NEW DELHI: An expert committee constituted by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs will review the habitat rights of particularly vulnerable tribal groups (PVTGs) and seasonal resource access to nomadic and pastoralist communities in at least five states. The decision was taken at a meeting convened on Monday.
The members of the panel will visit Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Odisha, Jharkhand, and Madhya Pradesh in over a month's period. The panel is expected to submit its report, suggest guidelines, and recommendations in this matter within three months.
The ministry had constituted an expert committee on the improvement of the recognition of community rights under the Forest Rights Act (FRA). The ministry had observed in an order that these areas continue to be neglected and state governments have little know-how about the processes to be adopted for the recognition of rights of the communities.
The committee is also expected to make use of success stories in the area of community rights in some states and provide a roadmap for other states on the way forward.
'The members of the panel will be visiting the states and collect secondary information on the different communities. They will compile information, interact with communities, and then draft the guidelines for the habitat rights,' said Y Giri Rao, a member of the expert committee.
'The panel will interact with Bakarwal and Gaddi tribes in Jammu and Kashmir,' he added.
According to an order by the ministry of tribal affairs, state governments have not reported any progress towards recognition of seasonal resource access of nomadic or pastoralist communities under the FRA. The Act provides for the recognition of grazing and traditional seasonal resource access of nomadic and pastoralist communities.
The ministry had also observed in the order that state governments need comprehensive and specific guidelines on the habitat rights of PVTGs to overcome difficulties faced by them in the process of recognition of habitat rights as per the FRA.