New Delhi, July 6 (PTI) Tribal Affairs Minister Arjun Munda on Tuesday said more than five lakh land pattas have been given to tribals and forest dwellers in the last seven years.
Patta is a legal document that establishes the ownership of a person over a particular piece of land.
He also said that under the Narendra Modi government at the Centre, the number of minor forest produce items being procured at minimum support price has been increased from 10 to 86.
“In the last seven years, more than five lakh pattas have been given to forest dwellers and scheduled tribes. Earlier, only 10 minor forest produce would be procured at MSP, the number under the Modi government has increased to 86,” Munda tweeted in Hindi.
The central government's scheme – “Mechanism for Marketing of Minor Forest Produce through Minimum Support Price (MSP) and Development of Value Chain for MFP” – ensures that the tribal population gets a remunerative price for the produce they collect from the forest and provide employment opportunities to them. The scheme was notified in February, 2019.
Minor Forest Produce (MFP), also known as non-timber forest produce (NTFP), is a key source of livelihood for a large number of Scheduled Tribes living in and around forests. It provides them essential food, nutrition, medicinal supplies, and cash.
Almost 60-70 percent income of the forest dwellers depends on collection and sale of MFP.
On Tuesday, the Union Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Tribal Affairs issued a joint circular to chief secretaries of states, asking them to review the implementation of the Forests Rights Act, 2006, which recognises the rights of forest dwellers to live on forest land and have access to forest resources.
“Despite a considerable lapse of time since it came into force, the process of recognition of forest rights is yet to be completed... The exercise of these rights as well as operationalization of Section 5 of the Act are other areas of concern,” the circular read.
Section 5 says the holders of any forest right under this Act are empowered to protect the wildlife, forest and biodiversity and ensure that adjoining catchments area, water sources and other ecological sensitive areas are adequately protected.
The circular also said that issues related to implementation of the Act need to be resolved at the state level in terms of statutory provisions.
“However, it has also been decided that any queries/issues that may require clarification/hamper the implementation of FRA may be brought to the notice of central government so that both ministries may take a collective view on the matter, including issuing joint clarification, guidelines etc,” it said. PTI GVS HDA