Plant trees, get promoted

Nurseries, watering holes, controlled poaching are some of the parameters the Forest Ministry plans to rate its employees on; recently concluded a recruitment drive hiring 1,000 officials

After filling up the vacancies, the State Forest Ministry has now planned to rate its employees on the basis of their performance that will help the forest department to perform better and maintain the green cover across the state.

1,000 Number of employees hired by the forest dept at a recently
concluded recruitment drive

To do so, the ministry is mulling the introduction of a Key Result Area (KRA) system, to judge officers. For example, a social forest officer's promotion will be based on the number of nurseries he has established during his tenure. Similarly, effectiveness of the management plan that includes creation of water holes for animals, controlling poaching, and so on, would be taken into consideration while judging a wildlife officer's performance (see box).

According to sources, a month ago Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan met Forest Minister Dr Patangrao Kadam and granted permission to fill all the vacant posts in the forest department, including guards, clerks, senior and junior level officers. Besides, promotions were approved for the existing senior officers, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (APCCF), Chief Conservator of Forests (CCF), Range Forest Officers (RFOs) and Assistant Conservators of Forests (ACFs). At the recently concluded recruitment drive, the state forest department hired 1,000 recruits across several national parks and sanctuaries.

"The Ministry has already released enough funds for the training and implementation of a few plans. Once the training concludes, the department would be judging the officers on the basis of their performance (see box) for which the KRA process is on the cards," said a source from the forest department. The forest department would also be planting a billion trees all across the state and hiring private officers to increase the green cover.

Confirming the same,
B Khaire, joint forest secretary, said, "These projects are in the pipeline and I'll be able to talk only after they are finalised. Several ideas and suggestions are doing rounds as our principal secretary is really working hard on these projects."

However, a few experts feel that before the officers are judged on the basis of KRA system, the ministry needs to bridge the communication gap between the senior and junior level officers.

According to Kishore Rithe, a member of the State and National Wildlife Board, "It is good to see that the department is working hard to increase the green cover and protect the wildlife in the state.

But they must also understand that the communication gap between juniors and seniors must be bridged, as it will improve their efficiency. It had been years since any sort of promotion had taken place within the department. Finally, the department has created a hierarchy. Now, they must bridge this gap."

The KRA parameters
Though the promotions have been announced, however, the parameters for every officer will vary. While officers in social forestry will be judged on the number of nurseries they have come up with during their tenure, wildlife officers will be judged on the efficacy of their management plan.

This plan will include several parameters such as, the number of water holes created for the animals depending on their needs, how many fire incidents they were able to avert, decrease in cases of poaching and clearance of encroachment form sanctuaries or national parks.

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