Securing Individual Forest Rights (IFR) for the forest villages of Madhya Pradesh using geospatial technology
Colonial forest policy imposed many injustices on forest-dependent communities in India, ignoring pre-existing cultivation and taking away people’s rights to access and manage the forest. This exploitative colonial practice was, unfortunately, continued after Independence.
When the landmark Forest Rights Act was passed, it was hoped the issue would be resolved once and for all. The Act enables the recognition of rights over existing habitation and cultivation in forest land (IFRs) and over forest access and management (CFRs), and it has a separate section (3(1)(h)) for the conversion of FVs into revenue villages.
Geospatial technologies can be used in a way that eases the claim-making process, maintains complete transparency and ensures gram sabha control over the process.