The 19th Meeting of National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) was held here today under the chairmanship of Union Minister for Environment, Forest & Climate Change Shri Bhupender Yadav.
About National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA):
- The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) is a statutory body
- It comes under the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change constituted under enabling provisions of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, as amended in 2006, for strengthening tiger conservation, as per powers and functions assigned to it under the said Act.
- NTCA has been fulfilling its mandate within the ambit of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 for strengthening tiger conservation in the country by retaining an oversight through advisories/normative guidelines, based on appraisal of tiger status, ongoing conservation initiatives and recommendations of specially constituted Committees.
- The ‘Project Tiger’ is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, providing funding support to tiger range States for in-situ conservation of tigers in designated tiger reserves, and has put the endangered tiger on an assured path of recovery by saving it from extinction, as revealed by the recent findings of the All India tiger estimation using the refined methodology.
The objectives of NTCA are:
- Providing statutory authority to Project Tiger so that compliance of its directives become legal.
- Fostering accountability of Center-State in management of Tiger Reserves, by providing a basis for MoU with States within our federal structure.
- Providing for an oversight by Parliament.
- Addressing livelihood interests of local people in areas surrounding Tiger Reserves.
Powers and functions
Powers and functions of the National Tiger Conservation Authority as prescribed under section 38O (1) and (2) of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, as amended in 2006 are as under:-
- to approve the tiger conservation plan prepared by the State Government under section 38 O (1) (a) of this Act
- evaluate and assess various aspects of sustainable ecology and disallow any ecologically unsustainable land use such as, mining, industry and other projects within the tiger reserves
- lay down normative standards for tourism activities and guidelines for project tiger from time to time for tiger conservation in the buffer and core area of tiger reserves and ensure their due compliance
- provide for management focus and measures for addressing conflicts of men and wild animal and to emphasize on co-existence in forest areas outside the National Parks, sanctuaries or tiger reserve, in the working plan code
- provide information on protection measures including future conservation plan, estimation of population of tiger and its natural prey species, status of habitats, disease surveillance, mortality survey, patrolling, reports on untoward happenings and such other management aspects as it may deem fit including future plan conservation
- approve, co-ordinate research and monitoring on tiger, co-predators, prey habitat, related ecological and socio-economic parameters and their evaluation
- ensure that the tiger reserves and areas linking one protected area or tiger reserve with another protected area or tiger reserve are not diverted for ecologically unsustainable uses, except in public interest and with the approval of the National Board for Wild Life and on the advice of the Tiger Conservation Authority
- facilitate and support the tiger reserve management in the State for biodiversity conservation initiatives through eco-development and people\’s participation as per approved management plans and to support similar initiatives in adjoining areas consistent with the Central and State laws
- ensure critical support including scientific, information technology and legal support for better implementation of the tiger conservation plan
- facilitate ongoing capacity building programme for skill development of officers and staff of tiger reserves, and
- perform such other functions as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of this Act with regard to conservation of tigers and their habitat.
The Tiger Conservation Authority may, in the exercise of its powers and performance of its functions under this Chapter, issue directions in writing to any person, officer or authority for the protection of tiger or tiger reserves and such person, officer or authority shall be bound to comply with the directions.
- The Wildlife Protection Amendment Act, 2006 provides for the constitution of the National Tiger Conservation Authority.
- NTCA was set up under the Chairmanship of the Minister for Environment and Forests.
- The Authority will have
- eight experts having qualifications in wildlife conservation and welfare tribals,
- 3 MPs,
- The Inspector-General of Forests, in charge of project Tiger, will be ex-officio Member Secretary
Providing central assistance to States under the ongoing Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Project Tiger for tiger reserves, for activities (recurring / non-recurring), as reflected in the Annual Plan of Operations of tiger reserves, based on their Tiger Conservation Plans is an important activity. This, interalia, includes protection, habitat amelioration, day to day monitoring, eco-development for local people in buffer areas, voluntary relocation of people from core/critical tiger habitats, and addressing human-wildlife conflicts, within the ambit of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and guidelines of Project Tiger / National Tiger Conservation Authority.
The NTCA / Project Tiger also conducts the country level assessment of the status of tiger, co-predators, prey and habitat once in four years, using the refined methodology, as approved by the Tiger Task Force.
Tiger Protection & Anti-poaching operations
The illegal demand for body parts and derivatives of tiger outside the country continues to be a serious threat to wild tigers. Therefore, protection is accorded topmost priority in Project Tiger / NTCA. The States are engaged in an ongoing manner through the NTCA Headquarters as well as its Regional Offices, while issuing alerts, besides closely working with the CBI, Wildlife Crime Control Bureau and the Police Departments. The following actions are taken in this context:
- Alerting the States as and when required
- Transmitting backward / forward linkages of information relating to poachers
- Advising the States for combing forest floor to check snares / traps
- Performing supervisory field visits through the National Tiger Conservation Authority and its regional offices
- Providing assistance to States for antipoaching operations
- Using information technology for improved surveillance (e-Eye system) using thermal cameras launched in Corbett
- Launching tiger reserve level monitoring using camera trap to keep a photo ID database of individual tigers
- Preparing a national database of individual tiger photo captures to establish linkage with body parts seized or dead tigers
- Assisting States to refine protection oriented monitoring through monitoring system for tiger”s intensive protection and ecological status (M-STrIPES)
- Providing grant through NTCA for patrolling in tiger rich sensitive forest areas outside tiger reserves
- Assisting States to deploy local workforce in a big way for protection to complement the efforts of field staff [In all, approximately 24 lakh mandays are generated annually with 50% central assistance amounting to around Rs. 24 crores (excluding matching 50% share given by States) under Project Tiger. In case of Northern- eastern States the share is 90:10 i.e. 90% central assistance and 10% matching share given by states. Many local tribes constitute such local workforce (besides non-tribals), eg. Baigas, Gonds in Madhya Pradesh, Gonds in Maharashtra, Chenchus in Andhra Pradesh, Sholigas in Karnataka, Gujjars in Uttarakhand and Irulas in Tamil Nadu to name a few. The deployment of such local tribals has been fostered / encouraged in the last two years].
- Supporting States for raising, arming and deploying the Special Tiger Protection Force
Why is the National Tiger Conservation Authority required?
The body parts of tigers fetch a huge price in the illegal market, this in itself is a huge threat to the tiger population in India. To ensure the survival of Indian tigers, a body like the National Tiger Conservation Authority is required. Keeping tiger protection as a topmost priority, the NTCA cooperates with other bodies such as the Central Bureau of Investigation, Wildlife Crime Control Bureau and the Police departments by issuing alerts for any illegal poaching activities.
To prevent such activities it carries out the following tasks:
- Alerting the States as and when required by transmitting information related to poachers
- Advising the States for combing forest floor to check for snares/traps
- Providing assistance to States for anti-poaching operations
- Using information technology for improved surveillance using thermal cameras set up in Jim Corbett National Park.
- Launching tiger reserve level monitoring using a camera trap to keep a photo ID database of individual tigers.
- India has a bilateral understanding with Nepal on controlling trans-boundary illegal trade in wildlife
- India has signed a protocol on tiger conservation with China.
- India has signed a with Bangladesh for conservation of the Royal Bengal Tiger.
- A sub-group on tiger/leopard conservation has been constituted for cooperation with the Russian Federation.
- A Global Tiger Forum of Tiger Range Countries has been created for addressing international issues related to tiger conservation.
- India is a party to CITES. CITES’s landmark decision states that ‘tigers should not be bred for trade in their parts and derivatives’.
Project Tiger is an ongoing Centrally Sponsored Scheme of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change providing central assistance to the tiger States for tiger conservation in designated tiger reserves.India now has as many as 2,967 tigers in the wild, with more than half of them in Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka, according to the latest tiger estimation report for 2018.The population of tigers have increased by 33% since the last census in 2014 when the total estimate was 2,226.