India's forests are home to millions of people. Nearly 250 million people live in and around forests in India, of which the estimated indigenous Adivasi or tribal population stands at about 100 million. Forests provide sustenance in the form of minor forest produce, water, grazing grounds and habitat for shifting cultivation.
The Forest Rights Act, 2006 concerns the rights of forest-dwelling communities to land and other resources, denied over decades because of the continuance of colonial forest laws in India. The restitution of deprived forest rights, including both individual rights to cultivated land in forestland and community rights over common property resources is a crucial step towards securing livelihoods of the forest communities and strengthening local self-governance of forests and natural resources.
The state of Jharkhand presents a unique landscape, with 29% of the geographical area being covered by forests. As per 2011 census, tribal communities account for 26% of the total state population, while approximately 49% of the state population are women.
The SDG Philanthropy Platform has been supporting the Welfare Department of the Government of Jharkhand in fast tracking and effective implementation of Forest Rights Act, 2006 with a special focus on Community Forest Rights. This initiative aims to bring about a positive change in the quality of life of tribal people in the community, especially women.