The MoEFCC recently notified Forest (conservation) Rules 2022, under Forest (conservation) Act, 1980.
About Forest (conservation) Rules 2022
Provisions of Forest (conservation) Rules 2022 include:
- An advisory committee, a screening committee at State or UT and a regional empowered committee will be constituted for monitoring purposes.
- Integrated Regional Office will be set up to examine all the linear projects (Highways and roads) on land up to 40 hectares and those projects using forest land up to 0.7 canopy density.
- These rules provide for a fixed time for reviewing each project quickly.
- States are going to be responsible for settling forest rights of forest dwellers, under the Forest Rights Act, 2006. They will also allow diversion of forest land.
- Compensatory afforestation (CA) will now be allowed in other states. If state has more than two-thirds area under green cover or more than one-third area under forest cover, then CA would be allowed to be taken in other states/UTs where this cover is below 20%
Changes rules on penalty
- MoEFCC has proposed for removing imprisonment as a penalty for less severe contraventions.
- Imprisonment has been replaced with monetary penalty.
- However, serious violations of Environment Protection Act (EPA), leading to grievous injury or loss of life, will be covered under provision of Indian Penal Code.
- It will be in force for penal provisions of single use plastic ban.
- Under the current provisions of EPA, violator can be punished with imprisonment up to five years or fine up to Rs 1,00,000 or both.
- Environmental Protection Fund will be created to remit the penalty amount.
About Environmental Protection Act, 1986
- It was enacted under Article 253 of the Constitution, and came into force in 1986.
- The Act provides for a framework to study, plan, and implement long-term requirements of environmental safety.
- It also lay down a system of adequate and speedy response for the situations threatening the environment.