Analysis of Forest Diversion in India, 2017_Updated

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India’s Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 mandates that a prior approval needs to be sought from the Central Government through the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) to use any forest land for non-forestry purposes such as Roads, Railways, Mining, Irrigation, Hydel infrastructure etc. Before forest clearance is granted by the Central Government recommendation from Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) (constituted at the headquarter office of MoEF&CC) is mandatory. It is important to note that although, final diversion takes place only after the MoEF&CC accepts the recommendation of the FAC and final orders are issued by the State Government, the recommendations of the FAC are accepted by MoEF&CC in almost all instances. Therefore, though actual felling may not place in the year when the FAC/REC furnishes its recommendation, however, the decision to use the land for non–forest is taken the moment the FAC recommends for diversion of forest land.