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Responses to National Forest Policy seek balance between conservation and development: Minister

Responses to National Forest Policy seek balance between conservation and development: Minister

New Delhi, Dec 31 (PTI) Responses received to the Draft National Forest Policy, 2018 include those seeking a balance between conservation and the country's development and those highlighting an inadequate focus in the document on the provisions of the Forest Rights Act and their implementation, the government said on Monday.The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change had prepared the Draft National Forest Policy, 2018 and placed it in the public domain for comments.Suggestions were received from various stakeholders, including major ministries, private sector, NGOs, civil society and experts, Minister of State for Environment Mahesh Sharma said in a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha."The responses received from these stakeholders were mostly related to an inadequate focus in the draft policy on the provisions of the Forest Rights Act and their implementation, the role of the Gram Sabha, concerns on PPP (public-private partnership) in afforestation of degraded forests, seeking a balance between conservation and the country's development in the new policy, along with incentivising people for taking up tree plantation outside forests etc.," Sharma said.He added that the ministry had addressed all the concerns and taken into account the suggestions in the revised Draft National Forest Policy, 2018."The role and responsibility of the Gram Sabha, Forest Dwelling Communities and Panchayati Raj Institutions in conservation and management of forests have been reflected in the Draft National Forest Policy, 2018."Further plantation in PPP mode has been proposed only in (a) areas outside forests (b) revenue land recorded forest but not notified forest (c) scrub/degraded forest (d) areas provided to FDC, local communities etc.," the minister said.He said the Draft National Forest Policy, 2018 ensured that under no circumstances a forest land would be transferred."The draft policy harmonises the provisions of the FRA and the PESA in its objectives and strategies."In addition, the revised Draft National Forest Policy, 2018 has incorporated separate provisions for harmonisation and synergy with policies, plans and laws of other concerned sectors such as Tribal Affairs, Mining, Water, Roads, Tourism, Agriculture, Rural Development, Industry, Irrigation and Power Transmission etc. and the actions pursuant to the National Forest Policy will be in tandem with the government policies in these sectors," Sharma added. PTI TDS RC