Implementation of Forest Rights Act: undoing the historical injustices?

This paper is based on a critical literature review and looks into the implementation of the Forest Rights Act (FRA) in India, with particular reference to the two states of Chhattisgarh and Gujarat. The paper examines the provisions, whatever little the forest-dependent people had since the colonial regime, when modern forest governance began. Under the forest policy the forest was reserved, barring the locals from entering their own lands, and it has been continuing into the present times. The paper explores how after a long struggle the FRA finally came into being with an acknowledgement by the government about the historical injustices meted out to the poor forest-dependent people. The paper further discusses the status of FRA implementation in the context of the two states, and presents an overview of its implementation at the national level. Finally, it analyses the possible implications on the livelihoods of the forest-dependent people in the backdrop of this Act and the impending challenges ahead.

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