The recent Budget presented by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah is a step in the right direction, especially for the welfare of tribal people, farmers, nomadic groups and backward classes, S. Sreekanth, who heads DEED (Development through Education), a tribal non-governmental organisation and convenor of the State Girijana Kriya Koota, has said.

He said in a statement here on Thursday that Mr. Siddaramaiah had earmarked Rs. 25 crore for the welfare of the tribal people under the Scheduled Tribe and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Rights) Act of 2006 (Forest Rights Act), involving both individual and community rights beneficiaries. However, the Girijana Kriya Koota and Rajya Moolanivasi Vedike, both State-level tribal organisations, had demanded Rs. 3,000 crore for the Adivasis in the recent budget. The initial allocation of Rs. 25 crore was the first step in that direction, Mr. Sreekanth said.

Adivasi people lived in the forests since centuries but the Wildlife Act of 1972 displaced them and made them turn into daily wage workers, even bonded labourers in certain cases, Mr. Sreekanth alleged. The Chief Minister would respond to the pleas of the tribal people to set up a board for their development in the State, Mr. Sreekanth hoped.

The Chief Minister himself should monitor the activities of the board, on the lines of the one functioning in Madhya Pradesh, he said.

However, Mr. Siddaramaiah had assured the Adivasi community that their demands would be looked into in a phased manner. One of the main demands of the tribal organisations is to take up the issue of rehabilitation of 3,000 tribal families, who were evicted from the forests, in tune with the verdict of the Karnataka High Court.

Encouragement to the Adivasis to collect medicinal herbs, education, childcare, agriculture and irrigation too were welcome steps, he said. The tribal people hoped that their demands would be considered in full in the next budget by the Chief Minister, Mr. Sreekanth added. He also recalled the “golden regime” of Yashodhara Dasappa, who was the Social Welfare Minister in the State in the 60’s, who had encouraged the tribal people to cultivate crops by providing lands to them in the forests.

Chief Minister urged to form a board

to focus on the development of

tribal people

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