Administrative and Policy Bottlenecks in Effective Management of Van Panchayats in Uttarakhand, India

 

B.S. Negi
Deputy Commissioner
Ministry of Agriculture
Govt. of India
Krishi Bhawan
New Delhi, India

D.S. Chauhan
Department of Forestry
P.O. -59, HNB Garhwal University
Srinagar (Garhwal) – 246 174
Uttarakhand, India

N.P. Todaria
Department of Forestry
P.O. -59, HNB Garhwal University
Srinagar (Garhwal) – 246 174
Uttarakhand, India
nagendratodaria@gmail.com

 

 

 


 

Van Panchayats were formed under the Panchayat Forest Rules, 1931 and have since been incorporated under section 28(2) of the Indian Forest Act, 1927. The stated objectives of Van Panchayats were to protect and develop the forest and to distribute its produce among stakeholders in an equitable manner. The rules, on the one hand, make Van Panchayats responsible for proper management of the forests; on the other hand, they deny Van Panchayats the necessary authority and financial autonomy, which continues to be vested with revenue and forest officials. Over a period of 80 years (1931-2001), a gradual decline in the overall authority of Van Panchayat has taken place. The responsible factors in erosion of Van Panchayat include policy bottlenecks, over-representation and little accountability of the Forest Department, diversity of community institutions, impact of Joint Forest Management on village communities, shift in the locus of decision-making outside the village and increased conflicts. This paper discusses these factors in detail.

 

Van Panchayat, forest policy, joint forest management (JFM).

 

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