The national conservation authority was established in December 2005. Incorporating a new chapter in the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 as Chapter IVB by an amendment in the Year 2006 from sections 38K to 38Y, which has made a national authority and �Tiger Conservation Foundation� for the protection, preservation and enhancing the population of tigers in India; following a recommendation of the tiger task force, constituted by the Prime Minister of India for reorganized management of Project tiger and the many tiger reserves in India. The Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 was amended to provide for constituting of the National Tiger Conservation Authority responsible for implementation of the Project Tiger plan to protect endangered tigers. The National Tiger Conservation Authority will have the Union Minister of Environment and Forest as the Chairperson and other fourteen (14) members. The term of each member shall be for three years. One can be removed from the membership if one is found to be insolvent, convicted of the offence involving moral turpitude, of unsound mind, incapable of acting, absents himself from three consecutive meeting or abusing his position to render his continuation in office detrimental to the public interest. The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), among other things would lay down normative standards, guidelines for tiger conservation in the Tiger Reserves and confer various powers and functions. These includes approval of tiger conservation plans, evaluate aspects of sustainable land use as mining, industry, etc., lay down guidelines for tourism activities and tiger conservation, future conservation plan, approve, coordinate, research and monitoring on tiger, tiger estimation, disease surveillance, morality survey, patrolling, report on untoward happenings and such other management aspects as it may deem fit, including future plan for conservation. The NTCA would also facilitate and support tiger reserve management in the States through eco-development and people�s participation as per approved management plans, support similar initiatives in adjoining areas consistent with the central and state laws. The State governments, shall on the recommendation of the NTCA, notify an area as �Tiger Reserve� and plans for �Tiger Conservation� will be prepared accordingly. Such creation of tiger reserve shall not affect the rights of the Scheduled Tribes and other forest dwellers of the area, the Tiger Conservation Plan shall ensure the agricultural, livelihood, developmental and other interests of people living in tiger bearing forests or tiger reserves and marking such forests as the buffer or peripheral area consisting of the area peripheral to critical tiger habitat or core area. The States must notify this; such notified area cannot be used for tourism. In case the State fails to issue such notification, the State Government held liable under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. The State Governments shall also establish �Tiger Conservation Foundation� (TCF) in order to facilitate and support the management of tiger reserves for conservation of tigers and biodiversity, to promote eco-tourism, solicit technical, financial, social, legal and other support required for the activities of the foundation and support research, environmental education and training related to this matter. The Tiger Conservation Authority would be required to prepare an Annual Report, which will be laid in the Parliament along with the Audit Report. On the recommendation of the Tiger Task Force constituted by the Prime Minister, a State Level Steering Committees will be set up in the Tiger States under the Chairmanship of respective Chief Ministers to perform the task of ensuring coordination, monitoring and protection of tigers in the States. In June 2007 a detailed survey by the Wildlife institute of India (WII), which used accurate camera traps for counting tigers rather than using traditional method of counting footprints (pugmarks) which resulted the number of tigers in India, is extremely positive. The most recent audit of wild tigers by the Authority (in early 2008) has estimated the number at 1411 wild tigers - 1165- 1657 allowing for statistical error- drop of 60% in the past decade. The Central Government has been authorized to constitute a �Tiger and other Endangered Species Crime Control Bureau� which shall have powers to collect and collate intelligence relating to organized wildlife crimes and to apprehend the criminals. There are specified penalties for an offence relating the core area of a tiger reserve or hunting in the reserve.
Sai Jigyasa Roy