The Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs has issued guidelines as regards the use of geo referencing for assessment of potential areas and re-examination of rejected claims under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, (FRA) 2006.
The Ministry, which has taken up implementation of the Forest Rights Act (FRA) on a campaign mode, says the copy has been sent to the chief secretaries of all states including Goa in July earlier this year by the Deputy Secretary of the Ministry.
Mentioning that as part of PRAGATI (Pro-Active Governance And Timely Implementation), a unique integrating and interactive platform, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi had reviewed the implementation of FRA and has desired that the Ministry of Tribal Affairs must take a lead in related technological support to the states. The Ministry informed that the states need to proactively pursue progress in vesting of rights in time bound manner.
It further said that the Ministry has received reports, which suggest that large number of forest claims by tribal population have been rejected due to lack of evidence or incomplete evidence. It may be noted that as per Rule 6 (b) of Forest Right Rules, district administration in general and the Sub Divisional Level Committees (SDLC) in particular are expected to assist the gram sabhas and village level Forest Rights Committees (FRC) by providing forest and revenue maps.
“In this context geo referenced maps may be generated and provided to gram sabhas and FRCs,” the Ministry notes, adding, “Accordingly claims rejected on the grounds of insufficient evidence or which prima facie requires additional examination may be re-examined.”
As per the Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs, through Geographical Information System (GIS), maps can be prepared for implementing agencies, regarding the eligible areas for the implementation of the FRA, where maps can be drawn at different administrative levels like nation, state, district, block and village.
With the use of GIS, final maps can also be prepared for the village as mentioned under Rule 12 A (9) of the Schedule Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Rule, 2008 with spatial information of physiographic features of that village, and area of the forest land in numerical value recognised under FRA.
Based on the inputs, Ministry felt that the broad parameters for use of geo referencing data for identification of potential areas of both individual and Community Forest Resource Rights (CFR) are listed, and has further issued the guidelines, which may be applied for use of technology and geo referencing to expedite the process of Forest Rights Act implementation.
Meanwhile, the Ministry has consulted technical resource agencies such as National Remote Sensing Centre, Bhaskaracharya Institute For Space Applications and Geo-Informatics (BISAG), department of science and technology, Gujarat and the Tribal Research Institutes, for inputs on geo referencing on the FRA.