Dehradun: President Pranab Mukherjee on Friday said the Indian Forest Service (IFS) does not only have the responsibility of serving the sector of forestry in the country, but a much larger onus of arresting climate change apart from preservation of bio-diversity and enhancement of forest cover and encouraging forest based livelihood.
Addressing the annual convocation of the Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy here on Friday, the President said India has an area of 79.4 million hectares designated as forests.
“This is about 19.32 percent of the country. The Forest Policy of the year 1952 calls for maintaining one third of the total land of the country as forest cover. This clearly indicates a gap of about 15 percent, which has to be bridged. In fact, to achieve this goal of 33 percent of forest cover was one of the professed goals behind setting up the Indian Forest Service in 1966, and it is time that concrete measures are ensured in this direction,” he added.
The President said it is indeed a matter of satisfaction that, aided by technology like e-surveillance and GIS application along with the hard work being put in by the officers of the Indian Forest Service, the forest cover in the country has increased from 64.2 million hectares in 1987 to 79.4 million hectares, as per recent reports.
“While this is a tremendous achievement in itself, but yet there are many more miles to be covered,” he added.
Among the dignitaries present on the occasion were Uttarakhand Governor Dr. Krishan Kant Paul, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat and Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) environment, forest and climate change Anil Madhav Dave.