Vice President of India M Venkakaih Naidu asked for encouraging those states which are doing good work in conserving forests, by providing them benefits and incentives.
He said that to preserve forests, the local people, panchayats and local bodies should be made sensitive and they be given ‘operational rights’. He was addressing the convocation of Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy in Dehradun on Wednesday.
Naidu said, “States must be incentivised for increasing forest cover. Niti Ayog, and the Centre must have provisions to encourage states doing well, and priority must be given to the forests, rivers and the Mother Nature. Tree plantation and environment protection should become a mass movement.”
A total of 53 IFS trainees passed out of the Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy in Dehradun on Wednesday. Five officers from Uttar Pradesh, six from Bihar, three each from Delhi and Punjab, while one from West Bengal, seven from Rajasthan, one from Madhya Pradesh, six from Tamil Nadu and two trainees were from Jharkhand graduated from the academy. Besides this, four from Maharashtra, three from Karnataka, four from Andhra Pradesh, two from Haryana and four from Telangana were awarded honours diplomas. Two foreign trainees from Bhutan also passed out.
The presence of Vice President of India thrilled the trainees. The Vice President said that fundamental principle of forest management should be based on conservation and sustainable utilisation of natural resources. He asked the need to adopt environment-friendly approach to live with nature for better future. “It should be the sacred duty of everyone to plant and protect trees,” he added.
The Vice President highlighted the need of sharing knowledge with tribal and local people and involving them in environment conservation. Naidu said, “There is a need to guide, provide knowledge to tribal or local communities on conservation techniques. Foresters must be development facilitators and a growth enabler without compromising the national interest and the welfare of the people especially the tribal groups who depend on forests for their livelihood. India has come a long way in changing the management strategies from keeping people away from the forests for protection purposes to managing the forest with cooperation of people in the form of Joint Forest Management.”
Naidu arrived in Uttarakhand for his two-day visit on Wednesday. Terming the foresters as green soldiers, the Vice President of India complimented the officers for choosing a difficult and coveted profession. Union Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan, Uttarakhand Governor KK Paul, Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat also attended the convocation function.