Manmohan Singh says empowerment of tribals is essential for equitable growth

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New Delhi, Nov 4 (ANI): Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on Wednesday said that the empowerment of tribals is essential for equitable growth of the country.

Inaugurating a the two-day conference of Chief Ministers and State Ministers for forests and tribal development here, Dr. Manmohan Singh called upon State governments to include tribals participation in forest conservation efforts.

Dr Singh also said that Tribals should be part of the process of development of natural resources and called for a coordinated approach to achieve this.

Asserting that government will not tolerate social and economic abuse of tribals, Dr Singh said violence against tribals can't be allowed.

"The systematic exploitation and social and economic abuse of our tribal communities can no longer be tolerated. The cult of violence will only bring greater misery to the common people. We have to counter this threat with determination. While violence cannot be tolerated, the tribals must be the primary beneficiaries of the development process. We have to win the battle for their hearts and their mouths," he added.

He said the States should endeavour to give a healing touch to the tribal communities. Their integration in the development processes is highly important. But this should not become a means of exploitation or be at the cost of their unique identity and their culture.

He further said that the development of tribal areas and improvement in the economic and social condition of tribal populations is fundamentally linked to our concept of inclusive growth.

"We cannot have equitable growth without guaranteeing the legitimate rights of these eventually marginalized and isolated sections of our society. In a broader sense we need to empower tribal communities with the means to determine their own destinies, their livelihood, their security and above all as equal participants in the processes of social and economic development," he added. (ANI)

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