Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Measures Regarding Tribal Development in India

The chief measures regarding tribal development are as follows:

1. Constitutional Provisions and Safeguards:

The Constitution of India provides for the special provisions relating to Scheduled Tribes. Article 342 lays down that the President may by public notification, specify the tribes or tribal communities or part of or groups within tribes or tribal communities or parts which shall for the purpose of this Constitution deemed to be Scheduled Tribes….”.According to this provision, President of India has specified these communities through Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) order, 1950 S.R.0.570
Article 164 provides for a Ministry of Tribal Welfare in each of the State of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa which have large concentration of Scheduled Tribes population. These Ministries are required to look after the welfare of the Scheduled Tribes in their respective States.
Article 244 provides for the inclusion of a Fifth Schedule in the Constitution for incorporating provisions for the administration of Scheduled Areas and Tribes of the States which have sizeable tribal population (other than those of Assam)
Article 275 provides for the grant of special funds by the Union Government to State Government for promoting the welfare of Scheduled Tribes and providing them with a better administration. ,

2. Representation in Legislatures and Panchayats:

The Constitution of India prescribes protection and safeguards for Scheduled Tribes with the object of promoting their educational and economic interests. Under Article 330 and 332 of the Indian Constitution, seats have been reserved for Scheduled Tribes in Lok Sabha and state Vidhan Sabhas.
Following the introduction of Panchayati Raj, Suitable safeguards have been provided for proper representation” of the members of the Scheduled Tribes by reserving seats for them in the Gram Panchayats, Block Panchayats, District Panchayats etc.

3. Reservation in the Service:

Government has made provisions for their adequate representation in the services. To facilitate their adequate representation certain concessions have been provided, such as :
(i) Exemption in age limits,
(ii) Relaxation in the standard of suitability
(iii) Inclusion at least in the lower category for purpose of promotion is otherwise than through qualifying examinations.

4. Administration of Scheduled and Tribal Areas:

‘Scheduled Areas’ have been declared in the States of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan. The scheme of administration of’ Scheduled Areas under the Fifth Schedule visualises a division of responsibility between the State and Union Governments. The State Governments have been given the responsibility of screening the legislations which are unsuitable for extension to the tribal areas. They are also responsible for framing rules for the prevention of exploitation of the tribals by the money-lenders. They implement schemes for the welfare of the tribals living within its boundary.
The Union Government provides guidelines in regard to the administration of Scheduled Areas. It also provides necessary funds that are required to raise the standard of administration and for the improvement in the quality of life of the tribal communities. The Union Government also has the power to give directions to the State Governments about matters relating to the welfare of the Scheduled Tribes.

5. Tribes’ Advisory council:

The Fifth Schedule of the Constitution provides for the setting up a Tribes’ Advisory Council in each of the States having Scheduled Areas. According to this provision, Tribes’ Advisory Councils have been set up so far in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Punjab, Rajasthan and West Bengal. The duty of these Councils is to advise the Government on such matters concerning the welfare of Scheduled Tribes and development of Scheduled Areas. Advisory Boards for the Scheduled Tribes have been set up in Assam, Kerala and Mysore to advise the State Governments. Tribes’ Advisory Committees have also been formed in the Union Territories of Andaman and Nicobar Island, Himachal Pradesh, Manipur and Tripura.

6. Commissioner for the Scheduled Castes and Tribes:

Under Article 338 of Indian Constitution a Commissioner has been appointed by the President of India. The main duty of the Commissioner is (i) to investigate all matters relating to the safeguards for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes under the Constitution and (ii) to report the President on working of these safeguards.

7. Welfare Department in the States:

Under Article 164 (i) of the Constitution there is a provision of Welfare Department in the States of Indian Union. In Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa, Welfare Departments in the charge of a Minister have been set up. Welfare Departments have been set up in these States as well us in Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Kerala; Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh, Manipur and Tripura.

8. Educational Facilities:

Measures to provide educational facilities have been taken by the Government .Emphasis is being laid on vocational and technical training. According to these measures, concessions, stipends, scholarships, books, stationery and other equipments are provided. Residential schools have been set up for them.

9. Scholarships:

The Central Government awards scholarships to deserving students for higher studies in foreign countries. Seventeen and half per cent of the merit scholarships are granted by the Centre, to deserving students of lower income groups.

10. Economic Opportunities:

A large number of tribal people practice shifting cultivation. This problem is in acute form in the States of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Manipur and Tripura. A scheme to control shifting cultivation has been started.
Besides this, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh have launched schemes to improve irrigation facilities to reclaim waste land and to distribute it among members of the Scheduled Castes and Tribes. In addition, facilities for the purchase of livestock, fertilizer, agricultural equipment, better seeds are also provided to them. Cattle breeding and poultry farming are also being encouraged among these people.
The Governments of different States are encouraging the development of cottage industries by providing loans and subsidies through various schemes. Multipurpose co-operative societies which provide credit in cash and kind to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes have been established in various States such as Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Tamil Nadu and Orissa etc.

11. Tribal Research Institute:

Tribal and Harijan Research Institutes, which undertake intensive studies of tribal arts, culture and customs have been set up in Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Rajasthan and West Bengal.
The Indian Constitution has made important provisions for the welfare of Scheduled Tribes. The Central Government and State Governments have made incessant effort in the direction of tribal welfare. Special programmes for their welfare and development have been undertaken in the successive Five Year Plans.
The primary objective of Community Development Programme was to achieve rural development. This was envisaged by making available the required services at the doors of people. But there were remote inaccessible areas and there was almost total absence of additional infrastructural facilities. Therefore, special efforts and greater financial investment were required to extend the services available under the Community Development Programmes to tribal areas. Initially 43 such blocks were selected for the purpose soon it was realised that it would not be possible to sustain such an intensive development approach for a long.
The Tribal Development Blocks were introduced for the developments of tribal areas. These Tribal Development Blocks were expected to have their role in matters of economic developments, education, health and communication. By the end of Third Five Year Plan there were more than 500 such Tribal Development Blocks serving around 40 per cent of the total tribal population, in the country. But no further expansion of the TDBs to other areas of tribal concentration took place after the Third Five Year Plan.
In the Fourth Five Year Plans, a series of programme such as Small Farmers Development Agencies (SFDA), Marginal Farmers and Agricultural Development Agencies were conceived and implemented.
The above mentioned programmes were introduced on an experimental basis in tribal areas. The Tribal Development Agencies were identified on the same pattern as that of the Small Farmers’ Development Agencies. Each Tribal Development Agency covered a group of Tribal Development Blocks.
During Fourth Plan, six Tribal Agencies were started and anthers two were added during the Fifth Plan. These Agencies were expected to incorporate elements of economic development, social services and other progressive measures. In actual practice the TDAs could not do anything other than agricultural development and construction of roads. But the experience gained from the TDAs provided valuable means for evolving better policies and programmes for the development of Scheduled Tribes.
The approach and strategy for tribal development was, revised comprehensively on the eve of Fifth Five Year Plan. It was thought as recommended by the Shilo Ao Committee that Tribal Development Blocks as an instrument of tribal development were unsuitable to tackle complex tribal problems. Besides, the situation in tribal areas in terihs of resources, target groups, local priorities were different from non-tribal areas. Even within the tribal areas, problems faced by all the tribal people are not uniform in nature.
To tackle the complex and diverse tribal problems effectively, a comprehensive programme of development known as Tribal Sub-Plan was prepared under the Fifth Five Year Plan. Accordingly, all areas with more than 50 per: cent tribal population were treated as Sub-Plan areas. A development block was taken as the smallest unit of development under this new strategy. This unit is known as the Integrated Tribal Development Project (ITDP).
The Tribal Sub-plan Approach includes:
(a) Integrated Tribal Development Projects comprising generally administrative units like sub-divisions / Districts / Tehsils with 50 per cent or more Scheduled Tribe population.
(b) Pockets of tribal concentration having a total population of 10,000 or more and a ST population of 50 per cent or more.
(c) Primitive Tribal Group Projects. The Tribal Sub- Plan continued as the main instrument for the development of STs. The Sixth Plan attached primary importance to poverty alleviation among the STs. Effort was made under TSP to raise at least 50 per cent of tribal population above poverty line. The major objectives of the tribal development have remained as follows:
(i) To take up family oriented programmes in order to raise productivity levels of the beneficiary families in the fields of agriculture, horticulture, animal husbandry, small scale industries etc.
(ii) To liberate tribals from the exploitation of land grabbing, money-lending, debt- bondage, forest-labour etc.
(iii) To improve the quality of life through education and training programmes and
(iv) To provide infrastructural Facilities in tribal areas. The Tribal Sub-plan is financed through the resources
Drawn from:
(i) State plans
(ii) Special Central assistance of Ministry of Home Affairs (now Ministry of Welfare).
(iii) Central and Centrally sponsored programmes, and
(iv) Institutional finance.
The ITDAs and the Modified Area Development Approach (MADA) continued further. During the Seventh Five Year .Plan clusters having a total population of 5000 with SO per cent or more ST population were identified. The Seventh Plan period also witnessed the extension of TSP benefits to all the tribals beyond the ambit of ITDPs, MADA cluster groups or Primitive Groups. .During this period ITD pattern was allowed to continue. Better coordination was sought between various agencies and social services were accorded priority. Large Scale Agricultural Societies (LAMPS) in tribal areas were strengthened through widening the base.
The Eighth Plan began with the realisation that the resource base and the socio- cultural heritage of STs is being eroded through a combination development intervention, commercial exploitation and ineffective legal and administrative system. The Eighth Plan envisaged effective tackling of exploitative practices in the tribal areas such as alienation of land, right to collection of forest products, ensuring full rehabilitation of tribals displaced due establishment of projects, special focus of programmes to deal with education and health needs of tribal women.
Right from the inception of the Integrated Rural Development Programme in 1978-79, special emphasis was laid on coverage of ST and SC families. Efforts “have been made for wage employment expansion under various programmes, for example, JRY. The guideline of Jawahar Gram Samridhi Yojana provides special safeguards for SCs and STs. Under JGSY 22.5% of annual allocation is earmarked for SC/ST individual beneficiary scheme.
The Constitution of India provides for a number of safeguards for the ST» mainly to facilitate the implementation of the ‘Directive principles’ contained in Article 46 of the X Constitution. The important safeguards provided in the Constitution include Article 46 {promotion of Educational and Economic interests of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and other weaker sections, 330 (Reservation of seats for SCs and STs in the House of people, 332 (Reservation of seats for SCs and STs in the legislative Assemblies of the states, 335 (claims of the SCs and STs to service and posts etc.
Programmes for which Central assistance is given can be divided into three groups namely education, economic upliftment and health. The services provided to tribals under these programmes are free education, provision for educational equipment, Ashram schools, scholarship etc.
Increasing the welfare of the socially and economically disadvantaged groups, including the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, backward classes, handicapped and disabled, women and children is one of the objectives of Ninth Plan.

Tribal Movements in India

Having adopted a democratic system of governance after independence, the tribal popu­lation also became a part of the democratic order. The new State was committed to bring about welfare of the people in general and tribes in particular.
Accordingly, Constitution of India under Articles 15(4), 46, 244(1), and 339 provided special provisions for the administration and control of tribal areas for the welfare of the people therein. Seats were reserved in legislatures and administrative services for SCs and STs.
The Constitution also guaranteed the protection of their culture and language even after becoming a part of mainstream. However, the emancipation of tribals is not an easy task because the powerful feudal lords with their vested interests have to be removed first. Moreover, the government did not specify a development policy exclusively for tribals but in the gen­eral interest of the country.
The main reason for the failure of programs initiated for the welfare of the tribals is elitist bias and lopsided priorities. The bureaucracy decides what is good for the tribes without consulting them or involving the tribal populace. Further there was no concept of project formulation and appraisal.
The industrialization in mineral-rich areas has done no good to the tribes. Establishment of large-scale industries in some states led to large-scale displacement as well. They were dislodged from their traditional habitations. Consequently, they joined the ranks of landless laborers without any training, or aptitude for any semi-skilled job.
The landlords turned them into bonded laborers. Furthermore, it was realized that the administrative staff entrusted with the job of ensuring the welfare of tribes turned apathetic to the needs of the tribes and never carried out programs on the pretext of inadequate funds. There was also rampant corruption and gross abuse of power.
The personnel are unaware of the needs of the tribes, their social, cultural, traditional, and linguistic values. Instead of improving the conditions, the personnel became the exploit­ers of the tribes. The administrative staff could easily get away because of the illiteracy of the tribal populace.
The lack of scientific and objective information among the power structures, lack of interest among the protectors, lack of enthusiasm among the administrators resulted in the deterioration of the living conditions of the tribals. There was hunger and malnutri­tion pervading in most of the tribal areas.
At this juncture there was an emerging trend of tribal consciousness and mobilization. The tribals realized the need to act collectively and carve out an identity for themselves. These sentiments often lead to the beginning of a sub-nationalist movement or awakening. The people in the North-East particularly in the states of Nagaland, Mizoram, Manipur, and Meghalaya have been demanding autonomy or independence for the past many years.
The main reason for the display of these seces­sionist tendencies is as follows: firstly, the distinctiveness of the region and the people; secondly, internal structural contradictions within the society of North-East; thirdly, conflict of interests between the local and international bourgeoisie; and finally, the location of region on the national frontiers especially Burma, Bangladesh, and China. Another important point that has to be borne in mind is that some movements are vio­lent while others are non-violent. Religious differences also intensify the movements.

Classification of Tribal Movements:

According to Ghanshyam Shah (Social Movements in India, pp. 95, 96), different schol­ars have evolved different typologies of tribal movements.
Mahapatra (1972) applies the typologies widely used for social movements to tribal movements:
i. Reactionary:
The reactionary movement tries to launch a movement to bring back “the good old days”.
ii. Conservative:
The conservative movement tries to maintain the status quo.
iii. Revisionary or Revolutionary:
The revisionary or revolutionary movements are those which are organized for “improvement” or “purification” of the cultural or social order by eliminating “evil” or “low” customs, beliefs, or institutions.
Surajit Sinha (1968) classifies the movements into:
i. Ethnic Rebellion,
ii. Reform Movements,
iii. Political Autonomy Movements within the Indian Union,
iv. Secessionist Movements, and
v. Agrarian Unrest.
K.S. Singh (1983a) makes more or less the same classification except that he uses the terms “Sanskritization” instead of reform movement and “cultural movements” instead of ethnic movements.
S.M. Dubey (1982) divides the tribal movements in northeast India into four categories:
i. Religious and social reform movements,
ii. Movements for separate statehood,
iii. Insurgent movements, and
iv. Cultural rights movements.
In fact, there is a very thin line dividing the second, third, and fourth types. However, these typologies do not include the recent movements around the issues of forest rights and environment and displacement of the tribals due to the “development” programs of the state and the market.
Briefly we might reformulate the typologies as follows:
i. Ethnic movements, which include culture/religion identity,
ii. Agrarian and forest rights movements,
iii. Environmental movements,
iv. Involuntary displacement and rehabilitation movements, and
v. Political movements around the nationality question for a separate state.
Not only is there a great deal of overlapping among all five types, but they are also interconnected and one leads to the other.
Now, let us discuss some of the important tribal movements of India.

Summary of Forest Protection Act

The Indian Forest Act of 1927 consolidated all the previous laws regarding forests that were passed before the 1920s. The Act gave the Government and Forest Department the power to create Reserved Forests, and the right to use Reserved Forests for Government use alone.
It also created Protected Forests, in which the use of resources by local people was controlled. Some forests were to be controlled by the village community, and these were called village Forests. The Act remained in force till the 1980s when it was realized that protecting forests for timber production alone was not acceptable. The other values of protecting the services that forests provide and its valuable assets such as biodiversity began to overshadow the importance of their revenue earnings from timber.
This led to the Forest Conservation Act of 1980 and its amendment 1988. India’s first Forest Policy was enunciated in 1952. Between 1952 and 1988, the extent of deforestation was so great that it became essential to formulate a new policy on forests and their utilization.
The earlier forest policies had focused only on revenue generation. In the 1980’s it became clear that forests must be protected for their other functions such as the maintenance of soil and water regimes centered on ecological concerns. It also provided for the use of goods and services of the forest for its local inhabitants.
The new policy framework made conversion of forests into other uses much less possible. Conservation of the forests as a natural heritage finds a place in the new policy, which includes the preservation of its biological diversity and genetic resources.
It also values meeting the needs of local people for food, fuel wood, fodder and Non-Timber Forest Produces (NTFPs). It gives priority to maintaining environmental stability and ecological balances. It expressly states that the network of Protected Areas should be strengthened and extended.
The Forest Conservation Act of 1980 was enacted to control deforestation; it ensured that forestlands could not be de-reserved without prior approval of the Central Government. This was created as some states had begun to de-reserve the Reserved Forests for non-forest use.
These states had regularized encroachments and resettled ‘project Affected people’ from development projects such as dams in these de-reserved areas. The need for a new legislation became urgent. The Act made it possible to retain a greater control over the frightening level of deforestation in the country and specified penalties for offenders.


Penalties for offences in Reserved Forests:
No person is allowed to make clearing or set fire to a reserved forest. Cattle are not permitted to trespass into the reserved forest, cutting, collecting of timber, bark or leaves, quarrying or collecting any forest products is punishable with imprisonment for a term of six months or with a fine which may extended to Rs. 500 or both.
Penalties for offences in protected Forests:
a. A person who commits any of the following offences like cutting of trees, stripping the bark or leaves of trees, set fire to such forests or permits cattle to damage any tree, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extended to six months or with a fine which any extended to Rs. 500 or both.
b. Any forest officer even without an order from the magistrate or a warrant can arrest any person against whom a reasonable suspicion exists.

Causes of Environmental Degradation in India

Some of the major causes of environmental degradation are as follows: (1) State Responsibility (2) Class Interests (3) Inefficient Exploitation of Resources (4) Fragile Environment (5) The Villagers Themselves (6) The Iron-Triangle.
There has been a definite degradation of rural resource base including land-use, water, fuel and pollution. Compared to the urban life, the losses of rural society are lesser but the degradation in the village com­munity is directly related to their sources of livelihood. The village people traditionally eked out their living from forest wood and minor forest products. With the degradation of forests, the village sources of subsistence have dried up.
Some of the forms of degradation are di­rectly related to the implementation of development programmes. The construction of dams major or minor has rendered the culti­vable soil as a saline soil. These dams cause multiplier effect on the village life. The big farmers are the gainers of canal water irrigation. Irrigation increases the farm growth and ultimately the village society becomes a class society.
The environmental degradation has ruined the village life. Such a deteriorating environmental situation raised some important questions: If the present trend of degradation contin­ues, what is the future of village community? From where will the villagers collect their fuel wood?
How the peasants would get their im­plements repair and how will they be able to build their house? The questions are several, but the basic thing is that those who are guilty of committing the crime of environmental degradation, even if it is the state, who will hang them?

(1) State Responsibility:

The state in India is a class state. It gives priority to the vested interests of the societal elites, leaders and persons belonging to higher classes. Though the state is armed with legislation to protect the natural envi­ronment, at the operational level all legislative measures are thrown asunder.
There is a coalition between the forest officials, political lead­ers and the mafia. The role of state has become suspicious. The state, in its enthusiasm for development, has not considered seriously about the decay of environment. The schemes initiated for the revival of ecosystem have yielded nothing substantial and huge sums of money are wasted. Anil Agarwal and Sunita Narain have argued that it is very easy for the state to create unproductive employment in the name of en­hancing the cause of environment.
The authors write:
The same story goes for afforestation. A British economist once pointed out that it is very easy to create unproductive employment just dig a hole and fill it back with earth and keep doing that perpetually. The latest name of that game is afforestation.
“Dig a hole, put in a sapling, fill it with earth; next year the sapling dies and the entire exercise begins again.” Between 1980 and 1989 the govern­ment claimed to have planted forests over 11.82 million hectares an area almost equal to Assam and Kerala combined.
Can anybody be­lieve such figures? Indian bureaucracy, today, operates such mega-projects with such mega-targets that it does not even care to taste the veracity of its figures. A lot of these hectares have been planted under the very programmes that L.C. Jain was wondering about.
Whether it is the central government or the state government, the development programmes are launched without taking into considera­tion the interests of the poor who reside in the villages. It is observed that the state is the prime accuse so far as the environmental degrada­tion is concerned.

(2) Class Interests:

One very serious reason for the degradation of environment is the class interest. The high class people demand much from forest. There are traders who are engaged in the export of the carcasses of wild ani­mals. This affects the population of lions, elephants and other animals.
Much furniture is required for decorating the drawing rooms and shopping complexes. Demands from natural resources are so fantastic that it results in the decay of natural environment. It must be ob­served that it is the class interest which is largely responsible for the loss of environment. Commenting on the responsibility of elites and rich people in the degradation of environment, Madhav Gadgil ob­serves:
This degradation occurs for two kinds of reasons: first, because we are making increasing demands on the resources of the country; and second, because these demands are being met in a higher undisci­plined fashion.

(3) Inefficient Exploitation of Resources:

Whether the elites, government officials or traders, all exploit the natural resources in a very inefficient way. The forests are axed ruth­lessly. The mining is very unscientific. As a matter of fact, the exploitation of natural base is highly characterised by indiscipline and inefficiency. The approach to nature, from all points of view, is waste­ful. The tragedy is that both the elites and the masses put the blames on each other for the degradation of environment.

(4) Fragile Environment:

When there is exploitation of natural resources, whether forest, flora, fauna or water, we must understand that the environment which we find today is of very fragile nature. Pointing to the fragility of envi­ronmental resources Anil Agarwal and Sunita Narain comment:
Environmental resources are extremely fragile. A tree has to be cared for, especially if it is a multipurpose tree which not only provides wood but also fruit or fodder. A pond is also a fragile resource be­cause its catchment must be brought under a good land use system otherwise it will silt up very fast. This care cannot be provided by government officials. It can only be provided by the village people themselves.

(5) The Villagers Themselves:

Last but not the least; the villagers are also responsible partly for the degradation of environment. It is alleged that a part of forest is cut down by the villagers themselves. Either they sell it in the market or use it for their own consumption. They also become a party to the forest contractors and put their axe to the trees quite ruthlessly.
It is argued that if the classes are held responsible for the degradation of the forests, the masses of the people are equally responsible. They sel­dom stand up in the protection of their natural resources. If the class people are hanged for the crime of environmental decay, the masses should also be hanged for the same crime.

(6) The Iron-Triangle:

If we get a glimpse of our rural India, we would find that there are a few pockets in the country which have witnessed a large quantum of environmental degradation. Among these are included the industrial belt in western Maharashtra, the areas around Coimbatore in Tamilnadu, metropolises like Delhi and Chennai, and tracts of green revolution in Punjab and Haryana. The degradation of environment is traced to some forces. These forces have been explained by what is called as the ‘iron-triangle’. This term is used by the Americans.
The iron-triangle is explained by the following categories of people who benefit from the exploitation of the resource base:
(1) Those who, benefit from the subsidies: the industrialists, the urban populations, rich farmers;
(2) Those who decide on who is to be subsidised at whose cost: the politicians; and
(3) Those who administer the subsidies: the bureaucracy.
Thus, according to the iron-triangle, the benefits of environ­mental degradation are cornered by the industry, urban populations, rich farmers, politicians and bureaucrats.
Madhav Gadgil argues that the subsidies given to the farmers and people of industry generally go in favour of the rich farmers, contrac­tors and others. This kind of explanation given by the American social scientists describes the situation of America. In our country, ag­riculture is given top priority because it is concerned with the food production.
The farmers are provided subsidies or concessions on the consumption of electricity, diesel and fertilisers including the insecti­cides. For all these agricultural inputs there are liberal provisions of credit and subsidies.
All these benefits are availed of by the big farmers and the absentee landlords. In the context of our country, besides sub­sidies, there are a large number of other forces also which are responsible for the environmental decay. The iron-triangle thus ex­plains a part of the situation and not the whole.

Environmental Movements in India

In the year 1471 A.D., there was a severe drought in a village called Pipasar of Rajasthan. The drought lasted for three years. Every bit of grass and plants were chopped to feed the animals. Children starved, cattle were dying and there was not a drop of water. People left their homes to search for water. At that time, there was a man called 'Jambeshwar' who was acutely pained at the tragedy but wisely learnt a lesson. He noticed that, unlike in the past, the land was not able to withstand the destruction from the drought as a large number of trees had been felled. If life was to survive, people must understand the value of environment. He preached that the way in which we lived should be in harmony with nature and not against it. He came to be known as Guru Maharaj Jambaji. Jambaji put down his thoughts into 29 principles which are followed by his disciples who are known as Bishnois (20+9) or twentyniners. According to the religion preached by Jambaji, there was strict ban on:-
- Killing of any animals or bird;
- Felling of a green tree.
The unique religion of conservation was taken up by a large number of people in Rajasthan and the number of Bishnois increased to the entire village communities. This helped to make villages greener and restore the natural ecosystems. Vegetation naturally helped to recharge the ground water.
About 300 years after this religion was founded, the soldiers of king of Jodhpur tried to cut trees in a Bishnoi village of Khejadali so that a new place may be built for the king. The Bishnois tried to reason with them and stop them but in vain. But true of their religion, the Bishnois hugged the trees to protect them. The soldiers attacked them to overcome the protest and 363 Bishnois were killed. When the king heard of this massacre and the unique religion, he was overcome by people's devotion. He ordered his men to withdraw, gave the religion state sanction and ensured that the wishes of Bishnois were respected in future.
Even today, after many generations, Bishnois continue to protect the trees and animals. One can spot a Bishnoi village easily as being more green and abundant in wildlife. The population of Black Buck, which is in the list of endangered species, is found to be in greater number in Bishnoi villages than outside.
In today's environment, when many places are facing acute shortage of water and pollution of air, land and water, we need to take a lesson from Bishnois. Conservation is a religion every human being should adopt.
In the 1970s, an organized resistance to the destruction of forests spread throughout India and came to be known as the Chipko movement. The name of the movement comes from the word 'embrace', as the villagers hugged the trees, and prevented the contractors' from felling them. 
Not many people know that over the last few centuries many communities in India have helped save nature. One such is the Bishnoi community of Rajasthan. The original 'Chipko movement' was started around 260 years back in the early part of the 18thcentury in Rajasthan by this community. A large group of them from 84 villages led by a lady called Amrita Devi laid down their lives in an effort to protect the trees from being felled on the orders of the Maharaja (King) of Jodhpur. After this incident, themaharaja gave a strong royal decree preventing the cutting of trees in all Bishnoi villages. 
In the 20th century, it began in the hills where the forests are the main source of livelihood, since agricultural activities cannot be carried out easily. The Chipko movement of 1973 was one of the most famous among these. The first Chipko action took place spontaneously in April 1973 in the village of Mandal in the upper Alakananda valley and over the next five years spread to many districts of the Himalayas in Uttar Pradesh. It was sparked off by the government's decision to allot a plot of forest area in the Alaknanda valley to a sports goods company. This angered the villagers because their similar demand to use wood for making agricultural tools had been earlier denied. With encouragement from a local NGO (non-governmental organization), DGSS (Dasoli Gram Swarajya Sangh), the women of the area, under the leadership of an activist, Chandi Prasad Bhatt, went into the forest and formed a circle around the trees preventing the men from cutting them down. 
The success achieved by this protest led to similar protests in other parts of the country. From their origins as a spontaneous protest against logging abuses in Uttar Pradesh in the Himalayas, supporters of the Chipko movement, mainly village women, have successfully banned the felling of trees in a number of regions and influenced natural resource policy in India. Dhoom Singh Negi, Bachni Devi and many other village women, were the first to save trees by hugging them. They coined the slogan: 'What do the forests bear? Soil, water and pure air'. The success of the Chipko movement in the hills saved thousands of trees from being felled. 
Some other persons have also been involved in this movement and have given it proper direction. Mr Sunderlal Bahuguna, a Gandhian activist and philosopher, whose appeal to Mrs Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India, resulted in the green-felling ban. Mr Bahuguna coined the Chipko slogan: 'ecology is permanent economy'. Mr Chandi Prasad Bhatt, is another leader of the Chipko movement. He encouraged the development of local industries based on the conservation and sustainable use of forest wealth for local benefit. Mr Ghanasyam Raturi, the Chipko poet, whose songs echo throughout the Himalayas of Uttar Pradesh, wrote a poem describing the method of embracing the trees to save them from felling: 
' Embrace the trees and
Save them from being felled;
The property of our hills,
Save them from being looted.'

The Chipko protests in Uttar Pradesh achieved a major victory in 1980 with a 15-year ban on green felling in the Himalayan forests of that state by the order of Mrs Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India. Since then, the movement has spread to many states in the country. In addition to the 15-year ban in Uttar Pradesh, the movement has stopped felling in the Western Ghats and the Vindhyas and has generated pressure for a natural resource policy that is more sensitive to people's needs and ecological requirements. 
Narmada Bachao Andolan is the most powerful mass movement, started in 1985, against the construction of huge dam on theNarmada river. Narmada is the India's largest west flowing river, which supports a large variety of people with distinguished culture and tradition ranging from the indigenous (tribal) people inhabited in the jungles here to the large number of rural population. The proposed Sardar Sarovar Dam and Narmada Sagar will displace more than 250,000 people. The big fight is over the resettlement or the rehabilitation of these people. The two proposals are already under construction, supported by US$550 million loan by the world bank. There are plans to build over 3000 big and small dams along the river.

It is a multi crore project that will generate a big revenue for the government. The Narmada Valley Development plan is the the most promised and most challenging plan in the history of India. The proponents are of the view that it will produce 1450 MW of electricity and pure drinking water to 40 million people covering thousand of villages and towns. Some of the dams have been already been completed such as Tawa and Bargi Dams. But the opponents says that this hydro project will devastate human lives and bio diversity by destroying thousand of acres of forests and agricultural land. On the other hand it will overall deprive thousands of people of their livelihood. They believe that the water and energy could be provided to the people through alternative technological means, that would be ecologically beneficial.

Led by one of the prominent leader Medha Patkar, it has now been turned into the International protest, gaining support from NGO'S all around the globe. Protestors are agitating the issue through the mass media, hunger strikes, massive marches, rallies and the through the on screen of several documentary films. Although they have been protesting peacefully, but they been harassed, arrested and beaten up by the police several times. The Narmada Bachao Andolan has been pressurizing the world bank to withdraw its loan from the project through media.

The strong protests through out the country not only made impact on the local people but has also influenced the several famous celebrities like film star Aamir Khan , who has made open efforts to support Narmada Bachao Andolan. He said he only want that those who have been rendered homeless should be given a roof. He pleaded to the common people to take part in the moment and come up with the best possible solutions. 
Save Silent Valley was a social movement aimed at the protection of Silent valley, an evergreen tropical forest in the Palakkad district of Kerala, India. It was started in 1973 to save the Silent Valley Reserve Forest in from being flooded by ahydroelectric project. The valley was declared as Silent Valley National Park in 1985.
Kuntipuzha one of the major rivers takes its origin in the flush green forests of Silent valley. In 1928 the location at Sairandhri on the Kunthipuzha River was identified as an ideal site for electricity generation. A study and survey was conducted in 1958 of the area about the possibility of a hydroelectric project of 120 MV and one costing Rs. 17 Crore was later proposed by the Kerala State Electricity Board.
The Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) decided to implement the Silent Valley Hydro-Electric Project (SVHEP) centered on a dam across the Kunthipuzha River in 1973. The resulting reservoir would have flood 8.3 km² of virgin rainforest. The proposal was enquired by National Committee on Environmental Planning and Co-ordination (NCEPC) and suggested 17 safeguards to be implemented in case the project implemented. A shortage of funds delayed activity. Even then from 1974 to 1975 a very large number of trees were felled in the area.KSEB announced its plan to begin dam construction in 1973
After the announcement of imminent dam construction the valley became the focal point of "Save Silent Valley", India's fiercestenvironmental debate of the decade. Because of concern about the endangered lion-tailed macaque, the issue was brought to public attention. Romulus Whitaker, founder of the Madras Snake Park and the Madras Crocodile Bank, was probably the first person to draw public attention to the small and remote area. In 1977 the Kerala Forest Research Institute carried out an Ecological Impact study of the Silent Valley area and proposed that the area be declared a Biosphere Reserve.
In 1978 Smt. Indira Gandhi, the Honorable Prime Minister of India, approved the project, with the condition that the State Government enact Legislation ensuring the necessary safeguards. Also that year the IUCN (Ashkhabad, USSR, 1978) passed aresolution recommending protection of Lion-tailed Macaques in Silent Valley and Kalakkad and the controversy heated up. In 1979 the Government of Kerala passed Legislation regarding the Silent Valley Protection Area (Protection of Ecological balance Act of 1979) and issued a notification declaring the exclusion of the Hydroelectric Project Area from the proposed National Park.
Kerala Sasthra Sahithya Parishath (KSSP) effectively aroused public opinion on the requirement to save Silent Valley. They also published a Techno-economic and Socio-Political assessment report on the Silent Valley Hydroelectric project. The poet
Sugathakumari played an important role in the silent valley protest and her poem "Marathinu Stuthi" (Ode to a Tree) became a symbol for the protest from the intellectual community and was the opening song/prayer of most of the "save the Silent Valley" campaign meetings. Dr. Salim Ali, eminent ornithologist of the Bombay Natural History Society, visited the Valley and appealed for cancellation of the Hydroelectric Project.A petition of writ was filed before the High Court of Kerala, against the clear cutting of forests in the Hydroelectric Project area and the court ordered a stop to the clear cutting.
Dr. M.S. Swaminathan, the renowned Agricultural Scientist, and then Secretary to the Department of Agriculture, called at the Silent Valley region and his suggestion was 389.52 km² including the Silent Valley (89.52 km²), New Amarambalam (80 km²),Attappadi (120 km²) in Kerala and Kunda in Tamilnadu (100 km²) reserve forests, should be made into a National RainforestBiosphere Reserve, with the aim of "preventing erosion of valuable genes from the area". to Dr. M. S. Swaminathan speaking on Sustainable Development, p.83, August 27, 2002
In January 1980 the Hon. High Court of Kerala lifted the ban on clear cutting, but then the Hon. Prime Minister of India requested the Government of Kerala to stop further works in the project area until all aspects were fully discussed. In December, the Government of Kelala declared the Silent Valley area, excluding the Hydroelectric Project area, as a National Park.
In 1982 a multidisciplinary committee with Prof. M. G. K. Menon as chairman, was created to decide if the Hydroelectric Project was feasible without any significant ecological damage. Early in 1983, Prof. Menon's Committee submitted its report. After a careful study of the Menon report, the Hon. Prime Minister of India decided to abandon the Project. On October 31, 1984 Indira Gandhi was assassinated and on November 15 the Silent Valley forests were declared as a National Park, though the boundaries of the Silent Valley Park were limited and no buffer zone was created, despite recommendations by expert committees and scientists.
A New Dam proposal
In 2001 a new Hydro project was proposed and the "Man vs. Monkey debate" was revived. The proposed site of the dam (64.5 m high and 275 m long) is just 3.5 km downstream of the old dam site at Sairandhiri, 500 m outside the National Park boundary. The 84 km² catchment of the project area included 79 km² of the Silent Valley National Park.
The Kerala Minister for Electricity called The Pathrakkadavu dam (PHEP) an "eco-friendly alternative" to the old Silent Valley project. The PHEP was designed as a run-off-the-river project with an installed capacity of 70 MW in the first phase (105 MW eventually) and an energy generation of 214 million units (Mu) with a minimal gross storage of 0.872 million cubic metres. The claim was that the submergence area of the PHEP would be a negligible .041 km² compared to 8.30 km² submergence of the 1970s (SVHEP). However, The spectacular waterfall between the Neelikkal and Pathrakkadavu hills bordering the Silent Valley will disappear if the proposed Pathrakkadavu hydro-electric project is implemented.
During January to May 2003 a rapid Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was carried out during by the Thiruvananthapuram-based Environmental Resources Research Centre and its report was released in December, stating that forest lost due to the project would be just .2216 km², not including the 7.4 km approach road and land to be acquired for the powerhouse in Karapadam.

    The Government of India decided to setup a missile testing range at Baliyapal in Orissa. Baliyapal become a centre of controversy because the area to be taken for the testing range area a very fertile area with thick population. The Government could not implement its decision because of the strong resistance of the people.

"It is a new experience for us that water becomes a market commodity .It is alien to ourhabits. To sell bottled water is unjust and anti- nature."
Veloor Swaminathan states the rationale of the struggle in these simple statements.Thestruggle against the multi-national Coca-Cola factory at Plachimada of Perumatty Panchayat in Chittoor Taluk of Palakkad district, Kerala has shown unique consistency and perseverance for the last two years. It has attracted considerable amount of international media attention and thus being projected as a symbolic model of resistance against multi-national colonization. As a result, similar struggles against Coca-Cola and the exploitation of scarce groundwater resources for its sake, is gaining momentum in Sivaganga in Tamilnadu and in Orissa. All these struggles have to be viewed in a perspective that would unveil the ruthless exploitative face of globalization and its agents, the multi-national giants. Rugmini (46), a resident of Plachimada colony, says that she does not experience any water scarcity before the company started functioning. 

"We live here for the last 20 years. Before two years we need not have to go out to fetch water. But today we walk a distance of two and a half kilometers to collect two pots of water. The Panchayath who is supposed to serve the people dose not take any action to resolve this problem".

They for more than one and a half years are agitating against the human rights violation of the factory. People representing the five most affected colonies adjacent to the factory, who belong to Eravala, Malasar tribal communities and other scheduled cast communities have been holding demonstrations and sit-in strike in front the factory for the last one and a half years .On April 22nd 2002,around2000 men, women and children dwelling around the Hindustan Coca-
Cola Beverages Pvt. Ltd at Plachimada, picketed the factory and gave an ultimatum to the authorities to quit immediately. The Adivasi Gotrasabha leader Ms. C.K.Janu inaugurated the overwhelming function. The police arrested all the people participated in the function. Blockades, Dharna and Picketing were all resorted to during this continuous protest against
the wrongs of the mighty by the poor and the weak.
The police accusing them of raising slogans against the multinational company, blocking the workers from entering the factory and indulging in anti-social activities, registered several cases against these poor people and their leaders. The company filed a case (OP No.11598) in the High Court demanding police protection from these 'anti- social elements'. The accused were Vilayodi Venugopal (Chairman,Adivasi Protection Council),Veloor Swaminathan(Convenor, Action Council) Subrahmanyan, Murukesan, Kochikkadu Mani,and Pazhaniswmi. But the High Court accepted a counter petition in file submitted by the Action Council explaining that they were waging a very just protest and it was their legitimate right to demonstrate in a peaceful and democratic manner. The MNC was clever enough to influence the media not to give coverage to the struggle. Obviously the news papers except a few cannot go against the interests of the MNCs like the HCC. Political parties, irrespective of their ideologies for or against globalization and WTO, have wooed their best to protect the interests of the factory depriving the basic rights and physical existence of those who elected them to power. As the days went by the national media just cannot but to give due coverage as the struggle was gaining momentum and international media attention Cases were registered one after another but it didn't affect the morale or political will of the people whatever be the financial burden it rendered.The giant factory that can literally dictate terms to political rulers, law enforcement agencies, civil servants etc., used its money power and muscle power to silence the people and it has been partly successful so much so that the police department, despite the fact that the petition by the factory for Police protection was dismissed by the high court of Kerala, has mis-informed the people that the factory has been granted police protection by the high court. There is heavy deployment of
police at the gate of the factory threatening the poor people of dire consequences if any attempt is made against the smooth functioning of the factor.