Amid increased Naxal violence, the government has constituted a committee to find whether the tribals under the Forest Rights Act — aimed at undoing historical injustice to them — have really benefited from it or not.
An inter-ministerial panel headed by former planning commission secretary N C Saxena and with representatives from tribal affairs ministry, environment ministry and panchayati raj ministry has been set up to suggest policy changes to improve implementation.
One of the key areas would be to see how different government programmes for forest dwellers can be converged to ensure maximum benefit.
Several states including Chattisgarh, where 76 security personnel died in a Naxal attack last week, have claimed to have sanctioned land rights to over 70 per cent applicants. But, the state forest departments feel that granting of rights can result in destruction of forests.
The panel has been asked to define the role of government agencies to facilitate tribals to conserve and manage forests as mandated under the law.