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Union Government promulgates Indian Forest (Amendment) Ordinance, 2017

Nov 24, 2017 15:59 IST
Bamboo Trees

In a landmark initiative, the Union Government on 23 November 2017 promulgated the Indian Forest (Amendment) Ordinance, 2017 to encourage bamboo cultivation in non-forest areas.

The ordinance calls to exempt bamboo grown in non-forest areas from definition of tree, thereby making its economic use easier.

However, the bamboo grown in the forest areas shall continue to be governed by the provisions of Indian Forest Act, 1927.

Earlier, the Union Cabinet approved the promulgation of the Ordinance on amendment of Section 2 (7) of the Indian Forest Act, 1927 in this regard.   

Benefits of Indian Forest (Amendment) Ordinance, 2017
• The ordinance aims to promote cultivation of bamboo in non-forest areas to achieve twin objectives of increasing the income of farmers and also increasing the green cover of the country.   
• It will encourage farmers and other individuals to take up plantation or block plantation of suitable bamboo species on degraded land in addition to plantation on agricultural land under agroforestry mission.  
• It will enhance supply of raw material to the traditional craftsmen of rural India, bamboo based paper & pulp  industries, cottage industries, furniture makers, fabric making units, incense stick making units.
• It will also help industries dealing with food products (bamboo shoots), constructions and housing, bamboo charcoal etc.

Background
Bamboo, though a grass, was legally defined as a tree under the Indian Forest Act, 1927.   Under the Act, the felling and transit of bamboo grown on forest as well non-forest land attracted the provisions of the Indian Forest Act, 1927 (IFA, 1927). This was a major obstacle for bamboo cultivation by farmers on non-forest land.

Bamboo grows abundantly in areas outside forests with an estimated growing stock of 10.20 million tonnes.  About 20 million people are involved in bamboo related activities. The current demand of bamboo in India is estimated at 28 million tonnes.

As per United Nation’s Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), the bamboo business in the North-East Region alone has a potential of about Rs 5000 crores in the next ten years.  Considering this, government introduced the amendment to improve the economy of the entire country.

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