Centre plans to bring amendments in FRA: Kishore Deo

Berhampur: In a bid to give more benefits to the tribal population, the Centre is contemplating bringing certain amendments in the Forest Rights Act, 2006, Union Minister for Tribal Affairs and Panchayati Raj V Kishore Chandra Deo said here on Saturday.

"Certain provisions of the Act need changes to give maximum benefit to the tribal people," Deo said while addressing a workshop on "Food Security, Governance and Natural Resources management in tribal areas" at Gopalpur-on- Sea here.

The Act, which came into force from 2008, was enacted in 2006 with an aim to provide the rights over the forest land to tribals for eking out livelihood. "We are now examining the experience of its implementation during two and half years and real benefits to the tribal people", the minister said.
"Before bringing some amendments on it, I seek suggestions from the tribal groups and organisations", he added.

The Act will be really beneficial to a tribal when he starts cultivating. "If a tribal gets barren land, there seems no benefit to him," the minister said.

Deo also stressed implementation of the Panchayats (Extensions to the Scheduled Areas) Act-1996, popularly known as PESA Act.  Although several states implemented it, some are yet to get benefits of the PESA Act. The Act is unprecedented as it gives self-government powers to the tribal community and recognises its traditional community rights over the natural resource. With an aim at the participatory democracy, the Act was enacted by former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, he said.

He also emphasised on the strengthening of the Gram Sabha. "I want the proceedings of the Gram Sabha should be video recorded so that one can not manipulate them," he said. The Karnataka government had already started video recording of the proceedings of Gram Sabha, he pointed out.

Stating that the UPA government had taken several steps for the education of the tribal people in the country, Deo said a new scheme, the adivasi sikhya rann (loan) yojana was launched on Thursday for providing study loan to the tribal people to pursue higher studies.