Centre has launched Vanbandhu Kalyan Yojana (VKY) for welfare of Tribals. Launching the scheme on the occasion of the meeting of the Tribal Welfare Ministers of States/UTs here today the Union Tribal Welfare Minister Shri Jual Oram said that the scheme been launched on pilot basis in one block each of the States of AP, MP, HP, Telangana, Orissa, Jharkhand, Chattisgarh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Gujarat. Under the scheme centre will provide Rs. 10 crore for each block for the development of various facilities for the Tribals. These blocks have been selected on the recommendations of the concerned States and have very low literacy rate. Speaking on the occasion Shri Oram said this scheme mainly focuses on bridging infrastructural gaps and gap in human development indices between Schedule tribes and other social groups. He said VKY also envisages to focus on convergence of different schemes of development of Central Ministries/Departments and State Governments with outcome oriented approach. Initially the blocks having at least 33% of tribal population in comparison to total population of the block will be targeted.
Shri Oram informed the meeting that his Ministry has taken up initiatives for strengthening of existing institutions meant for delivery of goods and services to tribal people i.e Integrated Tribal Development Agencies /Integrated Development Project and creation of new ones wherever necessary. He said that specific funds allocated to the State Governments for this purpose should be utilized judiciously with a view to build the institutional mechanism more robust by way of strengthening these institutions. Referring to the situation where Minor Forest Produce (MFP) is more often than not determined by the traders instead of self sustained process of demand and supply.
The Minister said his Ministry has taken note of the situation and has implemented a scheme to ensure that such forest dwellers are not deprived of their due. Under the scheme maximum selling price for MFP is being implemented in schedule V States initially. He said a web based portal has also been developed which indicate current price of MFPs on real time basis across different mandis of the States. 12 MFP products have been included in the programme namely (i) Tendu Leave (ii) Bamboo (iii) Mahuwa Seeds (iv) Sal Leaf (v) Sal Seed (vi) Lac (vii) Chironjee (viii) Wild Honey (ix) Myrobalan (x) Tamarind (xi) Gums (Gum Karaya) and (xii) Karanji. The Minister also referred to the Forests Rights Act as a landmark legislation to recognize the pre-existing rights of tribals and other traditional forest dwellers and informed that out of 37.69 Lakh claims filed by the intended beneficiaries about 14.57 Lakh inpidual rights title and more than 22,200 community forest rights titles have been distributed as on June 2014.
The Union Tribal Affairs Minister Oram informed the meeting that in-principle approval for recognizing the Vishva Bharati, Shanti Niketan as the other centre of excellence in the filed of Tribal language and literature has been given. He said another proposal to establish a National Research Centre in the Tribal Research Institute, Bhubansehwar to promote research activities on subjects/issues for socio-economic development and culture of States has also been approved by his Ministry.
Earlier addressing the meeting Union Minister of State for Tribal Affairs Shri Mansukhbai Dhanjibha Vasava said one of the priorities of his Ministry is to focus on skill development and employment generation initiatives for sustainable livelihood for tribal people. He said that in order to facilitate infrastructure for provision of quality education to the tribals, the Ministry has sanctioned about 184 Eklavya Modal Residential Schools. The Minister said these schools are intended to be equipped with requisite infrastructure and conducive environment for ensuring delivery of quality education among the tribals. Holding of this consultation is part of the process of sensitizing the State Government towards the bigger goal of tribal development at par with mainstream fellow population of the country, the Minister added. Ministers for Tribal Affairs/Welfare from States/UTs are attending the day long consultation.