GS3 - Conservation - Prelims- Inviolate' Forest Policy in India

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GS3 - Conservation - Prelims - Online Study Preparation Notes

'inviolate' forest policy in India

What is the need for an 'inviolate' forest policy in India?

  • The ‘inviolate’ forest policy, awaiting a final approval for more than four years now, requires the government to separate good forests and biodiverse areas from all kind of mining, including coal.
  • The government in response to an RTI application said it doesn’t have a deadline by which the long-pending inviolate forest policy will be implemented.
  • The attempt to establish objective parameters to demarcate inviolate forests – or, in other words, forests not to be converted to other uses – began as a reaction to the “Go, No-go” policy initiated during the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) era by the then environment minister Jairam Ramesh in 2011. At that time, it was to protect good forest areas only from coal mining.

For a country that suffers regularly from deficient monsoon and water shortages, the government should be strengthening forest protection, recognising the key role forests play in hydrology and water supply.

  • Forests are not just trees but ecosystems that support thousands of life forms including us, humans.
  • They act as an integral part in forming and sustaining our rivers and ensuring continuous water supply even in summer; they support the livelihood of millions of people and play a major part in regulating our climate.
  • The ministry’s priorities reflect India’s flawed forest governance at large, which allows ecologically and culturally irreplaceable forests to be squandered for development projects.