Forest (Conservation) Amendment Bill, 2023: Does it aim for climate mitigation at the expense of biodiversity, forest rights? | In Focus podcast
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The Central government introduced the Forest (Conservation) Amendment Bill, 2023 in the Lok Sabha on March 29th this year. Generally speaking, the Bill exempts certain types of forest land from the protection afforded by the Act. It also expands the list of activities that can be carried out on forest land. Both these aspects have drawn an outcry from conservationists and environmentalists, who are saying that the amendment opens the doors for commercial exploitation of lands that were hitherto protected under this Act.
The government has also not inspired much confidence regarding its intentions by sending the Bill to a Select committee of Parliament instead of referring it to the Standing committee on science, technology, environment, and forest for scrutiny. With the Parliamentary committee now accepting submissions on the Bill, there is renewed debate on its provisions and what they mean for India’s forests.
Will this Bill safeguard India’s already depleted forests or does it dilute the protections?