New Delhi: Improving the livelihoods of the tribal population and bettering the lives of the underprivileged and beleaguered tribals has been the mission of TRIFED, the Ministry of Tribal Affairs. With this in mind, TRIFED has implemented several initiatives, keeping in mind the Hon ‘ble PM’s clarion call of building an Atmanirbhar Bharat.
Among the various initiatives, which have helped in alleviating the economic distress of the tribals, are the Van Dhan tribal start-ups and the Mechanism for Marketing of Minor Forest Produce (MFP) Through Minimum Support Price (MSP) & Development of Value Chain for MFP’ Scheme that provides MSP to gatherers of forest produces and introduce value addition and marketing through tribal groups and clusters. These programmes have gained widespread acceptance across the country.
In particular, the Van Dhan tribal start-ups, especially has been very successful.
In less than 18 months, 37259 Van Dhan Vikas Kendras (VDVKs), subsumed into 2224 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 will 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. 50 lakh tribals have been impacted by the Van Dhan start-ups programme up until now.
During TRIFED’s recent “Sankalp se Siddhi” – Village & Digital Connect Drive from April 1, 2021, which entailed teams visit villages across of the country, several success stories from different states stood out. One of these success stories was from the southern State of Karnataka.
In the past year, 585 VDVKs which have been grouped into 39 VDVKCs have been set up in Karnataka and are helping approximately 11400 tribal beneficiaries. The State Tribal Welfare department is the nodal department while LAMPS Federation, Mysore is the implementation partner in the State for the programme.
Sanjivini Pradhan Mantri Vikas Kendra, a Van Dhan Vikas Kendra Cluster, in Pakshirajapura, Hunsuru in Mysore district has now been operational for a while .The products that are being processed and value -added by the tribals in this VDVK cluster are herbal hair oil, Malabar tamarind, and honey. Under the leadership of Smt Neema Srinivas, their champion entrepreneur, the tribals handed over packaged bottles of herbal hair oil to TRIFED officials. This product will soon be sold via TRIFED’s extensive network of Tribes India retail outlets and TribesIndia.com.
Tribals at the newly operational Vanasiri Pradhana Mantri Van Dhan Vikas Kendra Cluster at Kote, Mysore have been processing and packaging wild honey in Glass Bottles which will soon be sold by TRIFED. Other processed products include tamarind at this VDVKC.
In Pradhana Mantri Chaithanya Van Dhan Vikas Kendra cluster, the tribal members have processed broom into broomsticks. Other products being worked upon by the members of the various VDVKs within this cluster are honey, dalchini, shikakai and plates made of adike leaves. All these products are expected to be launched in May 2021 following which they will be procured by TRIFED.
It is hoped that in the coming days more and more success stories arising from the Van Dhan Yojana initiative which fosters Vocal For Local and an Atmanirbhar Bharat will come to the fore and also lead to optimising the income and livelihoods of tribal people and finally a transformation of their lives.