ITANAGAR, Jun 29: The administrative reforms (AR) department has decided to exempt range forest officers (RFO) who have done the forest ranger course from the purview of the basic educational qualification required for promotion or appointment to Group A and B posts under the state government.
In January 2014, the state government had fixed the minimum educational qualification of graduation or a bachelor’s degree from a recognized university for consideration for appointment to Group A and B posts/services either by direct recruitment or through promotion.
AR Secretary Juhi Mukherjee issued an office memorandum on 9 June, stating that “the government of Arunachal felt it expedient to grant exemptions to the forest ranger course holders and therefore the governor of Arunachal Pradesh is pleased to order exemption possessing graduation/bachelor degree to the forest ranger course holders from the purview and operation of the office memorandum dated 28 January, 2014.”
However, it is to be noted that on 27 May, 2015, the state government had decided to keep the 2014 order in abeyance for a period of four years to provide an opportunity to all the officials working in various departments who do not possess the required qualification to acquire educational qualification.
After this period expired, on 29 August, 2019, the AR department in an office memorandum reintroduced the fixation of minimum educational qualification of graduation/bachelor’s degree from a recognized university for consideration for appointment to Group A and B posts/services either through direct recruitment or through promotion, with effect from the date of issue of the office memorandum, “except the diploma holders like engineering, architecture, nursing, tourism, hotel management and catering technology, applied arts and crafts and draughtsman, who shall be exempted from the purview and operation of the office memorandum.”
The office memorandum also directed the government servants who have taken admission during the exemption period to continue their study.
The decision of the AR department not only goes against the office memorandum of 2014 but also against the recruitment rules (RR) for RFOs.
As per the method of recruitment mentioned in the RR which was published in a gazette notification in January this year, 50 percent of vacancies of RFO should be filled through direct recruitment and the remaining 50 percent through promotion.
For recruitment through promotion, the rule reads: “Those officers can be promoted who are substantively holding the post of range forest officer, Group B gazetted and possess the minimum educational qualification of graduation or bachelor degree in science/BSc forestry from a recognized university.”
Further, the ministry of environment, forests & climate change in a letter to the state’s environment & forests joint secretary informed that the 18 months’ forest ranger course is a certificate course and should not be treated as being equivalent to a degree. The state government had sought clarification as earlier such forest ranger course was treated as being equivalent to a degree.