Special Correspondent

Udhagamandalam: A National Tribal Policy is expected to be in place within a couple of months, said secretary, Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Meena Gupta, here on Saturday.

Programmes

She told media persons that a draft policy had been in circulation for sometime now. Since Independence the nation had not had the benefit of such a policy. In future it would be ensured that tribal development programmes were in accordance with the policy.

She added that if the Scheduled Tribes (Recognition of Forest Rights) Bill was passed, it would ensure that the tribals residing near the forests enjoyed a number of rights. There were now about 8.4 crore tribals in the country.

To a query on inclusion of communities in the list of scheduled or primitive tribes, she said that the proposals had to come from the State Governments.

The allocation for tribal development programmes during the current year was Rs. 1,656 crore. While all the Scheduled

Primitive tribes

Tribes in the country were treated in an uniform manner by the Ministry, certain schemes were implemented exclusively for primitive tribes.

TRC

On the current status of the Tribal Research Centre (TRC) here, Ms.Gupta said that like similar institutions elsewhere in the country, their funding was shared on a fifty-fifty basis by the Centre and the State. Certain problems relating to utilisation of funds in the TRC here was in the process of being sorted out.

All the TRCs were under the control of the respective State Governments, she said.

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