Long overdue

• Recognition of unrecorded forest rights of scheduled tribes dwelling in forests for generations, including access, use and disposal of forest produce.

• The bill recognises rights of communities that have occupied land before October 25, 1980 (when the Forest Conservation Act, 1980 was passed).

• The right shall be heritable, but not alienable or transferable (to ensure that the land is not appropriated by others).

• The title shall be registered jointly in the names of husband and wife.

• The right is for "bonafide' livelihood needs but not for "exclusively commercial purposes'.

• The gram sabha (village council) shall settle claims. Appeals can be made to higher bodies against its decisions.

• The communities' duty to protect biodiversity is balanced by their right to manage their traditional forests.

• Unsustainable use of forest or forest