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Indian Forest Act Amendment

Indian Forest Act Amendment

In an attempt to address contemporary challenges to India’s forests, the government is amending the Indian Forest Act, 1927.

Highlights of the Draft

The proposed amendment will increase the powers of Forest offices which include the power to issue search warrant, investigation of the lands falling in their jurisdiction.

Forest officers such as Ranger will have power to hold an inquiry into forest offences under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

The amendment defines community as “a group of persons specified on the basis of government records living in a specific locality and in joint possession and enjoyment of common property resources, without regard to race, religion, caste, language and culture”.

Forest is defined to include “any government or private or institutional land recorded or notified as forest/forest land in any government record and the lands managed by government/community as forest and mangroves, and also any land which the central or state government may by notification declare to be forest for the purpose of this Act.

A forest development cess of up to 10% on mining products and water used for irrigation in industries may be levied.

The amendment also introduces a new category of forests — production forest. These will be forests with specific objectives for production of timber, pulp, pulpwood, firewood, non-timber forest produce, medicinal plants or any forest species to increase production in the country for a specified period.

Indian Forest Act 1927

The Indian Forest Act, 1927 was largely based on previous Indian Forest Acts implemented under the British.

It defines the procedure to be followed for declaring an area to be a Reserved Forest, a Protected Forest or a Village Forest.

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