New Delhi: The Union Minister for Tribal Affairs Shri Arjun Munda has written a letter to the Chief Ministers of 15 States to advise the State Nodal Agencies for undertaking procurement of Minor Forest Produce (MFP) at Minimum Support Price (MSP) in right earnest. These States include Uttar Pradesh; Gujarat; Madhya Pradesh; Karnataka; Maharashtra; Assam; Andhra Pradesh; Kerala; Manipur; Nagaland; West Bengal; Rajasthan; Odisha; Chhatisgarh; and Jharkhand.
In the letter, he said that the current situation brought about due to outbreak of Covid-19 has posed an unprecedented challenge across the country. Almost all the States and UTs in India are affected by it, to varying degrees. Poor and marginalized including the tribal communities are most vulnerable in this situation. This being the peak season for collection and harvest of Minor Forest Produce (MFP)/Non Timber Forest Produce (NTFP) in many regions makes it imperative to initiate certain proactive measures to ensure the wellbeing of the tribal communities and their economy based on MFP/NTFP by providing them safety and ensuring their livelihoods.
Shri Munda said that this is essential to obviate the movement of Middlemen from Urban areas to tribal habitations and thereby check any eventuality of spread of Corona Virus among the tribal communities. Funds are available with these States under the said scheme and additional funds, if any required shall be made available by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs. The particulars of all district level nodal officers in these States handling the work may be shared with the Ministry. For any further support, the Managing Director of the Tribal Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (TRIFED) could be contacted.
He said that the Ministry of Tribal Affairs is also contemplating to undertake awareness generation on Social Distancing among the tribal communities through Van Dhan Self Help Groups.
The implementation of Pradhan Mantri Van Dhan Yojana (PMVDY), the scheme for facilitating creation of sustainable livelihoods and promoting tribal enterprises, has gained momentum among the States. 1205 Van Dhan Vikas Kendras (VDVKs) have been sanctioned in 27 States and 1 Union Territory involving 3.60 lakh tribal gatherers thereby putting them on path of enterprise.