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Sansad TV: Tribal Budget 2023-24

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Highlights and analysis:

  • The overall outlay for the Ministry of Tribal Affairs is Rs. 12461.88 cr, i.e an increase of 70.69% over the previous year’s Revised Estimate (RE) of Rs.7301.00 crore.
  • Finance Minister has made the following announcements for the betterment of Tribals :
  • Pradhan Mantri PVTG Development Mission- to saturate the PVTG families and habitations with basic facilities such as safe housing, clean drinking water and sanitation, improved access to education health and nutrition, road and telecom connectivity and sustainable livelihood opportunities.
  • National Sickle Cell Elimination Mission- to be implemented jointly by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Ministry of Tribal Affairs in collaboration with ICMR and States concerned. The Mission will cover preventive, curative and management aspects of this genetic disease in an integrated manner.
  • The focus of Government has been overall development of STs and bringing them at par with the other communities in the country.
  • Government has taken various steps for the development of tribals under DAPST of the schemes of the obligated Ministries/Department.
  • There have been considerable improvements in socio-economic conditions of the Scheduled Tribes (STs), for example, literacy rate for STs has improved from 59% (Census) in 2011 to 71.6% .

Initiatives towards Tribal Welfare

  • Pradhan Manti Van Dhan Yojana: It is a market-linked tribal entrepreneurship development program for creating clusters of tribals and strengthening them.
  • Van Bandhu Kalyan Yojana: Aims at creating enabling environment for need based and outcome oriented holistic development of the tribal people.
  • Ekalavya Model Schools: To provide good quality middle and high-level education to Scheduled Tribe students in remote areas, not only to enable them to avail of reservation in high and professional and ensure access to best opportunities in education at par with non ST population. New EMRS schools are being constructed at a unit cost of Rs.38 Crore in plain areas and Rs.48 Crore in hilly and difficult areas.
  • Minor Forest Produce: To safeguard fair monetary returns to MFP gatherers for their labours in the collection, primary processing, storage, packaging, transportation etc.
  • Vocational Training Centres in Tribal Areas
  • Livelihood for tribal families: In line with the priorities announced in the Budget, special focus will be given for providing remunerative livelihood to tribal families. A provision of Rs.288 crore has been made to be implemented through TRIFED, through formation of Self Help Groups and producer enterprises.
  • Scholarship to ST Students
  • PM Adi Adarsh Gram Yojana
  • Grant Support to States

Shortcomings

  • The benefitshave been unsuccessful in reaching the lower strata of the societyand got concentrated in the hands of the upper crust of the tribal community.
  • The unchanging bureaucracy has been unsuccessful to fulfil the role of development agency.
  • Local politicians and local elite power were also not in the interest of the tribal population.They perpetuated the situation in their self-interest.
  • Tribal Housing: Most of the tribals live in single room houses and faced challenges in accessing potable drinking water, Sanitation and electricity access.
  • Various initiatives have been taken by the Government of India over the years for the development of tribal people in the country, comprising the Scheduled Areas and Scheduled Tribes Commission, and TRIFED.

Way Forward:

  • Infrastructure facilities like road connectivity will improve   the quality of life in tribal areas, in terms of quick access to health services, better education, and social service. Special focus is also given for repair and maintenance of existing roads in tribal areas.
  • The High-Level Committee (Virginius Xaxa committee) has made numerous recommendations such as exclusive mining rights for tribals, greater freedom for tribals to make decisions on land acquisition and other common property resources and, strict implementation of the new land law, Forest Rights Act and strengthening of the PESA.
  • State government should be made to obtain permissions from owners and occupiers of land for major minerals, and consult with Gram Sabha in 5th and 6th schedule areas for minor minerals.
  • It should be mandated that all clearances (forest and environment) under forest conservation act and wildlife protection act should be taken before a lease was given.
  • Tribal cooperatives should be made eligible for grant of license of minor minerals in 5th and 6th schedule areas.