The Centre on Saturday said a document called the draft National Forest Policy, 2016, which it had uploaded on its website on June 22, was just a study report. A notification from the Ministry of Environment and Forests claimed the document on its website was not a national policy, and the government has not yet evaluated the report, which was prepared by the Institute of Forest Management in Bhopal. It had been uploaded by mistake, the government claimed.
On June 16, the ministry had sent out a memorandum saying it was in the process of preparing its national forest policy, and also that a draft had been prepared and comments were welcome on it. However, by Saturday, it had removed the policy from its website. The actual policy, the ministry said, has yet to be finalised.
There had been widespread coverage on the contents of the draft, which was expected to replace the 1988 forest policy. According to the draft, the ministry was considering a green cess to make people more “ecologically responsible”. It had also sought to spread awareness and encourage the sustainable utilisation of wood and proposed a national framework for implementation and similar state-level policy documents.