Several conservation and wildlife experts have recently written to the union environment minister, Anil Madhav Dave raising concerns about government policies that could sideline forest dwellers rights. Now around 40 international conservation organisations including Friends of the Earth, World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), International Forestry Resources and Institutions (IFRI), Mangrove Action Project have endorsed their views in writing to the minister.

Some of the issues that prompted these experts to come together is the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Act and Wildlife Action Plan 2017-31, which do not mention or incorporate the Forest Rights Act. The CAF Act which was passed in Rajya Sabha this year will unlock more than Rs 40,000 crores to states for afforestation, plantations and protection of wildlife.
The fund is mainly the accumulation of the funds paid by user agencies or corporations for several infrastructure and other projects that involved diversion of forest land over the years. It has been opposed by forest rights groups for not including mandatory gram sabha consent for projects that will taken up under CAF. The letter is significant because wildlife experts are recommending implementation of community conservation measures to improve forest management.

Source: November 14, 2016, The Times of India