Bill amending Forest Act passed
Parliament on 27 December 2017 passed a Bill to exclude bamboo from the definition of tree under the Indian Forest Act, claiming it would improve the earnings of tribals and dwellers living around forests.
The Indian Forest (Amendment) Bill, which was adopted by the Lok Sabha on December 20, was passed by a voice-vote in the Rajya Sabha. Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Harsh Vardhan said the Bill to amend the 1927 Indian Forest Act would benefit the tribals, forest dwellers and farmers as their income would increase.
The Bill permits felling and transit of bamboo grown in non-forest areas. However, bamboo grown on forest lands would continue to be classified as tree and would be guided by the existing legal restrictions.
26 states and union territories had responded on the Bill while 24 of them had supported it.
The Bill would not only increase rural income but also help in increasing green cover across the country.
Bamboo was used extensively in a variety of applications such as furnishing, yarn, pulp and paper, handicrafts, decoration and musical instruments.
The opposition leader alleged that the Bill was “trampling upon the rights of the Gram Sabha, which are enshrined in the Indian Forest Act“.