Lok Sabha passes Indian Forest (Amendment) Bill, 2017
December 21, 2017

Lok Sabha on 20 December 2017 passed the Indian Forest (Amendment) Bill, 2017. The Bill seeks to amend the Indian Forest Act, 1927.

The Bill was introduced in Lok Sabha by Union Minister of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change Harsh Vardhan on 18 December 2017.  The Bills replaces the Indian Forest (Amendment) Ordinance, 2017.

Under the Indian Forest Act, the definition of tree includes palms, bamboos, stumps, brush-wood, and canes.  The Bill amends this definition of tree to remove the word bamboos.

The bamboo, though taxonomically a grass, is treated as tree under the Indian Forest Act, 1927. The transit of bamboo attracts the requirement of permit under the said Act. 

The farmers have been facing hardships in getting the permits for felling and transit of bamboos within the State and also for the inter-state transit. This has been identified as major obstacle by farmers for the cultivation of bamboos on their land. 

Once the amendment bill becomes an Act, the felling or transportation of bamboos growing in non-forest areas will not require any permits.

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

Background
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.