200 Vandhan Growth Clusters for Manipur and 212 VanDhan Growth Clusters Planned for Nagaland

New Delhi: In order to review the state-wise progress under two programmes (MSP for MFP scheme and Van Dhan Yojana) and steps taken by the State Implementing Agencies for operationalizing of the 37,107 VDVKs and 2224 VDVK Clusters sanctioned in the 23 States and 2 UTs, TRIFED has started a series of State-level Webinars with all the stakeholders (State Nodal agencies, Team leaders of VDVKs and VDVKCs, ESDP partners) in coordination with State/ District Implementing agencies. These webinars will be conducted between 10th May and 28th May, 2021.

The first of these webinars took place with the states of Manipur and Nagaland on May 10, 2021. Attended by more than 70 participants, which included officials from State Implementing Agencies, mentors, team leaders of both VDVKs & VDVK Clusters, ESDP training partners, the webinars touched upon various aspects of the two schemes in these two states and the next steps forward, while keeping the safety protocols in place. In fact the webinars was also attended by UNICEF representatives to guide the VDVK members regarding safe practices during COVID.

With good progress made in the states of Nagaland, and Manipur regarding MFP and Van Dhan Schemes, the focus is now on developing each of the approximately 200 VDVK Clusters of 300 Tribal Families with their constituent 15 VDVKs of upto 20 families each, totalling over 3500 VDVKs in the two states, as focussed Growth Centers. For each VDVKC, the below 5-step plan is being formulated: with the following
Step 1 involves the identification of items for Procurement of MFPS in each VDVKC and strengthening it with a planned development of infrastructure including Procurement Sheds and godowns. Step 2 entails the appointment of Local NGOs or NRLM Officials as Mentors for each Cluster as per guidelines issued and Release of money to each Cluster by Transferring Rs 10 lacs to each cluster account. Step 3 will require the preparation of a Business Plans for each cluster for taking up Value addition and other formalities including opening of bank account and setting up of signages and Boards for identification of each VDVK Cluster and VDVK. Step 4 envisges the Planning and facilitating of each Cluster into Production, Branding, Packaging and Sale of its selected products as per the Business Plan. And in Step 5, ESDP, SFURTI and TRIFOOD schemes will be converged with respective clusters gradually to expand the scope of programme.

This will provide sustainable livelihoods to more 75,000 Tribal Families based on Grants for each of the above activities as a viability gap funding for aspirational and far flung areas of the state to promote growth based on local asset base and skill sets of the people residing in the two states.

In the state of Manipur, there are 3000 Van Dhan Vikas Kendras subsumed into 200 Van Dhan Vikas Kendra clusters and approximately 60,000 tribal entrepreneurs are benefited. Whereas in the state of Nagaland, there are 3090 Van Dhan Vikas Kendras subsumed into 206 Van Dhan Vikas Kendra clusters and more than 61,000 tribal entrepreneurs are benefited. As for the MSP for MFP scheme, as of now, 1 MFP is being procured in the state of Manipur and 6 infrastructure units have been established. Whereas, in Nagaland, 3 MFPs are being procured and 20 infrastructure units and 18 procurement centres have been set-up. During the webinar, the teams from the two states clarified all related matters for which they needed some inputs and also discussed the next steps with regard to the two schemes.

A series of 25 such Webinars has been planned with Top Officials of each of the partner states of the country. TRIFED, Ministry of Tribal Affairs has implemented several initiatives across the country to help improve the livelihoods of the tribal population. Several of these were accelerated to also help the beleaguered tribals who had been severely impacted due to the pandemic.

Among the various programmes, which have emerged as a panacea to the tribal population is the Van Dhan tribal start-ups and the Mechanism for Marketing of Minor Forest Produce (MFP) Through Minimum Support Price (MSP) & Development of Value Chain for MFP’ Scheme that provides MSP to gatherers of forest produces and introducing value addition and marketing through tribal groups and clusters. A flagship scheme of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, drawing its strength from The Forest Rights Act of 2005, it aims to provide remunerative and fair
prices to tribal gatherers of forest produces, almost three times higher than would be available to
them from middle men, trebling their incomes.

The Van Dhan tribal start-ups, a component of the same scheme, is a programme for value addition, branding & marketing of Minor Forest Produces by establishing Van Dhan Kendras to facilitate creation of sustainable livelihoods for the forest-based tribes. A typical Van Dhan Vikas Kendra includes 20 tribal members. 15 such Van Dhan Vikas Kendras form 1 Van Dhan Vikas Kendra cluster. The Van Dhan Vikas Kendra Clusters (VDVKCs) provide Van Dhan Vikas Kendras economies of scale, livelihood and market-linkages, as well as entrepreneurship opportunities.

Together, both the schemes offer a great opportunity to the tribals to improve their income and employment. To continue with the progress made in the implementation and take it to the next level, TRIFED had planned the transformation from this Van Dhan mode to the Tribal enterprise mode last year. The convergence of the Van Dhan Yojana with the MSP for MFP is one of the main changes planned in this phase. A way of doing that is through the convergence of the Van Dhan Yojana to the Enterprise Model: from processing to cluster development under SFURTI (Scheme of Fund for Regeneration of Traditional Industries) and TRIFOOD.

The webinars being held in this month will offer an opportunity to the State implementing agencies and the other stakeholders to once again touch base, review and correct course of action so that maximum benefit that can be derived by the efficient implementation of these schemes accrue to the tribal population.

With the successful implementation of these planned initiatives, TRIFED hopes for the complete transformation of the tribal ecosystem through collection procurement under MSP for MFP Scheme and value addition of MFPs under Van Dhan Yojana and usher in a revolution across the country.