Non Timber Forest Produce like gum plants, oil seeds, flowers, medicinal plants and fooding products like Mahua, Jamun, Mango, Tamarind and Amla has been found to be highest income contributors in the tribal households.
Access to these resources have backboned the financial self-sufficiency of tribal women in the Maoist-infested backward Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra. Now empowering them to take control of their life decisions and family issues is the key to mitigate tribal distress issues like mal-nutrition, maternal & child mortality and poverty, said Dr. Hemlata J. Wankhede Chaudhari, Principal, Government Science College, Gadchiroli , while delivering her lecture on the topic ‘Upliftment of tribal population with reference to women at Gadchiroli District.’
She was speaking at the Tribal Science Congress during the 108th Indian Science Congress. Malaria and Elephantiasis, the diseases almost irradicated at the urban India are still the major health hazards for forest dwelling tribals. That’s just an example of stark difference between both worlds, she highlighted. Her lecture highlighted the need for education among tribals and empowerment of tribal women.
The Tribal Meet was inaugurated by Dr. Vijay Laxmi Saxena, General President, ISCA. In her address Dr. Saxena said that ‘Seva Johar’ which means the service of mother nature is the gist of tribal life. She congratulated the RTM Nagpur University for organising the Tribal meet for the first time in the history of Indian Science Congress. Tribals are the best conservationists of the biodiversity. No one can look after the forest better than tribals and their traditional wisdom should be blended with the modern knowledge to achieve the sustainability.
Prof. Pardeshi Lal, Vice Chancellor of the Nagaland University, chaired the first technical session of the tribal meet. Natural Resource Bases Economy is the solution he came up with to balance out the economic growth of tribals with environment protection. He elaborated the role that science and technology has played in tribal upliftment and women empowerment in Nagaland.
Prof. Prakash Halami, Chief Scientist, CSIR-CFTRI unveiled the striking benefits of tribal foods. Prof. Vinod Bala Taxak, Dr Arti Prasad and Prof. Geetanjali Dash also delivered technical lectures.
Start-Up & Career Guidance for Tribal Youth and Success Stories
As part of Tribal Meet, a special session was arranged on the start-up and career guidance for the tribal youth which saw overwhelming response. Mr. Ravindra Thakre, IAS, Dr. Prashant Bokare, Vice Chancellor, Gondwana University, Mr. Sanjay Nathe of Rojgar Noukri Sandarbha, and a handful of career experts guided the attendee students.
In another session, the social leaders from the diverse institutions working for the tribal upliftment and protection of the rights of the tribals addressed the symposium to present their ideas and visions for the empowerment of the tribal communities.
Earlier in the inauguration ceremony, RTMNU Vice Chancellor, Dr Sanjay Dudhe, said that sustainable development is the future of humanity. “The tribal way of life has been always sustainable and in addition, tribals also managed to conserve their cultural traits so far. We all must respect our roots,” he said while appreciating the tribal students who attended the meet in large numbers. Dr. Shamrao Koreti , Convenor, set the tone of the symposium with the idea that tribals are not liability but the assets.
Mr. Aditya Shah, the 14th descendant of the Gond Raja Bakht Buland Shah, the founder of the Nagpur City hailed the meet. Dr. S. Ramakrishna, General Secretary-Membership Affairs, ISCA, Dr. Raju Hiwase, Registrar, RTMNU were present. Prof. Hina Nagbhire and Dr. Santosh Girhe conducted the meet, which started with a melodious welcome song presented by Ms. Maya Koreti .