Congress Attacks Modi Govt Over New Rules ‘Destroying’ Forest Rights Act


New Delhi: In a new accusation, the Congress Party on Sunday claimed that the BJP-led Union government has “destroyed the very purpose” of the Forest Rights Act, 2006 through its new rules which allow for “forest rights to be settled after final approval for forest clearances has been granted by the Central Government.” “This has been done in name of ‘ease of doing business’ for a chosen few. But it will end the ‘ease of living’ for the vast many,” the party alleged as it criticised the Centre’s new set of rules.

The statement issued by MP Jairam Ramesh called The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, popularly known as the Forest Rights Act, 2006 as “a historic and most progressive law passed unanimously and enthusiastically by Parliament after extensive debate and discussion.” “It confers land and livelihood rights—both individual and community– to Adivasi, Dalit, and other families living in forest areas of the country,” it mentioned.

ALSO READ | Sri Lanka Crisis | Demonstrators Claim They Found Millions Of Rupees From Rajapaksa’s Residence

Jairam stated that, in August 2009, the-then Ministry of Environment and Forests issued a directive that no clearances for diversion of forest land under the Forest Conservation Act, 1980 would even be considered by it unless rights provided under the Forest Rights Act, 2006 were first settled.

“This was done to protect and promote the interests of tribal and other communities traditionally living in forest areas. As per this circular, the rights of tribal and other communities have to be settled before a decision can even be considered on forest and environmental clearance by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change. The circular mandated that free, prior and informed consent of the families affected be obtained for such an exercise to be lawful,” the statement read.

As per the Congress, the Modi government’s new rules notified recently have allowed for forest rights to be settled after final approval for forest clearances has been granted by the Centre. “Obviously, this has been done in name of ‘ease of doing business’ for a chosen few. But it will end the ‘ease of living’ for the vast many. This destroys the very purpose of the Forest Rights Act, 2006 and its meaningful use while considering proposals for diversion of forest land,” the party alleged.

Allegations & Claims Pertaining To New Forest Conservation Rules 2022


  • The Modi government’s new rules pertaining to the act have allowed for forest rights to be settled after final approval for forest clearances has been granted by the Union Government.
  • Change brought in the name of ‘ease of doing business’ for a chosen few.
  • Congress accused the Modi Government of “abdicating” the responsibility given to the Centre by Parliament.
  • The new rules allow the Centre to permit the clearing of a forest before consulting its residents, “forcing the hand of the concerned state government to secure consent from tribal and other forest-dwelling communities”, a Newslaundry report said.

“Once forest clearance is granted, everything else becomes a mere formality and almost inevitably no claims will be recognised and settled. The state governments will be under even greater pressure from the Centre to accelerate the process of diversion of forest land,” it added.

The Congress accused the Modi Government of “abdicating” the responsibility given to the Centre by Parliament “to ensure that the Forest Conservation Act, 1980 is implemented in a manner consistent with the Forest Rights Act, 2006.” “These new Rules have been promulgated without any consultation and discussion with stakeholders including Parliament’s Standing Committee on Science & Technology, Environment, Forests and Climate Change. They will be challenged in the forthcoming session of Parliament,” the statement declared.

Centre ‘Forcing Hand’ Of Concerned State Government To Secure Consent: Report

The statement comes after a Newlaundary report said that the Environment, forest and climate change ministry notified the Forest Conservation Rules 2022 on June 28 to shift onto state governments “the union’s responsibility of ensuring that the rights of tribals to their traditional forestlands are recognised and their consent is taken before their forests are chopped down”.

The report claimed that the new rules allow the Union Government to permit the clearing of a forest before consulting its residents, “forcing the hand of the concerned state government to secure consent from tribal and other forest-dwelling communities.”

As the Congress mounts allegations against the Centre in this matter, the Union government’s response to the claims is awaited.