New Delhi: The Ministry of Tribal Affairs has taken up various proactive measures for implementation as part of the process to save tribal persons from Pandemic Corona Virus (Covid-19) and to restore growth in the economy after the Covid-19 pandemic and resultant movement restrictions. The Union Minister of Tribal Affairs has written letters to Chief Ministers of 15 States to sensitize respective 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; Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand.
Three Teams of officers have been constituted by the Ministry to prepare the roadmap and take necessary measures for implementation/realization of each of these initiatives to restore growth in economy after the Covid-19 Pandemic.
The Ministry of Home Affairs has vide Order No. 40-3/2020-DM-I(A) dated 16/04/20 issued guidelines aiming to relax the provisions of lockdown for Collection, harvesting and processing of Minor Forest Produce(MFP)/ Non Timber Forest Produce (NTFP) by STs and other forest dwellers in forest areas across the country.
Regarding Eklavya Model Residential Schools &Eklavya Model Day Boarding Schools (EMRS & EMDBS), the Ministry has directed the States to shut all the schools w.e.f 21.03.2020 by rescheduling the holidays in the these Schools till 25.05.2020. Subsequently, in view of full lockdown announced on 24.03.2020; States were directed to completely curtail all activities in the schools. Students appearing in Board Examinations and attending special classes may be retained with due care in the campus. Such students appearing in Board examinations may be sent home, soon after completion of respective papers. Special drive encouraged to sanitize the school campus including academic block, hostels and other common areas. It has been emphasized that directions of local authorities are to be strictly adhered to. Teachers expected to avail holidays after completion of declaration of results. Results to be communicated to the students by post and SMS. General activities planned for vacations to be carried during the vacation period to ensure that the campus is kept in readiness for commencement of new academic session. Admission of students in class VI and lateral entry in classes IX and XI to be completed in all respects during this period before the schools re-open.
The Ministry has advised the State Governments / UT Administration to ensure that tribal areas and tribal population are adequately covered by taking all measures. It has also advised the establishments and institutions for Scheduled Tribes like hostels for ST boys and girls, Ashram schools for ST students etc. to ensure scrupulous adherence to instructions in the matter of Covid-19. Strict compliance with the orders pertaining to movement restrictions issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs on social distancing, frequent and thorough washing of hands, supply and use of hand sanitizers, cancellation of all group functions / activities, complete ban on entry of outsiders, sanitization of the premises.
The Ministry has taken some more initiatives which are as follows :
1. All pending cases of National Fellowships and National Top-Class Scholarships that could not be released by 31st March, 2020, have been processed.
2. In respect of Pre-matric and Post-matric scholarship, the Ministry has asked all States to ensure that the Scholarship amounts are released to the beneficiaries. States have been asked to send proposals, in the event of any shortage of funds.
3. All requests of National Overseas Scholarship students abroad received through High Commissions are taken on priority.
4. TRIFED has organised a Webinar in association with UNICEF wherein members of Van Dhan Vikas Kendra were made aware about COVID-19 and related health issues.
5. Large number of NGOs financed by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs are engaged in relief works including providing dry ration, cooked food, providing health care services through Mobile Dispensaries etc. Their initiatives are being shared on NGO Division, Ministry of Tribal Affairs Facebook page.
6. All NGOs registered with Ministry have been released funds for 2019-20 and grievances, if any, are being resolved online through NGO portal.