Do not pose problems, provide solutions: Prez to forest officers
President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday advised a group of forest service officers to not pose problems but provide solutions for meeting India's development requirements. He also asked them to be sensitive towards the basic food and fuelwood requirement of millions of poor people, including tribals living in and around forests.
"These are simple and hardworking people and look up to you for guidance and reassurance. Please treat them as your partners in management and not as intruders," Kovind said in his first official engagement after assuming office.
Addressing the probationers of the Indian Forest Service 2016-18 course, he said India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world and "we have set ourselves stiff targets".
"You have to strike a balance between conservation needs and development requirements. Your job is not to pose problems but to provide solutions," the president said.
Kovind said in the past few decades, the world has woken up to threats to the very survival of humankind due to environmental degradation, depletion in forest cover and above all, global warming leading to climate change.
"That is why the environment has become a key concern for the 21st century. And forests are an integral part of the solution," he said. Kovind said India has emerged as a global leader in handling complex climate change issues.
"Our national forest policy envisages 33 per cent of the land mass should be under forest cover. You have to find ways and means to enrich the natural forests, and facilitate bringing non-forest areas under tree cover," the president said.
He said forests are a potential carbon sink and they could help reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and counter the threat of global warming.
"Our country has set a target to sequester an additional 2.5 to 3 billion tons of carbon in our forests by 2030," Kovind said. He said millions of very poor people, including tribals, live in and around the forests of our country. "We need to be sensitive to their basic requirements of food, fuelwood, fodder and such small needs."
Forestry is a challenging profession, Kovind said.
"It was an exclusive domain of men till recent times but thankfully that has changed. It is heartening that more and more lady officers are opting to join the Indian Forest Service.
"I sincerely hope the lady officers will bring about a meaningful change due to their hard work and dedication. Lady forest officers will not only be able to correct the gender distortion, they will also bring a fresh outlook to the working of your department. This is a welcome development for the country," he said.