7) The Compensatory Afforestation Fund Act (CAF Act), 2016 has raised serious concerns about the human and environmental costs of compensatory afforestation (CA). In the light of these concerns, discuss the role of local communities and gram sabhas in ecological restoration.

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Topic: Conservation

7) The Compensatory Afforestation Fund Act (CAF Act), 2016 has raised serious concerns about the human and environmental costs of compensatory afforestation (CA). In the light of these concerns, discuss the role of local communities and gram sabhas in ecological restoration. (250 Words)

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Why this question?

This is second time we are asking this question. Today it’s more relevant due to release of latest forest survey and the finding that monoculture forests are rapidly expanding. But this question tries to test how you can link role of gram sabhas in undoing or preventing further loss to forests. 

Key demand of the question:

In your answer you should focus both on negative impacts of compensatory afforestation(CA) and the role of grama sabhas. But write more on role of grama sabhas. 

Directive Word:

Discuss: You have to discuss all dimensions: negatives of CAF Act and CA, How these two have subverted FRA and PESA. Next, discuss central role of grama sabhas within the purview of these Acts (use the third link for more points)

Structure of Answer:

In the introduction talk about central role of communities in preserving forests and in one line comment on the role of government in strengthening these communities and institutions (local governance). 

In the body, divide answer into 2 parts: First part about negatives/concerns about CAF act and CA; Second part role being played by local communities/gram sabhas + how their role can be strengthened (mainly through FRA).

In the conclusion, you may quote forest report and highlight how pressing this issue is and why it warrants attention by the government.