Union Minister of Tribal Affairs, Shri Arjun Munda today had a discussion on the development of the tribal areas in Assam with Chief Minister Shri Himanta Biswa Sarma. Senior Cabinet Ministers of the Assam Government and officials of the Tribal Affairs department were present at the review meeting held at the State Guest House here today.
Shri Munda also presented the Van Dhan Award 2020-2021 to Chief Minister Shri Himanta Biswa Sarma. The Tribal Affairs Ministry has awarded the Van Dhan National Award 2021-22 to TRISSAM of Assam in category of Collaborative Initiative for co branding in Van Dhan Yojana.
While addressing the media people, Shri Munda said that his two-day visit is intended to review the progress of the tribal areas and the schemes implemented for development of the tribal population of the state and the region.
The Minister stated that the key points of the discussion included ways to promote the artifacts and artisans of the tribal areas of Assam, ensuring quality education for the children from these areas, Eklavya Model education, and the overall implementation of the schemes in these areas. Earlier in August, Chief Minister of Assam had met the TRIFED team in New Delhi to chalk out plans for expanding tribal development in the state and defining the steps for the way forward. These future plans to take tribal development to the next level were also showcased and discussed during this meeting.
“There should be a development programme through which the entire Northeast region can progress. It has to be in a way that the entire region can be presented as a development model. The gateway to Northeast is Assam and this is a very important state. We have discussed regarding the tribal areas and the programmes that have been carried out in these areas with the Chief Minister and Senior Officers of the state”, he added.
The Union Tribal Affairs Minister appreciated Assam’s Chief Minister Shri Himanta Biswa Sarma’s efforts to lead the state in the development stage. “Assam is moving forward under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and I am happy that Assam is developing under the leadership of Shri Himanta Biswa Sarma,” he said, adding that the State and Centre have been working in close coordination to achieve the target and promote the tribal artisans on a national as well as international level.
Shri Munda also said that his ministry is trying to add value to the existing traditional system and lifestyle of the tribal people and taking the artisans and their work to the national and global levels. He also added, “Van Dhan can be a game changer for promoting Tribal Livelihoods and enterprises in Assam while Eklavya Vidyalayas will impart uniform and high quality education to tribal children. We are also trying to ensure that the children receive quality education and participate in the competitive exams. We want more and more candidates from the tribal areas to appear for the national level exams. The Eklavya Model is in discussion as of now and we will further discuss these with the Centre,”.
Located in North-eastern India, Assam has a substantial tribal population, with 3,308,570 forest dwellers who constitute 12.4% of the total population. The ‘Mechanism for Marketing of Minor Forest Produce (MFP) through Minimum Support Price (MSP) & Development of Value Chain for MFP’ has come as a beacon of change in the past two years in this state. Conceptualized and implemented by TRIFED in association with State Government Agencies across 21 states of the country, the scheme has emerged as a source of great relief for tribal gatherers injecting more than Rs 3000 crores directly in the tribal economy. The State of Assam has utilized the MSP for MFP scheme wherein the total procurement utilizing the Govt. of India fund is of 58.56 MT which is worth Rs. 37.39 Lakhs. Under the Van Dhan Scheme total of 1,920 VD SHG have been sanctioned which are subsumed into 128 VDVK Clusters. This is directly benefiting 37,786 forest tribal gatherers. The total amount sanctioned for operationalization of these VDVKCs is Rs. 19.20 Crores.
Shri Arjun Munda is on a two-day visit to Assam to review the progress of implementation of the Minor Forest Produce (MFP), Van Dhan Vikas Kendra (VDVK) and TRIFOOD programmes, which have been put in place for the empowerment of the tribals in the state and region. Shri Pravir Krishna, Managing Director, TRIFED and senior officials of TRIFED have also accompanied Shri Munda.
Among the many activities planned are two workshops/conferences – the Voice of North East Janajatiya Leader Conference on the first day and a Van Dhan Workshop conducted in IIE on the second day.
Such a review, monitoring and implementation of the programmes at ground level is being planned for all states so that the impact in generating income for the tribal people and empowering them can be expedited. The ultimate aim of these programmes, implemented by TRIFED across the country is to bring about a complete transformation of tribal lives and livelihoods across the country and progress towards an Atmanirbhar Bharat.