Scheme to lift human development indices of tribal people launched

Union Tribal Welfare Minister Jual Oram launched the Vanbandhu Kalyan Yojana (VKY), aimed at improving the infrastructure and human development indices of the tribal population, here on Tuesday.

The scheme, modelled on one with a similar name in Gujarat, allots Rs. 10 crore to each block with a tribal population of over 33 per cent. The scheme is being piloted in Odisha, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Telangana, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra.

“The VKY will focus on convergence of different Central and State schemes of development with an outcome-oriented approach,” Mr. Oram said at the launch.

He said the government had granted approval in principle to recognise Visva-Bharati University in Santiniketan as a centre of excellence in the field of tribal language and literature. A proposal to set up a national research centre in the Tribal Research Institute, Bhubaneshwar, to promote studies on the socio-economic development and culture of the tribal people had also been approved.

The Ministry would take steps to strengthen the existing institutions for delivery of services to tribal people.

Referring to how traders controlled minor forest produce prices, Mr. Oram said a Web-based portal had been developed to indicate the current prices at real time across the markets in the States. The prices of tendu leaves, bamboo, mahua seeds, sal leaf and seed, lac, chironjee, honey, myrobalan, tamarind, gums and karanji were now so posted.

Hailing the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, as a landmark law to recognise the pre-existing rights of tribal people and other traditional forest dwellers, he said that of the 37.69 lakh claims filed, 14.57 lakh individual rights titles and over 22,200 community forest rights titles had been distributed till this June.

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