News: The Union Government has proposed absolving agencies involved in national security projects and border infrastructure projects from obtaining prior forest clearance from the Centre as part of amendments to the existing Forest Conservation Act (FCA).
The FCA, which first came in 1980 and was amended in 1988, requires such permission.
The proposed amendment is part of a larger rationalising of existing forest laws.
There is also a plan in the document that is now available on the Environment Ministry’s website, to exempt land acquired before 1980 — before the FCA came into effect — by public sector bodies such as the Railways.
As of today, a landholding agency (Rail, NHAI, PWD, etc.) is required to take approval under the Act and pay stipulated compensatory levies such as Net Present Value (NPV), Compensatory Afforestation (CA), etc. for use of such land which was originally been acquired for non-forest purposes.
About Forest Conservation Act 1980:
The Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 an Act of the Parliament of India to provide for the conservation of forests and for matters connected therewith or ancillary or incidental thereto.
It was further amended in 1988.
This law extends to the whole of India. It was enacted by Parliament of India to control further deforestation of Forest Areas in India.
The act is about the restriction on the State Government for dereservation of forests or use of forest land for non-forest purpose.
It prohibits the State Government, except prior permission from central government for issuing orders directing:-
that any reserved forest (within the meaning of the expression “reserved forest” in any law for the time being in force in that State) or any portion thereof, shall cease to be reserved;
that any forest land or any portion thereof may be used for any non-forest purpose;
that any forest land or any portion thereof may be assigned by way of lease or otherwise to any private person or to any authority, corporation, agency or any other organisation not owned, managed or controlled by Government;
that any forest land or any portion thereof may be cleared of trees which have grown naturally in that land or portion, for the purpose of using it for reafforestation.
As provided in explanation “non-forest purpose” means the breaking up or clearing of any forest land or portion thereof for-
the cultivation of tea, coffee, spices, rubber, palms, oil-bearing plants, horticultural crops or medicinal plants;
any purpose other than reafforestation; but does not include any work relating or ancillary to conservation, development and management of forests and wildlife, namely, the establishment of check-posts, fire lines, wireless communications and construction of fencing, bridges and culverts, dams, waterholes, trench marks, boundary marks, pipelines or other like purposes.
2. EXERCISE MILAN
News: “Exercise Milan is being planned for February 2022 and invitations have been sent to 46 countries.
About Milan Naval Exercise:
Milan is a multilateral naval exercise hosted by the Indian Navy under the aegis of the Andaman and Nicobar Command.
The biennial event is held in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and features professional exercises and seminars, social events and sporting fixtures between participating nations.
Milan was first held in 1995. Apart from the Indian Navy, the navies of Indonesia, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Thailand participated in the inaugural edition.
Seventeen nations, including India, participated in Milan 2014 making it the biggest edition of the event ever.