Civil Society Response to Draft National Forest Policy 2018

12:17 pm in News by Kavitha

—– Forwarded message —–
From: Kavitha Kuruganti <kavitha_kuruganti@yahoo.com>
Sent: Saturday, 14 April 2018, 14:06:39 GMT+5:30
Subject: “Draft National Forest Policy 2018″

To:                                                                                       
Shri Noyal Thomas, DIGF, Forest Policy,

Shri Jitesh Kumar, Technical Officer, Forest Policy,

Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change,

6th Floor, Vayu Wing, Indira Paryavaran Bhawan,

Jor Bagh, New Delhi 110 003.

Email: digfpolicy-mef@nic.in/jitesh.kumar@nic.in/toforestpolicy@gmail.com


Sub: Our Comments/Suggestions/Views on Draft National Forest Policy 2018 – reg.

Ref: Office Memorandum F.No. 1-1/2012-FP(Vol.4) of Noyal Thomas, Dy Inspector General of Forests (Forest Policy), Forest Policy Division of MoEFCC, Govt of India, dated 14th March 2018

This is the response of a large number of organisations, experts and concerned citizens, to the Draft National Forest Policy 2018, put out by the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change of Government of India, through the above-mentioned Office Memorandum.

  1. Perspectives and considerations driving the revision of India’s Forest Policy:

Forests safeguard ecological security of the nation, as the draft policy rightly begins by stating. However, this ecological security and the ability of a forest to provide numerous eco-system services is closely linked to livelihood security of millions of citizens, in addition to being linked to what constitutes a “forest”.

The current attempt at revising and re-creating a new policy through this draft National Forest Policy 2018 is an attempt that come 30 years after the 1988 policy was adopted. It is surprising that there has been no official and comprehensive review of the implementation of the 1988 policy, with regard to progress made and obstacles faced, though a conclusion around increased forest and tree cover, and reduction in diversion of forest land is being made.

The ostensible reason for revision of the 1988 policy is to integrate the vision of sustainable forest management by incorporating elements of ecosystem security, climate change mitigation and adaptation, forest hydrology, participatory forest management, urban forestry, robust monitoring and evaluation framework and establishment of mechanisms to oversee multi-stakeholder converge in forest management, while building on our rich cultural heritage of co-existence and relying on our rich and diverse forest resources.

In this very statement on rationale for policy revision, while the MoEFCC brings in some new-age developments, it also becomes ‘backward looking’ and fails to recognize epochal political advances that have taken place in the country and smacks of a return to the colonial and commercial perspective on a ‘Forest’.

Where are the Adivasis and traditional forest dwellers?: Strikingly important in this draft policy is the absence of the perspective and recognition that is manifest in the Forest Rights Act 2006, which seeks to address the historical injustice inflicted on the adivasis and other forest dwellers through the colonization of the forest. The Act attempts to restore the forests back to its custodians, caretakers and dependents, the adivasis and other forest dwellers, and put in place democratic mechanisms to govern the forest as an integral part of their being and becoming.

The major epochal advance since the last forest policy is the shift in a perspective of the forests as a source of timber and revenue for the state, to be managed by the forest department, to being recognized as a source of health and wellbeing for the citizens of the nation. In line with the epochal advance was the admission that it is the citizen, who must and will shoulder the responsibility to conserve the forests for generations to come, while the state can at best assist and support the process through sharing knowledge and experience and at best address the alienation of the adivasis and other traditional forest dwellers from the forest. The Forest Rights Act calls for a major shift both in theory and practice from ‘ownership of the forest’ to ‘stewardship of an invaluable national natural resource’.

 

It is imperative that the discourse around the role of the Forest Department with reference to the forest be restored to the new perspective and recognition that underpinned the Forest Rights Act. The role of the Forest Department can at best be the ‘Custodian of a Citizen’s Ecological Wellbeing’ and not a Manager of a Natural Resource.

 

It is a matter of concern to note that “participatory” forest management is being referred to in this draft policy, after decades of Joint Forest Management and Community Forest Management experiences ending up in a legitimate struggle and a secure legal framework around Forest Rights that seeks to address historical injustices.

 

For whose benefit is the market-oriented forest paradigm of this draft policy and will this paradigm meet the ostensible objectives?: The draft policy places a lot of emphasis on increasing productivity (even in natural forests in addition to plantations), and that too in a monetized framework. A strong thrust has been put on forward linkages with industry, especially in terms of plantations (including agro-forestry and farm forestry), and on Public Private Partnerships. Forest communities are deeply worried with the provisions in this draft policy on “public private partnerships (PPP)”. They fear that the move would lead to leasing out of forest lands, traditionally used by them, to private companies for monocultures that are meant to feed industrial requirements. It is clear that this will destroy forest biodiversity and impact the local communities’ way of life by replacing sustenance with profit generation, and replacing shared sustainable life ways with privatized gains. The market-oriented paradigm that this draft policy seeks to further establish and promote is apparent from terminology around economic valuation of forests, forest certification, branding, tradable biodiversity, value chain approach to NTFP etc. – this then does not attempt to resolve the apparent and inherent contradictions between this approach, and the need to enhance environmental stability, conserve biodiversity, provide ecological security, provide sustenance to local communities etc. etc.

 

Strengthening ‘protection and conservation of forests and wildlife’ devoid of people?: The draft policy lays thrust on strict protection measures in natural forests, and conservation to be strengthened and extended, forgetting the emergence of evidence-based discourse on how this cannot be devoid of people from the local communities. Articulation around “full protection”, “taking strict protection measures”, “adequate extension” of protected areas have been made without much reference or central role to local communities and this is a step in the backward direction in terms of policy discourse.

 

Can we have a Forest Policy without clearly defining what a Forest constitutes?: The draft policy refers to “forest and tree cover”, and refers to “Forests” of various kinds, including natural forests, farm forestry, agro-forestry, urban forestry, industrial plantations etc. The overall thrust appears to be on any tree cover being referred to as ‘Forests’. The government definition of the forest is grossly misleading as the government counts as ‘forest cover’ an area more than one hectare in size that has more than 10% green canopy through satellite imagery – not just of traditional natural forests but also of plantations like eucalyptus. Commercial mono-cultural plantations are in fact endangering farms and forests of the adivasis, impacting their way of life by replacing sustenance with profit generation and replacing shared sustainable life ways with privatized gains’.

 

Unless this major definitional issue is addressed, this forest policy may not achieve its overall goal and objective of safeguarding the ecological and livelihood security of people, of the present and future generations.

 

Can our Forest Policy be de-coupled from our Agriculture, Land Use, Water, Tribal Affairs, Women and Rural Development policies?: For most forest-dependent communities, agriculture and forests are a continuum in terms of livelihood resources, and for a socio-cultural basis that shapes their living ethos. It is apparent that agriculture in and around forests, if it deploys unsustainable and technologies, that will also affect the ecological balance of the forest eco-system – therefore, the forest policy alone cannot achieve its objectives without working along with other agencies and their policy perspectives. This draft policy is silent on this subject, however. In fact, while it refers to Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation, it is also silent in terms of any effective strategies other than reference to REDD+ mechanism.

 

Even within forest management approaches, it is seen that failed ideas like compensatory afforestation, joint forest management etc. are brought in into this draft policy, albeit sometimes with newer nomenclature like participatory forest management.

 

  1. Section Wise Comments

 

S1.3 mentions the need of incorporating the goals and objectives emerging out of international summits and conventions as well as national level seminars and workshops in the National Forest Policy. While that may be so, the draft policy is devoid of any mention on the need for wider and open consultations with indigenous forest dependent communities in evolving a policy. There are thousands of indigenous communities dependent on the forest for their livelihood in the form of food, fodder, shelter, firewood, medicines and income by collecting MFPs. These communities draw their socio-cultural identity and ethos from their local forests. Bio-diverse natural forests are also very important for the general population for the kind of valuable ecosystem services they provide. In such scenario, a much wider and open consultation should be held for shaping up a National Forest policy, involving various stake holders, such as representatives from adivasi communities, representatives of Gram Sabhas, civil society organizations working in the relevant field, individual experts and so on. The current process is inadequate.

 

S1.4 mentions “low quality and low productivity of our natural forests” as one of the serious concerns considered for revising National Forest Policy, 1988. The use of this term without putting it in a right context will only create mutually conflicting pathways and will provide leeway for further commercialization of natural forests. A natural biodiverse forest contributes to biodiversity conservation and carbon sequestration and meets food, nutrition, livelihood and socio-cultural needs of forest communities. A forest with monoculture plantation, on the other hand, actually disconnects communities from their forests but may be beneficial for some industry when thrust is laid on ‘productivity’. So, it is quite crucial for the forest policy to recognise that it cannot simultaneously meet the needs of the forest communities and that of the industry.

On another front, Section 1.4 of the draft National Forest Policy, 2018 says “As a result of the implementation of the 1988 policy prescriptions, there has been an increase in forest and tree cover and reduction in the diversion of forest land for other land uses despite compelling demands from the increasing population, industrialization and rapid economic growth”. However, the State of the Forest Report 2017 fails to provide separate data for plantations and forests making it difficult to understand the actual extent of deforestation of natural forests, as well as the hidden diversion of forestland to industries. According to an analysis by the Delhi-based environment group, Environment Impact Assessment Resource and Response Centre, the Indian government has, on an average, diverted 122 sq km of forests for development projects every year between 2014 and 2017. This is equivalent to forest land the size of 63 football grounds being cleared every day for three years (around 135 hectares of natural forest land is lost to development schemes on an average per day), while the reported increase in forest and tree cover does not necessarily include natural forests, but man made industrial /commercial monoculture plantations. In fact, the current diversion of forest lands to various “development” schemes, including the 10000 approvals given by the government in 2017 alone, is a violation of the existing policy.

S2.14 mentions “incentivizing sustainability in community-managed, community-owned private forests and creating a sustained peoples’ movement for achieving the objectives (of the policy)”. This is true, and this can happen only if forest communities are made trustees of our forests – not just private forests- in caring & sharing of a critical survival habitat for achieving these objectives. The leadership for this resting with women cannot be over-stressed and there are many ground level experiences and academic studies showcasing this.

 

S.2.7 talks about ‘safeguarding forest land’ by exercising strict restraint on diversion for non-forestry purposes – this should not be a thrust on safeguarding forest land, but on forests, and that too of diverse species.

 

S3.1 is about “full protection” and “productivity improvements” in natural forests. The thrust on productivity improvement indicates a certain extractive connotation and a market orientation which therefore appears anti-thetical to protection of natural forests. Further, policy statements on protection of natural forests without any allusion to local communities are a cause of concern. Such forests should be leveraged mainly for eco-system services, and not for productivity enhancements.

 

S3.2 mentions increase in productivity of forest plantations – this is a cause for worry, since a productivity-oriented paradigm, that too centred around plantations, would usually leave out holistic approaches to sustainable management and governance.

 

S3.4 talks about conservation spaces (parks, sanctuaries, reserves, corridors, heritage sites etc.) being strengthened and extended adequately and does so without any mention about the local communities. This is a cause for concern, since it does not seem to have incorporated practice-based developments and approaches to such conservation.

 

S3.5 proposes afforestation of suitable species to cater to the need of rural population for fuel-wood and small timber. However rural and tribal communities are dependent on the forest in much varied ways for needs ranging from food, nutrition, fodder, shelter, firewood to medicines and income by collecting MFP. Afforestation of locally appropriate species should therefore be carried out considering a wider array of needs of the rural and tribal population through a participatory manner, including looking at their socio-cultural practices and belief systems. Further, alternative sources of energy like biogas, solar energy and other alternate energy sources should be promoted and subsidized.

 

S3.6 The experience of Gram Sabhas of Maharashtra and Odisha such as Pachgaon, Mendha Lekha, Jamguda amongst others has shown that the community owned management, harvesting and trading of Non-Timber Forest Produce (NTFP) has resulted into much higher revenue and a better management of forests due to direct ownership and participation of the community. So, the policy should therefore lay emphasis on promoting community owned and managed forest patches through a better implementation of FRA and facilitating Gram Sabhas in trading of NTFP through support for infrastructure, transport, insurance and working capital for improving the income of the tribal and other forest-dependent communities. Here, it is important that communities that will be part of such ownership and management should be those covered under the FRA and not everyone living close to forest areas.

 

S4.1.1 – the allusions to productivity increases in natural forests as well as forest plantations, ‘strict protection measures’ should not in any way alienate local communities nor take away from their priorities for their forests in the quest for productivity increases. Further, section 4.4 of the 1988 policy must be added as the first paragraph here.

 

S4.1.1 (a) and (h) refers to community ‘participation’ in forest management or ‘participatory forest management’, which appear to be giving a marginalized and peripheral role to communities rather than a central role of ownership and management. The listing of threats should also include large projects like dams, mining, linear intrusions like roads and power transmission lines. Eco-tourism by forest dwellers in a forest shall be conducted only after studying the carrying capacity of the area and have penalties imposed on any violations. No commercial resorts shall be allowed in close proximity to forest land.

 

S4.1.1 (d) There is no reason to believe that the participation of private parties will necessarily result in better regeneration of the forests or enhanced ecosystem and livelihood services to the local communities; on the contrary, the urge to earn more profits and conflicting interests may only result in corrupt and fraudulent practices with little accountability to the local population and further degradation and diversion of the forest lands. There is also no reason to believe that the private parties are better at sustainable management of the forests. There have been ample studies which have shown that the community managed forests are much better in health and bio-diversity as documented by Ramachandra Guha and Madhav Gadgil in their book “This Fissured Land”. Participation of private parties should therefore NOT be sought for undertaking forest plantations, afforestation and reforestation activities in degraded forest areas available with Forest Department Corporations and outside forests, that too for production of quality timber. Such forest area should, on the other hand, be converted into community owned and managed forest patches and partnership and participation of local communities should be sought to regenerate them.

 

There should not be any Public Private Participation models established inside forest areas either, even in cases where the forest land is degraded. There is a potential threat of using forest land for private commercial interests.

 

S4.1.1 (h), 4.8 and 4.11: 4.1.1 (h) talks about formation of a National Community Forest Management (CFM) Mission with a legal basis and operational framework provided to the same, to strengthen participatory forest management, and this proposal ignores the FRA completely. 4.8 talks about new legal frameworks put into place and existing ones amended for effective implementation of the proposed policy. National and State Boards of Forestry are proposed herein. Once again, no reference is made to FRA 2006. Then comes 4.11 which is about “harmonization with other policies and laws”, which explicitly threatens the edifice of the existing Forest Rights Act and says that community forest resources management under the FRA will be addressed as “participatory forest management” and the same will be addressed through the proposed community forest management mission. This is one of the most objectionable proposals in the draft policy and it is unclear on what basis this is being proposed by the MoEFCC while it is apparent from discourse and practice that the Forest Rights Act and its provisions (in letter and spirit) should be the governance framework of any National Forest Policy.

 

S4.1.1 (i): The experience of Gram Sabhas of Maharashtra and Odisha such as Pachgaon, Mendha Lekha, Jamguda amongst others has shown that the community owned management, harvesting and trading of Non-Timber Forest Produce (NTFP) has resulted into much higher revenue and a better management of forests due to direct involvement and participation of the community. Section 4.1.1(i) should therefore make it compulsory to bring management of NTFP under the purview of community forest resources management under Forest Rights Act, in order to ensure increased employment and income opportunities for the local communities and better management of Non Timber Forest Produce. Suitable budgetary provisions should be made to build the capacity of Gram Sabhas to follow a Value Chain approach that is climate resilient and embedded in ecological sustainability.

 

 S4.1.2 (a)(v): It should be mandatory to promote locally appropriate species for agro forestry and to eradicate exotic species like silver oak and eucalyptus. For hilly areas, native species of perennial trees should be promoted for soil health management and effective water retention.

 

There should not be any proposal to “relax the existing felling and transit regime in the country”. This could trigger transportation and transit of illegal timber from forests and will have devastating consequences on natural forests, even though this is being brought in ostensibly for agro-forestry and farm forestry related wood.

 

S4.2.1 refers to Production Forestry, under “new thrust areas in forest and tree cover management”, in which it is stated that states would be encouraged to further develop their plantation programmes with “genetically improved planting materials”. This seems to be a term being deployed for genetically modified (GM) planting materials, and given the scientific evidence that already exists on the harmful impacts of transgenics (including emerging evidence on newer gene editing technologies), this is not acceptable.

 

S.4.2.1 on “Production Forestry”: Poplar and eucalyptus which are being promoted in the draft national forest policy are also known to have negative allelopathic properties i.e. they don’t encourage vegetative growth under their cover. They are also known to deplete groundwater too. From an academic study which monitored streams (and tributaries) in central Western Ghats it was found that streams carry adequate water during all 12 months when stream catchment is endowed with forest cover of native species whereas monoculture plantations of eucalyptus etc can cause stream water in catchment to reduce by 8 months. In 2016, Karnataka government had said that eucalyptus trees had depleted groundwater in Arkavathi basin which led to fall in water supply to Bengaluru. Hence non-indigenous plantation species must not be promoted in a time when our groundwater levels are already approaching dangerous levels.

 

S4.3 on “strengthening wildlife management” is largely silent on local communities’ role and involvement, and refers to eco-tourism models. The policy proposals on this front need to be strengthened, keeping in mind the constructive roles for local communities. Expansion of PAs should not result in evictions and displacements. While the policy touches on rising human animal conflicts, it does not address loss of original habitat for the wildlife species as amongst the most fundamental reasons for increase in such conflicts. Data released by the Environment Ministry itself shows more than 1 individual dying daily between April 2014-May 2017 due to such clashes. Maintenance and upgrade of the native species in forests is critical to avoid such conflicts. The wildlife corridors are also often blocked by highways, factories and railway tracks resulting in animals wandering out of jungles in search of vegetation eventually resulting in such deaths.

 

S4.5 articulates proposals around Research and Education, and remains largely silent on indigenous knowledge and practices. Further, effective conservation and management of existing forest resources (mainly natural forest eco-systems), research related to ecological forestry and development of substitutes to replace wood and wood products should be the priority under such “Research and Education”. A top-down approach is seen in 4.9 too, related to training and skill development.

 

S4.10.3: Compensatory Afforestation Fund is being discussed here only in a benign manner, in the context of afforestation and rehabilitation works in degraded forests, whereas this fund could be a source for unsustainable monocultures. Compensatory Afforestation funds must be leveraged only for the benefit of enriching and protecting biodiversity in the same territorial division where the diversion of forest land has taken place and in no case be utilised for monoculture plantation crops that too of exotic species.

 

S4.10.4 which refers to ‘linking greening with infrastructure and other development activities’ is unclear in its thrust. Several of the sectors like highways, railways, coal, mines, power etc., have in fact been responsible factors for affecting forests and it is not clear what is being proposed here.

 

  1. In conclusion:

 

The Ministry has to explain why a draft policy written in collaboration with civil society was retracted, why no reference to such a draft is being made anywhere and why it had to be revised.

 

The reference to Forest Policy 1988 is a tokenism since there is no reason why the core perspectives, principles and strategies of the current policy are being watered down, with the proposed policy moving in a different direction, which is mainly about industry and forest department take-over, without any recognition that people’s protection efforts contributed to forest cover improving.

 

Natural forests serve as a gene pool resource and help to maintain ecological balance. Such forests should not, therefore, be made available to industries for undertaking plantation and for any other activities. The total forest cover in 2017, even in a contested definition of “forest cover” is just 21.54% as against a target of 33% which makes it an absolute imperative that no diversion can take place. However, the draft National Forest Policy 2018, despite some stated objectives, appears not to be for conservation and regeneration of forests but for capture of forests by private, corporate entities through PPPs, production forestry, increasing productivity of plantations, production of quality timber (and not fuelwood or fodder for communities), facilitating forest-industry interface and so on. This intent has been noticed clearly by both conservationists and human rights activists which in itself is an indictment.

 

In addition to the above detailed comments, any forest policy should also pay attention to the following, which are missing in the draft policy.

 

Forests as Food Producing Habitats: For forest communities forests are a source of their food, nutrition, livelihood, collective memory and a vital link between their past and present. The wide variety of foods from forests like edible leaves, fruits, flowers, seeds, stems, roots, tubers, some insects and mushrooms play a vital role in the food cultures of forest-dependent communities, as famine foods, staple, snack foods for children, offerings to deities and delicacies. These foods are available round the year, equitably accessible to all and encompass the forest people’s life as a safety net, a source of vital nutrients, rare delicacies, cultural relatedness, and social rootedness. The prevalent market price of foods fails to fully capture its value as it saves lives during periods of food scarcity, prevents endemic malnutrition and provides important therapeutic solutions. According to a study titled ‘Food and Nutrition from Forest: Relationships with Forest Ecological Status and Management System’, the diversity and quantity of the availability of edible flora and fauna tends to be directly related to tree diversity and the ecological status of the forest. More food value is derived from natural forests accessed by forest communities than protected JFM forests with exotic plantations. The draft National Forest Policy 2018 needs to recognize and lay adequate emphasis on the immense contribution of forests as food and nutrition producing habitats. Such a policy thrust will contribute to improve forest biodiversity, forest protection and also the indigenous forest-based economy and food cultures.

 

Critical omissions from the 1988 Forest Policy: The clear thrust given in the 1988 policy to prevent diversion of forest lands for non-forest purposes (S4.4 of the 1988 policy) is missing in the draft policy of 2018. Similarly, Section 4.6 of the existing policy talks about “Tribal People and Forests” and acknowledges their symbiotic relationship. The primacy of the local population’s requirements and village/cottage level enterprises is showcased in Section 4.9 of the 1988 Forest Policy. Natural forests were clearly not made available to industries for undertaking plantation or any other activities in the existing policy. A recognition of women’s contribution is clearly spelt out in the 1988 policy. Years later, a new legal regime also got set up around forest rights, through the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, which is usually referred to as the Forest Rights Act or FRA. It is important that rights of indigenous communities and traditional forest dwellers as contained in FRA 2006 should be upheld to ensure that migrant encroachers in addition to corporate entities do not usurp these rights.

 

Non-toxic, regenerative agriculture: Agriculture in and around forests should be sustainable, devoid of any chemicals or transgenics, and based on regenerative agro-ecological principles. This has to be an integral part of any forest policy in the country, to sustain the forest as well as the farming eco-systems and the communities.

 

We end this by pointing out that India, through the existing Forest Policy of 1988 and FRA 2006, has the required correct perspectives towards forest management by providing ownership and management to adivasis and other traditional forest dwellers, and in that sense, prioritized its forest policy thrust in a win-win approach for forests/wildlife and adivasis/traditional forest dwellers. State-managed forestry and revenue maximization by industry have already been relegated to a backseat and rightly so. In such a context, it is unclear why we need a new revised policy at all and why the forest department cannot work through the local institutions that FRA operates through. We can only speculate that this new policy draft is an exercise to provide a basis for CAF 2016, with the funding for implementation of the proposed policy coming from Compensatory Afforestation funds.

 

We would like to say that the challenge being faced by the Government, as articulated in this draft Forest Policy, cannot be defined as finding a way out of an ecological disaster but rather as motivating the citizens of the nation and collaborating with them/supporting them to take charge of their responsibility to future generations, leaving a greener, cleaner, cooler and purer environment than what we have inherited. This latter approach is certainly possible and should be the main thrust.

Sincerely,

 

Kavitha Kuruganti

#302, Santhome Apartments,

33/1, 1st A Cross,

Indiranagar I Stage,

Bangalore 560038.

Phone : +91-8880067772

Email: kavitha_kuruganti@yahoo.com

 

 

Co-Sd/-

 

 

1.     Aanchal Kapur, Kriti Team, New Delhi

2.     Aarogya Rakshane, Karnataka

3.     Abha Bhaiya, Jagori Rural Charitable Trust, Himachal Pradesh

4.     Aditi, One Billion Rising

5.     Akash Tamang, Azim Premji University, Bangalore

6.     Akshay Jasrotia and Prakash Bhandari, Himachal Van Aadhikar Manch, Himachal Pradesh

7.     Alex Ekka, XISS, Ranchi, Jharkhand

8.     Alok Ranjan, Azim Premji University, Bangalore.

9.     Anant Gangola, Azim Premji Foundation, Bangalore

10.  Ananthoo, Safe Food Alliance, Tamil Nadu, India

11.  Aniket Raviji Raut, Azim premji University, Bangalore

12.  Ankit, Azim Premji University, Bangalore

13.  Anurag Meena, independent citizen

14.  Arun Ambatipudi, Chetna Organic, Maharashtra/Telangana/Odisha

15.  Aruna Rodrigues, Sunray Harvesters, Mhow, Madhya Pradesh

16.  Ashalatha, Mahila Rythula Hakkula Vedika, Telangana

17.  Astha Kumari, Azim Premji University, Bangalore

18.  Balaji Shankar, Tharchaarbu Iyakkam, Sirkali, Tamilnadu

19.  Barnali, Azim Premji University, Bangalore

20.  Bhanuja, Mahila Rythula Hakkula Vedika, Andhra Pradesh

21.  Bharat Mansata, Vanvadi Agro-ecological Regeneration Association (VARA), Maharashtra

22.  Bijaya Dewashi, Tata Institute of Social Science, Guwahati.

23.  Biplab Saha,  West Bengal University of animal and fishery sciences, Kolkata

24.  Chennaiah Poguri, Andhra Pradesh Vyavasaya Vruttidarula Union, Andhra Pradesh

25.  Chitra Ravi, Azim Premji University, Bangalore

26.  Debasis Barat, Secretary, Dhansimla Socio-Economic Research & Dev. Organisation, Bankura  (West-Bengal)

27.  Debasmita Dash, Azim Premji University, Bangalore

28.  Debjeet Sarangi, Living Farms, Odisha

29.  Debjeet Sarangi, Living Farms, Odisha

30.  Devi Lakshmikutty, “Anantha” Trust, Tamil Nadu

31.  Dhwani Lalai, Azim Premji University, Bangalore

32.  Dr Debal Deb, Basudha, Odisha

33.  Dr G. Sivaraman, Sidda doctor and writer, Tamil Nadu

34.  Dr Ponnammal Natarajan, Retd Dean, Anna University

35.  Dr V Rukmini Rao, Gramya Resource Centre for Women, Telangana

36.  Dr V T Sundaramurthy, Formerly Project Coordinator, All India Coordinated Cotton Improvement Project (ICAR), Coimbatore

37.  Esther Ekoh, Azim Premji university, Bangalore

38.  Foundation for Educational Rendezvous with Nature, Thane, Maharashtra

39.  Gopi Deva, Organic Farmers Market, Chennai

40.  Haina Hazwary, Azim Premji University, Bangalore

41.  Harendra Kumar Pandey, Azim Premji University, Bangalore

42.  Hemant Das, Jharkhand Mazdoor Kisan Union, Jharkhand

43.  Hiral Dave, Cohesion, Gujarat

44.  Jafar Ali Zaidi, Azim Premji University, Bangalore

45.  Jidnyasa Trust, Thane, Maharashtra

46.  Jyothi Raj, Bhoo Shakti Kendra, Karnataka

47.  K C Sahu, Indo-Global Social Service Society

48.  K Jagadeesan, Advisor, Federation of Tamil Nadu Rice Mill Owners’ Association

49.  Kalyani Sarada, Azim Premji University, Bangalore

50.  Kapil Shah, Jatan Trust, Vadodara

51.  Kavita Kowshik, Maitreya Agro, Pune

52.  Kavitha Kuruganti, Alliance for Sustainable & Holistic Agriculture (ASHA), Bangalore

53.  Kavitha Kuruganti, Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture, Bengaluru, Karnataka

54.  Kedareswar Chaudhury, Darabar Sahitya Sansad, Odisha

55.  Ketaki Mukherjee, Visva-Bharati, West Bengal

56.  Khadijah Faruqui, The Alternate Space (TAS), Jharkhand

57.  Khanjan Vijay Ravani, Azim Premji University, Bangalore

58.  Kiran Vissa, Rythu Swarajya Vedika, AP and Telangana

59.  Kosuri Prasad, independent citizen

60.  Krishna Prasad, Sahaja Samrudha, Karnataka

61.  Kuheli Mukherjee, Visva-Bharati, West Bengal

62.  Mahasweta Ghosh, Nshm college of management and technology,  Durgapur West Bengal

63.  Malika Virdi, Himal Prakriti, Uttarakhand

64.  Manshi Asher, Himdhara, Himachal Pradesh

65.  Manshi Asher, Himdhara, Himachal Pradesh

66.  Monisha Behal, North East Network

67.  Muse, Thane, Maharashtra

68.  Nayantara Lakshman, Azim Premji University, Bangalore

69.  Neha Mohanty, Azim Premji University, Bangalore

70.  Nesara Farmers Market, Mysuru, Karnataka

71.  Nilanjan Panda, Azim Premji University, Bangalore

72.  Nilesh Desai, Beej Swaraj Abhiyan, Madhya Pradesh

73.  Nitin Gurajan, Boston, USA

74.  Nityanand Jayaraman, The Other Media, Chennai

75.  P. Srinivas, SOIL, Karnataka

76.  Pamayan, President, Thalanmai Farmers Movement, Tamil Nadu

77.  Paramita Sen, The University  of Burdwan, Burdwan West Bengal

78.  Parthasarathy, Farmer & Co., Chennai

79.  Peter Pradeep, HELP Foundation, Kerala

80.  Poulami Mandal, Student, Government College Of Engineering & Textile Technology, Berhampore

81.  Prabhat Sinha, Rajasthan Mazdoor Kisan Union, Rajasthan

82.  Prahalad Rangan, Xchangeworx Inc, Albany, New York

83.  Prakash Kumar, Azim Premji University, Bangalore

84.  Prasad Chacko, Ahmedabad, Gujarat

85.  Prasant Mohanty, NIRMAN, Odisha

86.  Prem Verma, Jharkhand Nagrik Prayas/Jharkhand Alternative Development Forum

87.  Pritish Baron Das, Student, Government College Of Engineering & Textile Technology, Berhampore

88.  Pritom Das, Azim Premji University, Bangalore

89.  PUCL-Bangalore

90.  R.S. Negi and Jiya Lal Negi, Him Lok Jagriti Manch, Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh

91.  Radhika Kaulgud, Azim Premji University, Bangalore

92.  Radhika Rammohan, reStore, Chennai

93.  Ramasubramaniam, Samanvaya, Tamil Nadu

94.  Ranjeet Kindo, Tribal Research and Training Centre, Jharkhand

95.  Ravindra Nath Mandal, Azim Premji University, Bangalore

96.  Rita Manchanda, SAFHR

97.  Rohit Bisht, Azim Premji University, Bangalore

98.  Rohit Joshi, Yeoor Environmental Society, Thane, Maharashtra

99.  Rohit Parakh, India for Safe Food, Mumbai

100.        S. Adoni Hajowary, Province Degree College. Bangalore

101.        Sabari Venu, Srishti Institute, Bangalore

102.        Sagar Bhujade, Azim Premji University, Bangalore

103.        Saloni Mundra, Azim Premji University, Bangalore

104.        Samit Kumar Carr, Occupational Safety and Health Association of Jharkhand

105.        Sandeep Anirudhan, Aikyam Community, Bengaluru

106.        Sangeetha Sriram, reStore Gardens, Chennai

107.        Sanghamitra Dubey, Vasundhara, Odisha

108.        Sanjhanaa Shankar, Azim Premji University, Bangalore.

109.        Sanjit Pati, Secretary, Lokhera Jana Kalyan Samity, Purulia (West-Bengal)

110.        Santimay Satpati, Teacher, Vision Vale School, Nagaland.

111.        Satabdi Saikia, Azim Premji University,

112.        Satndar Bhagat, Emeritus Professor, University of Maryland, USA

113.        Sayan Rana, IGNOU, West Bengal

114.        Seetha Ananthasivan, Bhoomi Network, Bengaluru

115.        Selvam Ramaswamy, Tamil Nadu Organic Farmers’ Federation

116.        Sheelu Francis, Women’c Collective, Tamil Nadu

117.        Shubhada Deshmukh, Amhi Amchya Arogyasathi, Gadchirowli, Maharashtra

118.        Shweta Joshi, Azim Premji University, Bangalore

119.        Simar Kohli Das, LifeTide Collective

120.        Somnath Singha Roy, Mandra Lions Club, West Bengal

121.        Soumen Saha, Student, Department of Social Work, Visva-Bharati University, West Bengal

122.        Soumik Banerjee, SWALA, Jharkhand

123.        Srinivas Mirle, Independent citizen

124.        Sritama Rana, Azim premji University, Bangalore.

125.        Sruti Bhattacharya, Azim Premji University, Bangalore

126.        Stan Swamy, Loktantra Bachao Manch, Jharkhand

127.        Subhasis Mondal, Azim Premji University, Bangalore

128.        Suchandra Sarkar, Bikash Society, Bankura.

129.        Sucheta Nanda, Azim Premji University, Bengaluru.

130.        Suchitra.k, Azim Premji University, Bangalore.

131.        Suman Garai, Student, IGNOU, WB.

132.        Supervasi, Thane, Maharashtra

133.        Suraj Mondal, Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda Educational & Research Institute, Ranchi, Jharkhand

134.        Suresh Ediga, i4Farmers, USA

135.        Telangana Vyavasaya Vruttidarula Union, Telangana

136.        Thanekars, Thane, Maharashtra

137.        Umendra Dutt, Kheti Virasat Mission, Punjab

138.        Urban Biodiversity Conservation Group, Thane, Maharashtra

139.        Usha Soolapani, Thanal, Kerala

140.        Vaibhav jain,DKTE,kolhapur,Maharastra

141.        Vartika Gupta, Azim Premji University, Bangalore

142.        Vikrant Kaulgud, Accenture Tech Labs, Bangalore.

143.        Vinita Mansata, Earthcare Books, West Bengal

144.        Viren Lobo, Bharatiya Mazdoor Kisan Sangharsh Samiti, Rajasthan