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Govt withdraws ‘Officer’s’ draft on amendment to Forest Act

Union environment minister Prakash Javadekar announced the withdrawal of the draft amendment to the Forest Act, 1927, ahead of Jharkhand elections—a state with high tribal population. The minister stressed that the Narendra Modi government was com...

ET Bureau|
Nov 16, 2019, 02.02 PM IST
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AP
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New Delhi: Union environment minister Prakash Javadekar on Friday announced the withdrawal of the draft amendment to the Forest Act, 1927, that had sparked a controversy over its approach towards forest dwellers and provisions for additional indemnity to forest officers.

The move comes days ahead of Jharkhand elections—a state with high tribal population.

Terming the draft as an ‘officer’s’ draft and not a government one, the minister stressed that the Narendra Modi government was committed to protect the rights of tribals and forest dwellers.

The draft was circulated by Inspector General of Forests (Forest Policy) to all states on March 7 this year, seeking their comments on the first draft of the comprehensive amendments to the Indian Forests Act (IFA).

Each state had to conduct consultations with all its stakeholders, including non-profits and civil society organisations, and send the compiled feedback to the ministry by June.

The provision in the amendment which invited criticism was the one which allowed forest officials to use arms against people to prevent forest offence.

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