While addressing a gathering in Kerala during the 2014 general elections, then the Bharatiya Janata Party's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi had described himself as a victim of untouchability. "The next 10 years are going to be yours," he had said.
The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government ostensibly kept his promise-the 2014-15 budget witnessed a 25% increase in allocation of the two funds meant for Dalits and the adivasis-the Scheduled Caste Sub Plan (SCSP) and the Tribal Sub Plan (TSP) funds. However, more than one-third of the funds allocated by central ministries-Rs 32,979 crore-remained unspent in 2014-15.
Now, the Modi government is all set to roll out an Amul-like selfhelp movement for five crore tribal people across India.
Going beyond the promise of minimum support price (MSP) for gathering minor forest produce (MFP), the Centre plans to reach remote villages to open value addition centres in tribal households, organise tribal people in self-help groups, set up godowns for storage and initiate massive awareness programmes involving state governments and elected representatives.
Turning its predecessor UPA government's flagship programme of guaranteeing MSP to tribal people on its head, the Centre aims to reach five crore people who are largely dependent on gathering MSP such as tamarind, sal, harad, shikakai and honey, officials said.
The scheme will expand beyond nine tribal-dominated Schedule V area states and will cover nine more states. So far, the scheme was restricted to Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Telangana. After concerted efforts, the Centre has got additional states on board - Karnataka, Manipur, Nagaland, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, West Bengal, Tripura, and Assam.
Here is a look at other initiatives
Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRSs):
EMRs are being set up by the Government to give best quality education to tribal children in their own environment. As on 31.03.2018, 271 EMRSs are sanctioned and 190 are functional in various States.During the last four years, 106 new EMRSs with total capacity of 50,880 students have been sanctioned (30 in 2014-15, 32 in 2015-16, 30 in 2016-17 and 14 in 2017-18). Further, 51 EMRSs were made functional during last four years.
Hostels for Tribal Girls and Boys:
There are a total of 1545 hostels, sanctioned by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, for tribal girls and boys in the country at present. Out of this, the number of hostels for boys is 544 hostels and 1001 hostels are for girls.
During 2014-15 to 2017-18, a total of Rs. 5404.97 crore were distributed as pre-matric and post-matric scholarship to about one crore ST students.
Institutional Support for Development & Marketing of Tribal Products/Produce (Central Sector Scheme):
The total grants released under this scheme have increased from Rs. 4190 lakh in 2014-15 to Rs. 4495 lakh in 2017-18.
Launch of e-commerce portal of TRIFED and M-commerce android app and 'Tribes India' banner:
In a path breaking initiative, the Minister of Tribal Affairs, in the month of March 2018, launched the Tribes India banner on Snapdeal, Amazon, Paytm and GeM for marketing of Tribal Products through these e-commerce portals. With this, more than 55 thousand tribal artisans connected to TRIFED will get access to local as well as international markets. Also, the e-commerce portal of TRIFED i.e. www.tribesindia.com and M-commerce android app 'Tribes India' was also launched.
Scheduled Tribe Component:
Tribal Affairs Ministry has now been mandated to monitor Scheduled Tribe Component of funds of Central Ministries by NITI Aayog. An online monitoring system has been put in place with web address stcmis.gov.in. The allocation under Scheduled Tribe Component (STC) was increased from Rs. 21,811 crore in 2016-17 to Rs. 32,508 crore in RE 2017-18. In the BE of 2018-19, Rs. 39,135 crore has been allocated under STC for the welfare of Scheduled Tribes.
Minimum Support Price (MSP) to Minor Forest Produce (MFP):
Minimum Support Price for Minor Forest Produce scheme (MSP for MFP Scheme) has now been expanded to 24 Minor Forest Produces in all States from the initial 10 MFPs in 9 States in 2013-14.
An amount of Rs. 1019.27 Crore has been released to various states under the scheme Special Central Assistance to Tribal Sub-Scheme (SCA to TSS) and Grants under Article 275(1) during 2014-15 to 2017-18 for skill development of more than 3,37,000 (Three Lakh Thirty Seven Thousand) male and female tribal beneficiaries in a wide gamut of trades.
Forest Rights Act:
Under the Forest Rights Act, 2006 (FRA), until 30th, January, 2018 as much as 1 lakh 39,266 Community Forests Rights (CFR) claims have been received from 20 states. Out of this 64,328 (46.19%) claims have been recognised.
Aadi Mahotsav: Showcasing Tribal Culture, Commerce & Cuisine:
Ministry of Tribal Affairs in association with TRIFED organized a National Tribal Festival AadiMahotsav from 16th November, 2017 to 30th November, 2017. The total sale of tribal artisans during the Mahotsav was Rs. 4.10 Crores. This Mahotsav also organised at Jaipur, Bhopal, Ranchi, Chandigarh and Guwahati during November - December, 2017 and has become a continuous process now.
Museums for Tribal Freedom Fighters:
A state-of-the-art Tribal Museum of national importance in Gujarat State is being constructed. The Ministry has also approved proposals for setting up of museums in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Kerala to highlight struggle & sacrifices of tribals during freedom struggle.
New Tribal Research Institute and Tribal Repository:
During the year 2017-18, based on the proposals received from the States of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Sikkim, funds have been provided for establishment of new tribal research institutions at Itanagar, Kohima and Assam Lingzey, near Gangtok. Ministry has developed a web page for use as tribal repository (www.tribal.nic.in/repository) in which documents, folks songs, photos, videos regarding their evolution, place of origin, lifestyle, eating habits, architecture, education level, traditional art, folk dances and other anthropological details.