The Ministry of Tribal Affairs was set up in 1999 with the objective of a coordinated and planned approach for over all development of Scheduled tribe communities in the country. The 1st year of National Democratic Alliance Government 2.0 under the dynamic leadership of Shri Narendra Modi has seen several significant steps taken by my Ministry towards tribal welfare.
Significant interventions being Made as below:
1. Pradhan Mantri Van Dhan Yojana:
Around 1205 Van Dhan Kendras set up in past one year for livelihood
generation among tribal gatherers of minor forest produce which is expected to benefit 3.70 lakh beneficiaries. 18075 Self Help Groups are created and Rs 166 crore allotted.
Broom Processing & Production Facilities at Van Dhan Kendra Tobu Tehsil, Mon District, Nagaland
2. Minimum Support Price Price to Minor Forest Produce:
The MSP of 50 items categorized as MFP by the Ministry has been upwardly revised w.e.f May 1 this year to enable the tribal communities tide over the difficult situation created by Covid pandemic. As a result, MFP worth Rs 40 crore has been realized in 17 states within a fortnight of price revision.
3. Tribal Education:
The Eklavya Model Residential Schools fully funded by my Ministry took a giant leap in the year with 69 being made operational and 100 new schools sanctioned across the country. As on date, there are 285 such schools with a total enrolment of around 73,000, an important attribute being 50:50 ratio of Girls to boy students.
For the Tribal students pursuing studies at pre and post matriculation level, my Ministry has during the past one year disbursed scholarships to the tune of Rs 2400 crore in 4 different schemes with total beneficiaries to the tune of 32 lakh.
Certain special initiatives like Kayapalat Abhiyaan in Maharashtra benefitting 2.50 lakh students of 502 Ashram schools, strengthening of Kanya Shiksha Parisars in Madhya Pradesh and Prayas Avasiya Vidyalaya in LWE affected districts of Chhattisgarh received financial assistance to the tune of Rs 4.30 crore in past one year from the Ministry.
4. Measures for all round development and Good Governance:
Funds to the tune of Rs 1600 crore has been disbursed to States for infrastructure projects including construction of public buildings, roads, schools, minor irrigation facilities, solar lighting among others. A nation wide capacity building porgrammes for elected representatives from ST community was also launched in association with UNDP in February, 2020.
5. Tribal Health Action Plan:
A Tribal Health Action Plan comprising of a comprehensive Tribal Primary Health Care model is ready for implementation to mitigate gaps in health infrastructure in tribal areas.
6. Initiatives by Tribal Affairs Ministry in Information Technology sector:
My Ministry holds the unique distinction of bieng the first to develop DBT portal(dbttribal.gov.in) for Pre and Post Matric Scholarship schemes that are Centrally sponsored. Data of 45 lakh beneficiaries of various scholarship schemes are now available on a digital platform. The National Fellowship and Overseas Scholarship schemes have been integrated with Digi Locker tool to facilitate verification.
7. Tribal Culture & Research:
A searchable digital tribal repository (http:// repository.tribal.gov.in is being conceived to serve as one point reference for all research papers, books, reports & documents, folk songs, photo and video related to Tribal culture and knowledge.
Ministry has extended financial assistance to several states to organize tribal festivals like Pawl Kut in Mizoram, Horbill Festival in Nagaland, Medaram Jathara in Telangana where as TRIFED has held festivals in the name of ‘Aadi Mahotsava’ in 17 states across the country including at Delhi.
8. Tribal Healers & Tribal Medicine:
The Ministry as part of its initiative in Tribal Medicine aims to create a centralized knowledge hub in the subject. As part of same, Tribal Research Institute , Uttarakhand has been designated as a nodal centre. Projects have also been assigned to AIIMS- Jodhpur, Patanjali Research Institute, Pravara Institute of Medical Sciences and Mata Amritanandmayi Institute to document and conserve the traditional tribal healing techniques.
9. GOAL Initiative:
The Ministry has launched the unique initiative in partnership with Face Book India christened as ‘GOAL- Going Online As Leaders’ program which aims at enrolling around 5000 tribal youth from across the country as mentees who shall be groomed by mentors with focus on digital literacy, life skills and leadership traits for a period of 7 months followed by 2 months of internship with leading organizations. This initiative is expected to bridge the digital divide and empower the tribal youth.
(The writer is Union Minister of Tribal Affairs)