"No development can be at the cost of rights because it is a fundamental right. It is the basic right. So any development will have to first take care of the people's rights," Deo said here hours before the swearing in ceremony.
When asked about tribal rights vis-a-vis mining projects, he said just because "poor tribals who have no weapons to protect themselves, are unable to look after themselves, you want to throw them outside for mining...This is the kind of mindset which you will have to depart from." He said the way mining cannot take place in Delhi's Lutyens' zone and "below Taj Mahal or India Gate", the same standards have to be adopted in tribal areas.
"Development yes. But not before taking care of interests of the people who are living there," he said.
He termed the Panchayati Raj ministry as an "enabling" department and said it was upto the states how they utilise the funds. "Monitoring is must to see that money reaches the people," he added.
Deo said he felt good after getting inducted in the Union Council of Ministers after a gap of three decades. "It is a very heavy responsibility," he said. Deo was the Minister of State for Steel, Mines and Coal in 1979-80.