Date: May 31, 2017
The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 (FRA henceforth) recognises and vests diverse pre-existing rights over forest land. These include rights over occupied forest land, rights to ownership of Minor Forest Produce (MFP), Community Forest Resource (CFR) rights, rights over produce of water bodies, grazing rights (both for settled and transhumant communities), rights over habitat for Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups(PVTGs) and other customary rights. The most critical right which has a bearing on forest governance and the welfare of tribals and other traditional forest dwellers is the right over CFRs which provides Gram Sabhas the right to conserve, protect and manage forests.
Based on the available data, it is clear that even after a decade of the implementation of the FRA, especially the CFR rights provision remain deeply lacking in Telangana State. No efficacious step for effective implementation of the FRA has been taken even after bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh state. There has been no effort to estimate the potential areas over which rights under the FRA need to be recognised in the state. Specifically, there is no analysis of how much forest area will come under the jurisdiction and management of Gram Sabhas under the CFR rights provision of the law. Another limitation is that the available data pertains to the erstwhile districts. No data is available for the newly reorganised districts.