India | Centre for Science and Environment

India


How government is subverting forest right act

By: Richard Mahapatra, Kumar Sambhav Shrivastava, Sumana Narayanan, Aparna Pallavi

Two tribal villages in Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra—Mendha Lekha and Marda— savoured victory when they won community rights over their forest resources in August last year. The rights conferred under the Forest Rights Act of 2006 include the right to collect and sell minor forest produce (MFP). These include tendu leaves used in beedis, and bamboo that have high commercial value and were under the forest department’s control. Winning the right to manage these resources meant economic liberation to the two villages.

Cancun musing

I have reached Cancun few hours’ back to attend the 16th Conference of Parties (CoP-16) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and have been greeted with news that can only be characterised as bad or worse.

Is bamboo a tree or a grass?

The definition is contested as the answer has immense economic implications. If bamboo is a tree or timber, it belongs to the forest department and can be auctioned to the paper and pulp industry, often at throwaway rates. If it is a grass, then it would be classified as a minor forest produce and people would have the right to cut bamboo for sale or for value addition by making furniture or baskets.

Go wild

By: Tiasa Adhya

Ashwagandha occupies a prominent position in traditional health systems like Ayurveda. In India the medicinal plant is cultivated on 4,000 hectares, mainly in Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. But when it comes to being the most effective, a group of researchers claims, it is the wild variety.

Fix what is broken

By: Sunita Narain

The high corridors of the nation are abuzz with talk about how much food should be given to the country’s poor as a right. Then they worry who should get this right to food. All who are poor, the very poor or the poor but not so very poor? This haggle over the below poverty line (BPL) and above poverty line (APL) seems to miss two crucial points. One, that the government does not know how to enumerate its people in terms of poverty. Two, there is no fixed and absolute line dividing the poor and not-poor.

A fish moves west

By: Kaushik Das Gupta

Ten years ago Bangladesh’s rivers were deeper and hilsa plentiful. But silting, dams and pollution pushed the fisher into deep ocean and resulted in shifting of their homebase. The Bangladesh fish wholesaler’s loss became Gujarat’s gain as increasingly hilsa from the Tapti and the Narmada feed the Kolkata market.

ABCDE of Obama’s sales pitch

There is no doubt US President Barack Obama was in India on a business trip. His recent electoral losses weighed heavily with him when he stitched up deals, reportedly worth US $10 billion, that would create about 50,000 jobs back home.

How climate ready are we?

On a brief visit to Pakistan this week I noted that the recent floods have left deep impressions on the country’s policy and political leadership. They spoke about the scale of devastation, human suffering and the massive challenge of rehabilitation. They also noted, interestingly, that in their view there was a link to climate change.

Fix what is broken

The high corridors of the nation are abuzz with talk about how much food should be given to the country’s poor as a right.

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