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Government proposes changes to the forest conservation law to promote plantations on private lands | India News

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NEW DELHI: The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEFCC) has proposed major changes to the Forest Conservation Law to encourage plantations on private lands and exempt owners, both private and government entities, from requesting prior permission from the Center to reap the benefits of such plantations. . The ministry’s proposed amendments say such prior permission from the Center would not be needed for security and strategic projects and states can grant such permits to avoid delays.
The Cabinet proposal circulated by the MoEFCC has also said that the agencies that own railways and highways should not require a new authorization for sections that had been acquired before 1980 (the year the FC Act came into force) for the Projects.
The ministry has circulated the proposed FC Amendment Law, 2021 for inter-ministerial consultation, highlighting how a Supreme Court ruling of December 12, 1996 has required these changes. He has said that until this order was passed, which forced them to seek prior central approval for the non-forest use of all “forest” lands, regardless of their classification and ownership, the state, the UT and central governments used to apply the Act only to forests notified under the Indian Forest Act 1927 or any other local law and forests that were under the management and control of forest departments.
There has been said to have been a “declining trend” of planting non-forest lands by government and private entities on non-forest lands due to apprehension that they may face “obstacles to reaping the benefits of such plantations due to the applicability of the Act “from the SC order. The ministry has proposed that clarity is needed to prescribe the scope of applicability of the FC Act on those lands that are not reported as forest but whose land use was changed prior to the 1996 SC order.
The ministry has said that to increase the forest area or tree cover to a third of the country’s land area by 2030 according to the goal of the national forest policy, it is necessary to carry out massive plantations outside the areas registered as “forests” without creating any tax on landlords. He also highlighted how India imports timber worth approximately Rs 45 billion.
The ministry has suggested that it is necessary to ensure that all plantations, agroforestry and afforestation carried out on non-forest lands after December 31, 2020 are not covered by the Law and registration in the income registry of plantations and afforestation in any non-forest land. after December 12, 1996, it should be outside the scope of the Law to promote forestry activities, including agroforestry and others.

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