Despite the phenomenal economic growth the country has witnessed in recent years, chronic unemployment has become a pervasive feature of rural India. The current economic downturn has worsened the plight of rural people, aggravating loss of livelihood, poverty and social disturbances. A movement towards a green future, predicated on enhancing the use of renewable resources and mitigating the adverse affects of climate change, could provide impetus to the forest sector, create real and durable assets and help rescue rural India from this crisis. The viable investment in forestry sector keeping economical and ecological soundness in view may create village level employment for rural youth.
Keeping this in view, Forest Research Institute (FRI), Dehradun and Rural Business Hub Foundation, Dehradun collaboratively organized one day seminar on Viable Investment and Employment Opportunities around Forestry and Climate Change on 23rd October, 2018 in FRI Board Room. Dr. A. K. Pandey, Head Extension Division, FRI welcomed all distinguished guests in the seminar. In his welcome address he gave brief outline of the seminar. He said that this seminar will provide simple and effective solutions to problems faced by the rural people of Uttarakhand and helpful in checking migration. The seminar was inaugurated by Dr. Savita, Director, FRI. In her inaugural address Dr. Savita gave a brief account of research done and technologies/ processes developed by the institute and its use for employment opportunities for rural society. She presented a brief account at work done in the area of extraction of natural dyes from biomass, Samradhi for sericulture, agroforestry models, fibre from forest, useful products from chir pine needles, bamboo preservative and many more. She told that all technologies developed by the institute are economically sound and eco-friendly as well. She asserted that a common man can take benefit from these technologies to create self employment and enhance livelihoods. Shri Kamal Taori, Retd. IAS and Chairman, Rural Business Hub Foundation presided over the function. He expressed his views and emphasized that FRI can play vital role in development of forestry sector with the active involvement of communities. He said that there is need to document success stories for the motivation of common people. Followings charter emerged out of discussions held in the seminar:
1. Forestry resources should be linked with economy. Economic valuation of forest resources should be done in such a way that true contribution of the sector could be understood.
2. Cooperation and mutual trust development between researchers and rural communities.
3. Identification of suitable partner/local extension workers is necessary for dissemination of knowledge.
4. Skill development of local communities to enable them to start own entrepreneurship.
5. Utilization and value addition of locally available resources for employment and livelihood generation.
6. Linking of Van Panchayat in different developmental activities.
7. Development of socio-economic business model for the benefit of rural poor.
8. Extension Centres should be established for dissemination and demonstration of technologies/innovations as per need of local communities/stakeholders.
9. Medicinal plants based agroforestry practices should be encouraged according to market demand.
10. There should be a mandatory provision for authorization of FRI for quarantine for forestry species to obtain quality planting material.
11. Micro level utilization of forest produces should be provisioned and local industries like Match, wooden spoon, ice stick should be established where the raw material is available in plenty.
12. It should be taught to youth that the education is not confined up to degree only and knowledge should be linked with wisdom to create Skill and Excellency.
13. In developmental activities economy and ecology should be balanced in any condition.
About 70 personnel including representative of Non Government Organizations, Self Help Groups and members of Civil society organizations participated in the seminar.
Among distinguished persons who attended the seminar were Shri Jagat Singh Jangali (Brand ambassador of Uttarakhand Forest Department), Raghbeer Kandwal (Gramin Sudhar Evam Shramik Seva Sansthan (GRASS), Swami Bhaskaranand Maharaj, Shri Premji Kashyap, Smt. Immi V. Marla from Germany and Shri Sameer Raturi and others who expressed their views on the subject and had shared their experiences in the field. All head of Divisions, Dean & Registrar FRIDU, Chief Librarian and Group Coordinator Research were also actively participated in the deliberations of the seminar.
The team of Extension Division including Dr. Charan Singh, Dr. Devendra Kumar, Shri Rambir Singh and Shri Ajay Gulati and Dr. K. P. Singh, Public Liaison Officer and his team managed the seminar programme with full dedication.