Special Development Council for conservation and development of tribal art and culture, extended to 14 new districts of Odisha

Bhubaneswar: The Special Development Councils (SDC), that were set up in 9 tribal dominated districts and included around 60 lakh people in Odisha in 2017 with the prime objective of conservation and development of tribal art and culture to ensure inclusive development in those areas, have been extended to 14 more districts.

With this inclusion, the total number of SDC blocks in Odisha touches 172 while more than 80 lakh tribal people will be included in the extended SDC fold. For the development of tribal culture and art, the state government has committed to spend Rs 223 crores every year.

Welcoming SDC delegates from different parts of the state who had gathered at the Adivasi Exhibition Ground for the launching of SDC in new districts today, Honorable Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said, “Odisha is known as Land of Lord Jagannath. Our tribal culture is deeply associated with the Jagannath culture. In our cultural beliefs, nature and environment play an important role. Nature worship and brotherhood have been the base of tribal culture. From freedom struggle to politics, literature, sports and other sectors, the indigenous people of Odisha have left their indelible mark and brought laurels for the state. I am proud of their contributions.”

Odisha is home to the most diverse population of the indigenous tribes. Out of 62 janajati inhabiting in the state, 13 are Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTG). The custom and traditions, totems, cultural practices, social organization of these tribes constitute an inseparable part of tribal identity. Each has an identity unique and varied from others. SDC is a celebration of this uniqueness.

Following the formation of SDCs in 2017, in 9 tribal dominated districts covering 117 blocks and touching upon 64 lakh people, the Government of Odisha under the leadership of Naveen Patnaik became the first and only state to have an intervention to preserve the unique culture and heritage of all 62 tribes and 13 PVTGs. The additional SDCs in 14 districts will cover 85 lakh tribal population that  speak volume about the state’s leadership and commitment towards tribal development.

The Chief Minister stressed on growing interest of people in tribal art and culture these days. He cited that the tribal museum at Bhubaneswar has been an important destination for tribal culture enthusiasts and tourists.

“Tribal culture teaches us how to protect and live in unison with the nature. I hope more research should be conducted .
All our policies aim at the empowerment of tribals. I believe that the SDCs would work towards these aspects,” stated the Chief Minister.

The SDCs have been taking up various activities such as preserving the sacred groves, building culture clubs, conducting cultural events and exposure visits, identifying artisans and artists. These SDCs have been a mean to assert the indigenous identity.

The SDCs, which are democratic bodies that can decide their own fortune, are special in every way possible. They translate the felt needs of inclusiveness in all spheres of development starting from plan formulation, implementation to monitoring and execution.

These highly motivated councils have been dedicatedly working towards their goals and have completed more than 60,000 projects in such a brief span.

Janajati promoting their  Sanskruti and leading to Pragati has been the journey so far for the SDCs and the announcement of the new SDCs strengthens the resolve of the State to work tirelessly towards transformation.

Ms Roopa Roshan Sahoo, Commissioner-cum-Secretary, ST & SC Development, M&BC Welfare Department presented the welcome address at the event. A video film on activities of SDCs was screened followed by an address by Shri Pradeep Majhi, Advisor, SDC. Shri Jagannath Saraka, honourable minister, ST & SC Development, M&BCW Department and Law put his speech. A coffee table book on SDC was also launched by the honourable CM on this occasion. Shri Indramani Tripathy, director, SCSTRTI, proposed the vote of thanks.

Some Highlights of SDC

• Protection & preservation work of 4599 Tribal Sacred Groves has been taken up in the 9 districts out of which 4496 have been completed.
• As many as 1773 Tribal Culture Clubs have been identified out of which 1592 have been completed.
• 1889 clubs have been provided with Musical Instruments.
• 1001 dance troupes have been provided with Dance Costumes.
• 828 Tribal weekly hats have been identified for improvement, out of which 794 have been completed.
• About 10605 Tribal Delegates have undertaken Exposure Visits as a confidence-building measure.
• Artisan Identity Cards have been issued to 36309 Tribal Artisans.
• Tribal Bilingual Dictionaries in 21 languages and Tribal Trilingual Proficiency Modules in 21 languages have been printed and distributed in all 30 districts.
• Around 3019 Tribal Youth Clubs have been identified for providing Sports Kit for the promotion of sports and Sports Kit distributed to 2249 Youth clubs.
• 49 Tribal Resource Centres have been constructed in Sundargarh.
• a total expenditure of 281.54 Crores have been spent so far in more than 60,O00 projects.

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