Govt panel suggests President’s Medals for forestry staff, salary on par with other uniformed services


(PTI) : A central government panel has recommended institution of President’s Medals for forestry staff and salaries and related benefits on par with other uniformed services, sources said on Tuesday.

It has also suggested providing compensation and benefits to dependents of forest personnel martyred in the line of duty.

Set up in September 2020, the committee on ‘Improving and strengthening the working conditions of Forest Frontline Staff’ submitted its
report to Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav on Tuesday.

The report focuses on skill enhancement and professionalisation of the staff on a regular basis along with the improvement in security and safety of the personnel on duty and their families.

“Parity in salary and related benefits and service conditions among all uniformed services and states, enhancing the quality of human resources and capacity building institutions and aligning them with the emerging challenges in forest and wildlife management and conservation have been discussed in the report,” a source said.

The panel chaired by retired IAS officer Keshav Saran Varma has recommended institution of “President’s Medals for Forestry Personnel” for exemplary performance and dedication to service and “assistance, compensation and benefits to the dependents of forest staff/officers martyred in the line of duty, at par with other uniformed services”.

It has also called for mandatory annual medical check-up, access to subsidised ration and household provisions and the establishment of welfare cooperative societies for the forest staff, the sources said.

Incentivising merit and professional outlook of the frontline staff; and timely and adequate career progression are among the other recommendations.

The committee has emphasised on the use of modern technology and equipping staff with the latest gadgets and equipment to enhance their performance in remote and challenging forest areas and providing appropriate infrastructural facilities with respect to accommodation, communication, sanitation etc. to the frontline staff at forest outposts and camps.

The panel said state-of-art modernisation in the working conditions of the forest department in the country would cost Rs 2,720 crore in five years.

It has suggested reviewing and rationalising the size of administrative units, requirements of staff, enhancing mobility for forest frontline staff and providing facilities at forest outposts and camps.

The committee has also focused on specialised protection of unique habitats like coastal ecosystems, mangroves and the Himalayas in its report. (PTI)