The right policy mix for conservation
Mains Paper 1: Environment
Prelims level: Avni incident
Mains level: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation,
environmental impact assessment
Disaster and disaster management
- The Avni affair will outlive her. This has become clear over the
past few days.
- The post-mortem witness report casts doubt on the official version
of events that led to the shooting of the man-eating tigress officially
known as T1 in Maharashtra’s Yavatmal district earlier this month.
- A National Tiger Conservation Authority team has begun a probe.
Analysing the incident
- The Avni incident is far from unique or new. Human-wildlife
conflict is endemic in India.
- It is usually portrayed as a negative externality of development
activity and the degradation of natural habitats.
- There is some truth to this but it is not the entire truth.
- That is more complicated. Humans are often the victims economic
and otherwise of conservation efforts guided by poorly designed policy.
- According to the Union ministry of environment and forests, over
300 million people were directly or indirectly dependent on the forest
ecosystem as of 2009.
- This includes a large chunk of the country’s most
socioeconomically vulnerable population, such as a tribal population of 67.7
- Their dependence is multi-faceted from needing forest produce such
as fuel wood and non-timber forest products to grazing livestock on the
fringes of forests.
Revamping the Forest Rights Act
- The Forest Rights Act, 2006 was a pushback against the
- By explicitly recognizing the rights of locals, it incentivizes
them to manage and conserve natural resources.
- This has positive spillover effects. Consider the more
conventional development versus environment debate. Environmental extremism
can lead to impossibly strong safeguards when it comes to development
- India’s current environmental protection framework goes too far in
the other direction; the thoroughly broken Environmental Impact Assessment
process is little more than a rubber stamp.
- The FRA can be a useful check, making the consent of local
inhabitants and affected gram sabhas mandatory for diverting forest land for
- Though the FRA has its shortcomings but when it has worked, it has
- In 2013, the Supreme Court upheld the FRA and ruled that if
forests were to be diverted for mining.
- The consent of the gram sabhas of the local Dongria Kondh
community would be needed.
- There have been similar successes in preventing forest diversion
in a number of instances across north and central India in recent years.
- In his landmark 1991 Union budget speech, then-finance minister
Manmohan Singh said, “We cannot deforest our way to prosperity and we cannot
pollute our way to prosperity”.
- He was correct. But coming up on three decades since, India has
yet to find the right policy and regulatory mix to reflect that realization.
Q.1) Consider the following statements with regard to a National Park:
1. It is recognized as Important Bird Area by Birdlife International.
2. It is a home to last surviving population of Pygmy hog in the wild.
3. It comes under project Tiger.
Which of the following National Parks is characterized by the above
Q.1) The killing of the tigress Avni raises complex questions to which
India has failed to find answers thus far. In this context how government can
revamping the existing forest rights act.