The JharFRA App Training Initiative under the Abua Bir Abua Dishom Abhiyan in Jharkhand

On December 12, 2023, the State Forest Rights Act (FRA) Cell of the Jharkhand Government kicked off a capacity-building program for the ‘JharFRA app’ under the Abua Bir Abua Dishom Abhiyan (My Jungle, My Country). This campaign aims to facilitate the implementation of the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act of 2006.

A crucial catalyst for the campaign’s success is to ensure the adept utilisation of the JharFRA app, designed to simplify, speed up, and streamline the process of filing individual and community forest resource rights claims. In a strategic partnership between the state government and the Initiative on the Forest Economy (IoFE) at the Bharti Institute of Public Policy, ISB a comprehensive three-tier training framework has been conceptualised.

Five representatives from each district in Jharkhand have been designated as ‘Master Trainers’ and underwent intensive training by state-level experts on the intricacies of the FRA Act, its rules, CFR claim filing, and title generation processes. With the help of the Shri Krishna Institute of Public Administration (SKIPA), Ranchi, and the Foundation for Ecological Security (FES), over 150 participants—including officials from Revenue and Forest departments, PPIA fellows, e-District Managers, and CSOs—have undergone the training.

Simultaneously, IoFE spearheaded the training of 20 ‘Technology Trainers’ tasked with supporting master trainers in effectively utilising the JharFRA app and other digital tools within their respective districts. These master and technology trainers have now commenced the training of ‘Bir Bandhus,’ panchayat-level government workers who will assist Forest Rights Committees (FRCs) in generating CFR title claims and conducting awareness camps for FRA and other welfare schemes under the Aapki Yojna Aapki Sarkar Aapke Dwar program. This comprehensive approach aims to expedite the resolution of pending individual and community forest rights claims and set the stage for filing new claims on a large scale.

The government’s focused efforts on creating robust information systems and decentralised knowledge dissemination mechanisms set a pivotal new standard for future campaigns. Embracing technological innovations and a commitment to recognizing communities as key players in forest rights recognition and community-based forest management is a vital step forward. An estimate of around 1 lakh individuals and 10,000 villages in Jharkhand will prospectively benefit from this campaign.

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