Webinar: Forest Rights and Governance in India | Land Portal
Contact details: 
Neil Sorensen, neil.sorensen@landportal.org

NRMC is a technical and managerial advisory firm in the development sector that provides evidence-based solutions for sustainable, equitable and inclusive development. 

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The Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) was established in 1936 as the Sir Dorabji Tata Graduate School of Social Work. In 1944, it was renamed as the Tata Institute of Social Sciences. The year 1964 was an important landmark in the history of the Institute, when it was declared Deemed to be a University under Section 3 of the University Grants Commission Act (UGC), 1956. 

The Land Portal Foundation and the NRMC Center for Land Governance are partnering with key organizations to hold a series of three webinars on Forest Rights and Governance in India, Land Rights for Slum Dwellers in the East Indian State Odisha: Making technology work for the urban poor and Women Inheriting Land: Rights and Realities, leading up to the third annual India Land and Development Conference (ILDC), which will take place from 12-14 March, 2019. The results of these webinars will inform discussions at respective panel sessions during the conference with the aim of making panel-conversations more nuanced while also ensuring deeper dives into the subject, thereby achieving  more actionable results. The ultimate goal of these webinars is to contribute to desirable changes in institutional frameworks and to eliminating barriers that are limiting implementation of legal and policy frameworks, through enhanced awareness and understandings of stakeholders. In addition, these webinars will connect local and global discourse and audiences, with the immediate outcome of enhanced and nuanced appreciation of the issue and more informed actions that contribute to better results.

The webinar on Forest Rights and Governance in India took place place on 30 January, 2019. The webinar was co-organized by Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) with support from  the NRMC Center for Land Governance and the Land Portal Foundation.

The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act of 2006, popularly known as Forest Rights Act (FRA) has been widely recognised as one of the landmark legislations in the post-independent India. The FRA recognises historical injustice meted out to scheduled tribe and other traditional forest dwellers and sought to restore the rights of forest dwelling communities over land and the governance & management of forests through decentralisation of power to Gram Sabha. However, over the last decade, the implementation of the FRA has not been effective, as only 17 percent of the total potential forest area has been recognised under forest rights. Also, over these years, there is a large-scale variation in implementation of FRA in all the major states.  Nonetheless, FRA has the potential to bring about radical changes in forest governance, including by conferring Community Forest Resource rights and management authority to forest-dwelling communities.

The objective of this interactive and dynamic webinar was to discuss why has there been variation in the implementation of the Forest Rights Act, to identify institutional bottlenecks to upscaling its implementation, as well as lessons learned from existing best practices.



  • Tushar Dash, Independent Researcher and Forest Rights Expert, Odisha

  • Soma K P, Policy Analyst and Expert on Gender Studies

  • Pinaki Halder, State Director, Landesa


  • Geetanjoy Sahu, Assistant Professor, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai

Questions for Panelists

  1. Implementation:

    1. Why has implementation of FRA not been effective after ten years?

    2. What are the key bottlenecks in the implementation of FRA?

    3. Why has success been limited to few states like Maharashtra and Odisha?

    4. How do you look at the implementation process driven by NGOs?

    5. What do you suggest to improve the implementation process across India?

  2. Inclusion

    1. Why there is no progress in recognising the rights of other traditional forest dwellers?

    2. To what extent FRA benefited women in rural areas?

  3. Innovations

    1. What factors contributed to the successful enforcement of FRA in these two states?

    2. What are the best practices under FRA?

    3. What has been the impact of FRA on forest rights discourse in India?

  1. Governance

    1. What has been the impact of FRA on forest rights discourse in India?

    2. How do you analyse the conflicting policies vis-a-vis FRA and what are the ways to address them?



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