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January 24, 2006
On December1, 2005 the Union Cabinet gave its approval to the revised Scheduled Tribes (Recognition of Forest Rights) Bill.
One of the major changes in the final Bill is that the ambiguity in cut off date for determining tribal rights over land has been removed and October 25, 1980, has been made the cut-off date.
The second major change pertains to rights of tribals in national parks and sanctuaries. Tribal inhabitants would be given provisional
pattas with a clear caveat that they could be relocated. "They would have right to acreage but not to land."
The third deviation is that forest officials would be involved at every stage in the process of granting land rights to tribals. Non-tribal forest dwellers will be settled according to the settlement rules of the environment and forests ministry.
There is no change in the long list of forest rights given to tribals as well as the provision that the right conferred shall be heritable but not alienable or transferable. Similarly, there is no change as far as duties -most concerning conservation of
flora and fauna-of the holder of forest rights are concerned.
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