The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has invited suggestions from citizens on proposed amendments to the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980. People can send their comments/suggestions via email by October 17.
What's the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980?
In an effort to check deforestation, then-President Neelam Sanjiva Reddy had promulgated the Forest (Conservation) Ordinance on October 25, 1980. According to the Act, prior approval of the Centre was made necessary "for de-reservation of reserved forests and for use of forest land for non-forest purposes".
For a decade-and-a-half, this law remained applicable to the forests notified under the Indian Forest Act, 1927, or any other local law, and to forests that were under the management control of the Forest Department.
However, in 1996, the Supreme Court made the law applicable to
The Centre wants to do away with the provision mandating its approval for the de-reservation of reserved forests and for use of forest land for non-forest purposes.
The government has enlisted 14 reasons behind the proposed move.
Backlash to the Centre's move
The critics say that amendment to the Act would result in more deforestation and more use of forest land for non-forestry activities.
Some people have also pointed out the government has given only 15 days to send feedback as against 30 days mandated under the country's pre-legislative consultation policy.