ask for Gram Sabha’s recommendation before forwarding it to the sub divisional level committee (SDLC).
  • But what is happening on the ground is far from the set guidelines.

Verifying, please be patient.

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