Day 6 – Q 4. Discuss how India’s forest policy has evolved over time. Also, discuss the concerns associated with the new draft Forest Policy 2018.
4. Discuss how India’s forest policy has evolved over time. Also, discuss the concerns associated with the new draft Forest Policy 2018.
4. चर्चा करें कि समय के साथ भारत की वन नीति कैसे विकसित हुई है। नए प्रारूप वन नीति 2018 से जुड़े चिंताओं पर भी चर्चा करें।
- Briefly write about the importance of Forest Policy in the introduction.
- Give a timeline regarding the different Forest Policies.
- Introduce the 2018 policy and discuss the concerns related to it.
Forests have unique significance as they provide various services. On the one hand they are home to many diverse species – both flora and fauna and on the other hand, they are key for climatic equilibrium. Also, they are home for the large tribal population. These signify the need of policies that would be designed to conserve forests.
The British era Forest policies were mainly designed to exploit the forest reserves. Post-independence the importance of the forest management was identified. India introduced Forest Policy for the first time in 1952. The main objective of the policy was to increase the forest cover to 33%. It set up a Central Board of Forestry. It propounded balanced use of land pattern.
In 1988, second Forest policy was drafted. The main aim was the maintenance of environmental equilibrium by preservation and restoration of ecological balance. It gave importance to large-scale afforestation and social forestry. This saved forest land from diversion and promoted wildlife protection.
Despite these policies, the forest cover (22%) is still well below the targeted 33%. Additionally, India has committed to building a carbon sink of 3 billion tonnes of Carbon dioxide as its INDC at Paris summit. Thus, the forest conservation needed breathe of freshness. In this scenario, a new draft Policy has been envisaged.
Concerns associated with the new draft Policy-
- Including private parties in afforestation may lead to privatization of natural resources. There is a threat that forests would be converted into plantations.
- Forest-based industry would incentivize those trees that are more water intensive like eucalyptus and in the long run, this would hamper the environment.
- The National Community Forest Management can come into conflict with Forest Rights Act and thus lead to implementational issues. More importantly, it may undermine the powers of Gram Sabha, which is already under threat.
- The policy does not address the lacuna of previous forest policies that is it does not draw out a mechanism to make sure the objectives are met.
- The policy is more focused towards conservation rather than regeneration of forests. People’s participation has not been given much importance.
Forests are the lungs through which the earth breathes. With the threat of global warming increasing, the survival of the forests needs to be given high priority. Hence, the draft Forest Policy needs to make certain amends so that it is centred around Forest conservation.
Best Answer: Abhishek Singh