The Centre has promulgated Indian Forest (Amendment) Ordinance, 2017 to encourage bamboo cultivation in non-forest areas. The ordinance exempts bamboo grown in non-forest areas from the definition of a tree, thereby dispensing with the requirement of felling and transit permit for its economic use.
Bamboo, though, taxonomically a grass, was legally defined as a tree under the Indian Forest Act, 1927. Before this amendment, provisions of the Indian Forest Act was a major impediment for bamboo cultivation by farmers in the non-forest land. The Cabinet has approved the promulgation of the Ordinance in this regard.
It will create a viable option for the cultivation of 12.6 million hectares of cultivable wasteland. The measure will go a long way in enhancing the agricultural income of farmers and tribals, especially in North-East and Central India. Bamboo grown in the forest areas shall continue to be governed by the provisions of Indian Forest Act.