Odisha leading in Forest Rights Act claims settlement: Development Commissioner Pradeep Jena

Jena said that the FRA has a special significance to Odisha which is home to as many as 62 scheduled tribes who constitute over 22.8 per cent of its population.
Odisha Development Commissioner Pradeep Jena (Photo| Twitter)
Odisha Development Commissioner Pradeep Jena (Photo| Twitter)

BHUBANESWAR: Odisha is one of the leading states in the country as far as implementation of Forest Rights Act is concerned, Development Commissioner-cum-Additional Chief Secretary to Odisha Government Pradeep Jena said on Thursday.

Speaking at the inaugural session of the national consultation on 'Potential of Forest Rights Act (FRA) in the context of Tribal Development: Implementation Gaps and Way Forward' here Jena said that the FRA has a special significance to Odisha which is home to as many as 62 scheduled tribes who constitute over 22.8 per cent of its population.

More than 4.57 lakh (till April 2022) Individual Forest Rights claims have been approved in Odisha. And around 3.51 lakh title holders have been covered under various government programs and schemes, said Secretary of the ST & SC Development department Ranjana Chopra.

Delivering the keynote address of the two-day consultation programme, former member of Planning Commission NC Saxena spoke about the significance of FRA in the context of tribal development. The Act, if implemented in true spirit, will go a long way in ensuring livelihood security and poverty alleviation thereby, contributing to Sustainable Development Goals, he said.

On the occasion, Secretary of Ministry of Tribal Development Anil Kumar Jha said the government of India has accorded high priority to the implementation of the Act, and accordingly the Ministry of Tribal Affairs has issued several guidelines, clarifications and letters to the States to strengthen the implementation of the law.

Presenting the Odisha experience on the status of FRA implementation, Director of the department Guha Poonam Tapas Kumar said while the rate of FRA claims approval is 73 per cent, correction of records has been done for 2.59 lakh number of titles issued to forest rights title holders.

Besides, 160 forest rights cells have been formed at tehsil, sub-collector’s office and district-level in tribal sub-plan areas where the tribal population is more than 50 per cent of its total population for effective implementation of FRA.

Organised by the ST & SC Development department in collaboration with the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, the inaugural session was attended by Deputy Adviser of NITI Aayog Muni Raju, Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP India Denny Curry and advisor-cum-director SCSTRTI AB Ota, among others.

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