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Analysis of Forest Clearances in India, 2020 (January-December)

Each year, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change proudly claims that the forest cover in India has increased. This increase in forest cover is supported by assessments done by the Forest Survey of India. However, these statements and assessment conceal the loss of natural forest cover in India due to various activities, many of which could clearly be located in non-forest land. In addition, there is a misconception that the environmental laws are a hurdle in getting approval for various projects. The present analysis shows that the Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) and the Regional Empowered Committee (REC), which are constituted under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 have abdicated their statutory duty in order to grant approval to every project that seeks diversion of forest land. It is clear that approval is the norm and rejection takes place in the rarest of rare instance.