Van Dhan Yojana: Promoting enterprise among rural women in Rajasthan

New Delhi: 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 are among the many initiatives of TRIFED, Ministry of Tribal Affairs that have proved helpful in alleviating the economic distress of the tribals by generating employment in these challenging times. One success story in particular that has been making waves in the recent past is from a VDVK Cluster the western state of Rajasthan.
In the past year, 3019 VDVKs have been grouped into 189 VDVKCs have been set up in Karnataka and are helping approximately 57,292 tribal beneficiaries. As of date 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 in less than two years across the country.
One resounding story among these clusters in Rajasthan is that of the Van Dhan Vikas Kendra Cluster, Shrinath Rajeevika Magwas.
Under the dynamic leadership of its Champion entrepreneur, Smt Mugli Bai, the VDVK cluster in a short period of time has sold a large amount of herbal gulal and has reported sales worth Rs 5,80,000.
The tribals of Jhadol in Udaipur collect fresh flowers from the densely forested areas of this region. They collect palash, kaner, ranjka and genda flowers. The collected flowers are then deposited at the Shrinath Van Dhan Vikas Kendra, Mangwas. The flowers are boiled in water (in large utensils) for over 2 to 3 hours so that the water absorbs the natural colour of the flowers. After that the coloured water is sifted out and cornflour is added to it. To this, they also added rose water and then the whole concoction is pulverized manually by the tribals. Post this stage, the hand-processed herbal gulal concoction is dried and the dry gulal filtered to remove any unwanted elements. The processed gulal is then packaged attractively in air-tight packets and sold! More than 600 women are involved in processing these leaves into herbal gulal.
This incredible story of entrepreneurship while retaining their age-old practices and traditions is an example of how Van Dhan Yojana is benefitting the tribal population.
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 success of the programme can be gauged from the fact that already 50 lakh tribals have been impacted by the Van Dhan start-ups programme up until now.
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. 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.