The Indian Forest (Amendment) Bill for “Bamboo”
The Indian Forest (Amendment)Bill,which was adopted by Lok Sabha on December 20,was passed by a voice-vote in the Rajya Sabha,amid a walkout by members of the Congress,Biju Janata Dal and the Samajwadi Party.
The Bill was passed by parliament today to exclude bamboo from the definition of a tree under the Indian Forest Act,claiming it would improve the earnings of tribals and dwellers living around forests.
The opposition parties protested its passage saying the Bill was being passed in a hurry without proper consultations with stakeholders and the states. Besides, they alleged it would favour the industrialists.
Replying to a short debate, Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Harsh Vardhan said the Bill to amend the 1927 Indian Forest Act would benefit the tribals, forest dweller and farmers as their income would increase.
The Bill permits felling and transit of bamboo grown in non-forest areas. However, bamboo grown on forest lands would continue to be classified as a tree and would be guided by the existing legal restrictions.
Mr. Vardhan said the Bill would not only increase rural income but also help in increasing green cover across the country. Bamboo, the minister said, was used extensively in a variety of applications such as furnishing, yarn, pulp and paper, handicrafts, decoration and musical instruments.
Earlier while moving the Bill for passage, Mr. Vardhan said the major objective of the amendment was to promote the cultivation of bamboo in non-forest areas and improve farmers’ income, keeping in mind the Government’s “ambitious” target of doubling farmers’ income by 2022.