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Environment Ministry postpones forest policy indefinitely

This is the first time that the policy was being re-looked since 1988. File photo

This is the first time that the policy was being re-looked since 1988. File photo   | Photo Credit: Sudhakara Jain

The Environment Ministry has indefinitely postponed an ambitious plan to update India’s forest policy.

It has also decided to abstain from committing to a timeframe by which it would have a third of India’s land under forest or tree cover, a key promise of the forest policy.

“…The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has not set up any timeframe for formulation of the new forest policy and, as of now, the draft version of the policy is not ready,” Anil Madhav Dave, Union Minister for Environment, Forests and Climate Change, said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.

“The national goal is to have a minimum of one-third of the total land area of the country under forest or tree cover. However, no time limit has been prescribed to achieve this target,” the Minister wrote.

The MoEFCC had tasked the Bhopal-based Indian Institute of Forest Management (IIFM), an affiliated organisation, with reviewing and revising the existing forest policy.

This was the first time that the policy was being re-looked since 1988 as it wanted to update the several changes in the forest laws and provide a forward-looking policy that talked about increasing India’s forest cover and tackling the effects of climate change.

The organisation had submitted its report and was available on the Environment Ministry’s website, as a “Draft National Policy.”

However, on June 22, the Ministry rejected the report and claimed it had “inadvertently” uploaded the draft policy and claimed it to be so, when it was only a “study” by the IIFM.

The draft policy, as The Hindu reported on June 22, made several suggestions including promoting the commercial use of wood, a greater role for industry in forest management and time-bound reviews of the progress being made in effectively managing forests. It, however, had not explicitly mentioned the role of tribals in forest management and the protections accorded by the Forest Rights Act.

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Printable version | Sep 19, 2020 6:15:10 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/Environment-Ministry-postpones-forest-policy-indefinitely/article16760754.ece

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