New Delhi: During these challenging times of COVID-19, providing livelihoods with safety of health to 25 lakh tribal people across the country has become even more paramount for TRIFED, the nodal agency working for tribal welfare. With this aim in mind, TRIFED has been implementing several noteworthy initiatives for the empowerment of the tribals. On June 9, 2021, TRIFED organised a webinar for Hon’ble Members of Parliament to enhance their awareness about the various schemes so that their implementation can be accelerated and a comprehensive inclusion of tribal communities under these schemes across the country can be achieved. The webinar was attended by more than 30 tribal MPs, including Shri Faggan Singh, Union Minister of State, Ministry of Steel, Shri Jual Oram, Former Minister for Tribal Affairs, Shri Bisweshwar Tudu and Dr Lorho Pfoze to name a few.
Following a brief introduction by Mr. Abhinav Chaturvedi, Media Consultant, TRIFED, the webinar was started with a welcome address by Mr. Anupam Trivedi, Executive Director, TRIFED. Post which there was an extensive presentation made about the MSP for MFP and the Van Dhan Vikas Yojana. During the presentation and the discussion, the importance of Minor Forest produce in the tribal economy and how the Government has designed a holistic model of MFP-led Tribal Development and has put in place several schemes for the same were touched upon. It also went in detail about how over the past few years, the revamped ‘Mechanism for Marketing of Minor Forest Produce (MFP) through Minimum Support Price (MSP) & Development of Value Chain for MFP’ has impacted the tribal ecosystem. It has injected Rs 3000 crores into the tribal economy, even during such difficult times, aided by government push. 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. This programme, which has been spearheaded by TRIFED has emerged as a source of employment generation for tribal gatherers and forest dwellers and tribal artisans.
Along with state partners, TRIFED has been setting up Van Dhan Vikas Kendras in strategically located villages to develop Clusters as focal points of growth. 37,362 Van Dhan Vikas Kendras (VDVKs), subsumed into 2240 Van Dhan Vikas Kendra Clusters (VDVKCs) of 300 forest dwellers each, have been sanctioned by TRIFED as of date. 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 provide the Van Dhan Vikas Kendras economies of scale, livelihood and market-linkages, as well as entrepreneurship opportunities to nearly 6.67 lakh Tribal forest gatherers in 23 states and 2 UTs. The scheme has impacted the lives of more than 50 lakh tribal population.
Especially during the pandemic, this plan has been a major boon for the marginalized. Over the past 18 months, the Van Dhan Vikas Yojana has gained tremendous ground with its quick adoption and robust implementation aided by the state nodal and implementation agencies across India. The North-East is leading the way with 80% of the established VDVKs. Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh are other states where the scheme has been adopted with overwhelming results.
Moreover the beauty of the whole exercise is that it has managed to create market linkages. Operations have begun in earnest across the country in these VDVKs. More than 500 varieties of products are being value-added, packaged and marketed from these VDVKs. These include a wide array of products ranging from fruit candy (amla, pineapple, wild apple, ginger, fig, tamarind), jam (pineapple, amla, plum), juice & squash (pineapple, amla, wild apple, plum, Burmese grapes), spices (dalchini, turmeric, ginger), pickles (bamboo shoot, king chilly), processed giloy. All of which have reached the market This is in addition to 25,000 varieties of handlooms and handicrafts produced by Tribal clusters of the country. All these are being marketed on TribesIndia.com and through the 137 Tribes India outlets across the country.
During the webinar, Mr. Pravir Krishna, Managing Director spoke about “Be Vocal for Local Buy Tribal” to create an “Atmanirbhar Bharat” which has become a mission now for TRIFED. It is aligned to the Government’s guiding principle of “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas” and the Hon PMs Sankalp to set up, 50,000 VDVKs in the country to promote enterprise through value addition and marketing of tribal products The Mission will be centered around the message of Mera Van, Mera Dhan Mera Udyam. TRIFED is working on the transformation from the Van Dhan mode to
Tribal enterprise mode. By clustering these Van Dhan Vikas Kendras into Van Dhan clusters and enterprises, the aim is to achieve economies of scale and promote high value addition produce.
To further institionalise the Van Dhan Vikas Kendra Clusters, TRIFED, under the aegis of Ministry of Tribal Affairs is driving convergences with different ministries and organisations. It has MoUs in place with different ministries such as MSME, MoFPI and Ministry of Rural Development to align the scheme with similar programmes of these Ministries, resulting in the convergence of Van Dhan Vikas Kendras and its clusters with SFURTI, ESDP from MSME, Food Parks Scheme of MoFPI and NRLM, within M/o Rural Development.
These initiatives will be centred around the constitutional obligations under the Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 (PESA) and the Forest Rights Act, 2006 (FRA) to empower tribals living in the forest areas.
TRIFED, in association with Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI) is also implementing two “TRIFOOD” projects at Jagdalpur in Chhattisgarh and Raigad in Maharashtra under Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana. These two MFP processing units, which are at an advanced stage of completion, will operate in a hub and spoke model with the Van Dhan units which will be the feeder units. This will benefit the associated Tribal households. TRIFED is exploring the setting up of similar MFP based Industrial parks in partnership with State Governments of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and other states.
The Enterprise approach will provide economies of scale and help in fostering Tribal entrepreneurship in large scale with participation of NGOs, creating tribal owned , tribal managed production units while leveraging all existing funds and resource pools.
Mr. Krishna also spoke about the future plans envisaged for the Mission. The Mission envisages setting up of 200 VanDhan Producer Companies under a Special Purpose Vehicle with a network of 3000 MFP Collection centers in Haat Bazaars, 600 Godowns under MSP for MFP scheme, Setting up of 200 Mini TRIFOOD Units and 100 Common Facility Centers, Setting up of 100 TRIFOOD parks within 275 (1) districts and DMF, Development of 100 embellishment (SFURTI) clusters under MSME, Setting up of 200 Tribes India retail stores and building ecommerce platforms for TRIFOOD and Tribes India brands.
Post this detailed summary, and information dissemination session, Mr Krishna requested the Hon’ble Members of Parliament for their leadership, patronage and support for accelerating the implementation of the schemes. This was followed by an interactive session where comments and queries of the Hon’ble MPs were addressed. Their valuable suggestions were also noted for future reference and implementation. The Hon’ble MPs appreciated the efforts of the TRIFED team in implementing the schemes and the progress observed in the tribal constituencies.
Mr Krishna assured them that TRIFED team will hold regular meetings with the Hon’ble MPs and will reach out to them for taking these schemes forward.
The webinar ended with a vote of thanks.
It is hoped that the implementation of these beneficial schemes can be accelerated due to the leadership and patronage of the Hon’ble MPs and the entire tribal population may be benefitted.
Through the successful implementation of these planned initiatives in the next year, TRIFED is working towards a complete transformation of the tribal ecosystem across the country!