Madhya Pradesh sets JFM precedent

recent developments augur well for the forest dwellers of Madhya Pradesh (mp). Firstly, under the joint forest management plan (jfm), forest protection committees in the villages will now receive all revenue collected from selling timber and bamboo. And secondly, the mp government has decided to deregulate the trade of minor forest produce (mfp). The significance of the latter can be gauged from the fact that 80 per cent of the people inhabiting the state's forests depend on mfp collection for their livelihood.

The state government bypassed intense opposition from forest officials to implement the new revenue sharing plan under jfm . Until now, the village bodies used to get 10 per cent of the timber revenue and 20 per cent of the proceeds from bamboo sales. The recent decision would, therefore, boost the earnings of the forest protection committees considerably. mp is India's first state to take such a step under jfm .

During the past two years, the government had given only Rs 37 crore to the panels. But under the new plan, their annual share would be Rs 150 crore. While the forest department would keep 16 per cent of the revenue for spending on the jfm programme, 20 per cent will be handed over to the forest protection committees that manage

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