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15 Jul 2013

Ramesh Gopalakrishnan, Mint & Wall Street Journal

Development and Adivasi rights [India]

In the last six months, two key milestones have been reached in India around the protection of Adivasi rights. The first milestone was a ruling by Supreme Court in April which gave Adivasi communities in the Niyamgiri hills of Orissa the final say on plans by a subsidiary of Vedanta Resources and the Orissa state mining company to mine for bauxite on their traditional lands… second…milestone, was a set of amendments proposed by the National Advisory Council (NAC) in December last year to the Panchayat (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 (known as PESA). The NAC recommended that the free prior and informed consent (FPIC) of affected Adivasi communities be mandatorily obtained before the government acquires any land for development projects, or decides on rehabilitation packages…These events mark a basic shift in the way India has regarded the rights of Adivasis over their land.