Why is it in the news?
- Recently, the Baiga Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG) in Chhattisgarh received habitat rights.
- Kamar PVTG was the first to receive habitat rights in Chhattisgarh after which 19 Baiga villages with a population of 6,483 people in Gaurela block obtained habitat rights.
Habitat Rights and PVTGs
- Habitat rights provide rights over customary territory, cultural practices, livelihood means, biodiversity knowledge, and natural resource use.
- They safeguard traditional livelihoods and ecological knowledge.
- Habitat rights empower PVTG communities to develop their habitats and align with government schemes.
Legal Framework for Habitat Rights
- Habitat rights for PVTGs are granted under Section 3(1)(e) of the Forest Rights Act (FRA) 2006.
- FRA defines habitat as the customary habitat of primitive tribal groups and other forest-dwelling Scheduled Tribes.
- Use of Habitat Rights to protect the environment
- Habitat rights can be used to protect habitats from harmful developmental activities.
- Consent and consultation of the Gram Sabha are required for any such activities.
- Habitat rights have legal protection under various acts, including the Forest Conservation Act and Land Acquisition law.
PVTGs and their Characteristics
- PVTGs are tribal communities with technological backwardness, low literacy, stagnant or declining population growth, and subsistence economies.
- They often reside in remote, isolated areas with low health indices.
- India recognizes 75 PVTGs in 18 states and one Union Territory.
Recognition of Habitat Rights
- Out of 75 PVTGs in India, only three have received habitat rights.
- Bharia PVTG in Madhya Pradesh was the first, followed by Kamar and Baiga tribes in Chhattisgarh.
PVTGs in Chattisgarh
- Chhattisgarh has seven PVTGs residing in 17 out of the state’s 33 districts. These include Kamar, Baiga, Pahadi Korba, Abujhmadiya, Birhor, Pando, and Bhujia.
- The total population of PVTGs in Chhattisgarh is approximately 2.50 lakh.
- The determination of habitat involves consultations with tribal leaders and government officials from Forest, Revenue, Tribal, and Panchayati Raj departments.
- The process follows detailed guidelines provided by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs.
- 22 Para/Tola (hamlets) with a population of around 2,500 from the Kamar tribe in Dhamtari district have received habitat rights.
- Out of the 88,317 Baiga tribes, 6,483 have obtained habitat rights.