Baiga tribal group gets habitat rights in Chhattisgarh: What this means, significance

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Source: The post is based on the article “Baiga tribal group gets habitat rights in Chhattisgarh: What this means, significance” published in Indian Express” on 12th October 2023

What is the News?

The Baiga Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG) became the second to get habitat rights in Chhattisgarh, after the Kamar PVTG.

What are Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups(PVTG)?

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What is Habitat?

According to Section 2(h) of Forest Rights Act(FRA): “Habitat includes the area comprising the customary habitat and such other habitats in reserved forests and protected forests of primitive tribal groups and pre-agricultural communities and other forest dwelling Scheduled Tribes”.

What are Habitat rights?

Habitat rights are a form of recognition that grants a community certain rights and control over their traditional living areas, cultural practices, economic activities, ecological knowledge, and natural resources. 

These rights protect and support the community’s traditional ways of life and ecological wisdom passed down through generations.

They also help converge different government schemes and initiatives from various departments to empower PVTG communities to develop their habitats.

Under what law are Habitat rights granted?

Habitat rights are given to PVTGs under section 3(1) (e) of The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 also known as the Forest Rights Act (FRA).

Which states have granted Habitat Rights?

Out of 75 PVTG in India, only three have habitat rights.The Bharia PVTG in Madhya Pradesh was the first, followed by the Kamar tribe and now the Baiga tribe in Chhattisgarh.

Can habitat rights be used to stop activities like mining?

The habitat rights will help the PVTG protect their habitat from developmental activities harmful to them.

The habitat rights title may not be an ownership title in the nature of a private property owner, but consent and consultation of the gram sabha will be needed for any developmental activity.

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