The government has proposed to set up 3,000 Van Dhan Kendras involving 30,000 self-help groups across the country under a scheme of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs for providing skill up-gradation and capacity building training for value addition of forest produce.
The prime minister had launched the Van Dhan Scheme of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs and TRIFED on April 14 during the celebrations of B R Ambedkar's birth anniversary in Chhattisgarh's Bijapur, a statement issued by the ministry said.
Emphasising the important role of value addition in increasing tribal incomes, the prime minister had said that Van Dhan, Jandhan and Goverdhan schemes have the potential to change the tribal-rural economic system, the statement said.
All these three schemes in tandem need to be promoted for this purpose by the state governments.
Under the Van Dhan scheme, 10 self-help groups with each having 30 tribal gatherers were constituted at Bijapur. They are being trained and provided with working capital to add value to the products, which they collect from the jungle.
Working under the leadership of Collector, these groups can then market their products not only within the states but also outside the states. Training and technical support is provided by the TRIFED.
Van Dhan Mission is an initiative for targeting livelihood generation for tribals by harnessing non-timber forest produces, the true wealth of forest i.e. Van Dhan with an estimated value of Rs 2 Lakh crore per year.
"Value addition assumes critical importance in ensuring remunerative prices to the tribals in this approach. Three stage value addition would be the corner stone for enhancing incomes of the tribals under the scheme. The scheme has a huge potential to empower the tribals," Union Tribal Minister Jual Oram said.