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Roles and Effect of Center and State in welfare of tribal Communities in India

What are tribes?

A tribe can be described as a social division from traditional society. They include families that are related to each other by blood relations, social, economic, religion, or the same culture and idioms. They have some special characteristics and qualities which make them a unique cultural, social, and political entity. The people living in these families are known as tribal people. According to the 2011 census, India has an 8.4 percent tribal population, which is the largest tribal population in the world. Most of them live in central India, although they constitute just 10 percent of the total population of the region. But these 10 percent, which comprises about 75 percent of the total tribal population.

Tribal people are also called Adivasis. Other terms such as atavika, vanavasi (forest dwellers), or girijan (hill people) are also used for tribal people in India, but the term tribal describes a particular meaning, which brings the originality of people living in that region.

The Government of India recognizes 573 communities as Scheduled Tribes, who are eligible for the government policies and reservation in services, schools, and colleges. To include any group of Scheduled Tribes, a procedure is followed under Article 342 of the Indian Constitution. Based on their characteristics such as primitive traits, distinct culture, geographical isolation, and their shy nature with the community at large.

The tribal belt in India consists of Central and Northeast India, extending to Pakistan in the west and Myanmar in the east. The tribal belt is the most poverty-stricken region. Many Adivasis live in the forests but the forests are getting reduced day by day and the Adivasis are compelled to do cultivation activities. Mostly where they reside land is in less proportion and they are restricted not to chop trees in some regions, whereas some miners and loggers bribe the politician to get access to resources and gain profit.

Constitutional Provisions:
The Indian Constitution has special provisions for tribal people or scheduled tribes.

Article 342 specifies tribes or tribal communities, or parts of or groups within tribes or tribal communities, that are considered to be Scheduled Tribes for the purposes of the Constitution in relation to the State or Union Territory.

Article 164 specifies the establishment of a Ministry of Tribal Welfare in each of the states of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, and Orissa, which have a large concentration of Scheduled Tribes. These Ministries are responsible for the well-being of the Scheduled Tribes in their respective states.

Article 244 of the Constitution calls for the inclusion of a Fifth Schedule in the Constitution to provide provisions for the administration of Scheduled Areas and Tribes of States with a sizable tribal population (other than those of Assam)

Article 275 provides the Union Government to make special funds available to state governments in order to promote the welfare of Scheduled Tribes.

The Indian Constitution provides protection and safeguards for Scheduled Tribes in order to promote their educational and economic interests. Seats in the Lok Sabha and State Vidhan Sabhas have been reserved for Scheduled Tribes under Article 330 and 332 of the Indian Constitution. A Commissioner has been appointed by the President of India under Article 338 of the Indian Constitution. The Commissioner's primary responsibility is to review all matters pertaining to the constitutional safeguards for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and report to the President on the effectiveness of these safeguards.

There is a provision for a Welfare Department in the States of Indian Union in Article 164 (1) of the Constitution. Welfare Departments under the supervision of a Minister have been formed in Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, and Orissa. In addition to these states, welfare departments have been formed in Tripura, West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, and Manipur.

Major problems faced by tribal communities:

The tribal people own small and antisocial land because their crop yield is very low, due to which they remain in debt. A very small percentage of people participate in the secondary and tertiary sectors. Most of the tribals are illiterate, which is a major concern for the development of tribal people. The tribals demanded them to return that land, as the forests not only provide them with the materials to make their homes but all provide them with many essential things like fruits, fuel, herbal medicine to cure diseases, etc.

Their religion makes them realize that their many spirits live in trees and forests. Their folk stories also describe the relationship between human beings and spirits. Because of such an emotional connection with the forest, tribal have reacted so vigorously against the government for restrictions on their traditional rights.

The economic condition of the tribal people is not much affected by the programs of the tribal government. Due to inadequate bank facilities, tribal people have to depend on moneylenders. The tribal communities, who are largely in debt, insist that the Agricultural Debt Relief Act be passed so that they can reclaim their mortgaged land. About 90 percent of the tribals are engaged in farming, many of whom are landless and practice shifting farming. There is a need to familiarize the tribal people with new technology for farming.

Central government schemes:

In 1987, the Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India (TRIFED) came into existence. It functions under the administrative board of the minister of tribal affairs and is a national-level apex organization. Its head office is located in New Delhi and it covers 13 regional offices located in a different part of the country.

The main objective is the socio-economic development of tribal people by marketing their products such as metal craft, tribal textiles, pottery, and tribal paintings on which their vital portion of income depends. TRIFED acts as a facilitator and service provider for the trade of their products. It aims to empower tribal people with suitable knowledge, tools, and information so that they can achieve their goals in a more systematic and scientific manner. It also builds the capacity of tribal people through sensitization, formation of Self-Help Groups (SHGs), and imparting training for an undertaking of specific tasks. 

The main two functions of TRIFED are Minor Forest Product (MFP) Development and Retail Marketing and Development. Non-wood products are generally called Minor Forest Product (MFP), which is an important source of income for many tribal peoples. These Minor products include bamboo, leaves, gums, dyes, resins, and different types of food such as wild fruits, lac, nuts, etc.

MFP has crucial economic and social value for forest dwellers as the livelihood of approx. 100 million people are attained by the collection and marketing of minor products. Forest dweller depends on MFP for their food, shelter, medicine, etc., tribal's 20 to 40 percent annual income is derived from MFP. MFP has a major role in women empowerment as most MFP are collected and sold by women only.

TRIFED tries to create sustainable marketing and business opportunity for improving the livelihood of tribal people. It explores the market possibility for marketing tribal products on the sustainable market and create a brand. It has been supplying several handlooms, handicrafts, and food products with the help of different suppliers like individual tribal artisans, tribal SHGs, Organisations/Agencies/NGOs working with tribals.

Van Dhan Scheme

Van Dhan scheme was launched by the ministry of tribal affairs and TRIFED on 14th April 2018. Under this scheme, the ministry tries to improve the tribal income through the value addition of tribal products. The scheme focuses on the development of economical tribal people involved in collecting minor food products by helping them at minimum utilization of natural resources availing them a sustainable living standard.

Skill up-gradation and capacity building training primary processing and value addition facilities are also set up under this scheme by Van Dhan Vikas Kendra. Aggregation of produce would be done by self-help groups at the unit level, which includes 30 members forming Van Dhan Vikas 'Samuh'. primary value addition would also be undertaken by self-help groups by using equipment such as small cutting and shaving tools, decorticator, dryer, hacking tools acceptor based upon minor forest products available in that area.

Provision is made for the required housing/infrastructure support to be built in one of the beneficiaries' houses/parts of houses or in a Government/gram panchayat building.

Depending upon MFPs available in that area, a tool kit will be provided, which includes equipment such as small cutting and sieving tools, decorticators, dryers, packaging tools, etc.

Self-help groups will connect with the financial institute, banks for working capital, Within the same village, a group of 10 such self-help groups must from van Dhan Vikas Kendra.
 Following the effective operation of the samuhs in a Kendra, common infrastructure facilities (pucca Kendra) in the form of a building, warehouse, and so on may be given to the Kendra in the following process for use by the samuh members.

One segment is affected most in ongoing crisis data scheduled tribes who mostly depend on minor food product activities such as gathering for their income. More than 50 tribal communities live in Maharashtra and the van Dhan team is taking the initiative to find a platform to market their products in order to generate livelihood. Several initiatives are being taken to combat the impact of the crisis.

Vanbandhu Kalyan Yojana

For the hostile development and where the welfare of tribal people, the Central Government of India has launched Vanbandhu Kalyan Yojana. The scheme was launched by the ministry of tribal affairs in July 2014 for which rupees 100 crores were allotted in the duration of 2014 to 15. The scheme was launch on a pilot basis and will be implemented in only one block of each of the ten selected states. The state which is selected for the scheme in Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh Himachal Pradesh Telangana Orissa Jharkhand Chhattisgarh Rajasthan Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. The areas within the state are selected on the basis of recommendations on the respective state.

The Vanbandhu Kalyan Yojana aims to bring the tribal population of the country with other social groups and include them in the overall progress of the nation. At the initial stage, those blocks have at least 33% of the tribal population will be targeted. For strengthening economic needs, delivery of goods and services will be carried out by already existing instituted.
The major aim of the scheme is to provide better living standards and quality of life to schedule tribes improving access to and quality of education generating resource for long terms reaching infrastructural gaps and lags and protecting tribal Heritage and culture.

Some issues while implementation of Vanbandhu Kalyan Yojana. There was a lack of implementation of scheme and funds available for tribal sub-plan components of CSS or state plants were allotted. Issues for also praised due to the absence of proper education and physical remoteness of the tribal area.

Eklavya Model Residential schools (EMRSs)

Eklavya model residential schools (EMRSs) under the ministry of tribal affairs has been approved by the central government of India. Till the year 2022, every block with more than 50% scheduled Tribes population and at least 20,000 tribal people will be having Eklavya model residential school. These models are granted under Article 275 (1) of the Indian constitution. An autonomous society under the ministry of tribal affairs will be run under EMRSs which will be similar to Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti.

The motive of EMRSs to provide scheduled Tribes a quality education at the middle level and higher level so that they can get benefit from the reservation in high and professional education courses and as jobs in Government and public and private sector. Also, they can approach the best opportunities in education like non-scheduled tribes population.

Eklavya model residential school will not only benefit St students but can impact quality education to scheduled tribes' children. This scheme not only include school building but also includes hostels and staff quarters, playgrounds, computer labs, and teacher resource room and will immensely benefit tribal people. By relying on concrete interventions to meet Scheduled tribes' (STs') educational needs, their quality of life is expected to improve to that of the other social classes, with a measurable effect by the 2021 Census.

Ministry of food processing industry, Ministry of tribal affairs and TRIFED have jointly initiated TRIFOOD scheme under which tertiary value addition centre will be set up. In Jagdalpur in Chhattisgarh and Raigad in Maharashtra centre will be set up at a cost of approx. 11 crore rupees. This scheme will promote value addition in minor forest products (MFPs) as Vandan Yojana. Under the administrative control of TRIFED, the units will be investigated by the reputed professional food processor who will operate the facilities for a given period of time. TRIFED in order for the assets created to be adequately commercially utilized in accordance with their installed capacities and designed objectives. Creating local job options for tribal communities and delivering entrepreneurship opportunities in terms of raw material linkages to the units as part of the process. Approximately 25% of the total raw material is assumed to be produced locally from the identical Vandhan SHGs or Vandhan Kendras in the catchment areas as per the quality required and the grade, constantly for a period of 5 years. The production of traditional mahua drinks will be mainstreamed and supplied all over the country under this project. TRIFED launched its own virtual office on its foundation day, on 6th august 2020.

Schemes launched by State Governments for Tribal welfare

Several programs and schemes for the development and welfare of scheduled tribes have been launched by various state governments of India. Some of the programs which are common in the state sectors are Pre-Matric scholarship and stipends, Exemption from tuition and examination fee, Provision of educational equipment, Provision of mid-day meals, setting up ashram schools, Grants for the construction and maintenance of hostel and school buildings, Provisions of land and irrigation, Supply of bullocks, agricultural implements, seeds and fertilizers, Development of cottage industries and communications, Co-operative societies, Colonisation of shifting cultivation, supply of poultry, sheep, pigs, goats, etc., Medical facilities, Drinking water supply schemes, Provision of house sites and houses, Legal aid, and Grants-in-aid to non-official organizations working at state levels. For the effective implementation of the schemes, the Tribal welfare department plays a key role for every state. 

First of all, let's discuss about Madhya Pradesh, despite foreign cultural influence, Madhya Pradesh tribes have preserved their culture and traditions. Their culture is characterized by the fusion of Scythian and Dravidian cultures. The Madhya Pradesh tribes reside in the early stage, far from the main development stream.

They mostly live in the forest areas and are entirely dependent for their livelihood on the forest products, plants, wood, etc. Madhya Pradesh tribal community has continued to practice farming and cultivation. The total population of the state is 7,26,26,809 according to the 2011 census, in which 1,53,16,784 is the total population of Scheduled Tribes which is 21.1% of the total population of the state.

Maharishi Valmiki Incentive Scheme:

The tribal affairs department of the state has passed IITs, AIIMS Admissions, Clay Entry, to students who pass the eligibility test for admission to prominent academic institutions by various competitive exams in order to reward and encourage the boys and girls of schedule tribes. NDA admission, after admission to these colleges, to commemorate the manifestation of Maharishi Valmiki.

This scheme provides an income limit of Rs. 300000 /  incentive up to Rs. 50,000 /  and an Rs. 25,000 /  incentive rate for income greater than Rs. 300000/- for chosen students in the National Competitive Examination JEE, NEET, CLET, etc., and for this, the student must apply his or her own application to the district office. This program would inspire and empower students to work harder in order to pass various competitive examinations. They will secure jobs or start their own businesses if they gain admission to prestigious academic institutions. This scheme has the potential to significantly improve the well-being of tribal groups.

Housing scheme:

This scheme was launched by the Madhya Pradesh government on the year 2013, specifically for the students of scheduled tribes. The primary goal of this scheme is to ensure that students are not prevented from continuing their education outside of their place of residence so that students within the district can be provided with rental support outside of their home residence in order to continue their studies at the college level. Housing assistance is provided at the district headquarters level at a rate of 1250 per month per student, and at the tehsil and growth block level at a rate of 1000 per month per student.

Basti Development Scheme:

This is a rural area-based scheme initiated by the government for infrastructural development in Scheduled Tribe-dominated villages with a population of 50% or more Scheduled Tribes. As we know that the lack of infrastructure is a deterrent to tribal communities' economic development. This scheme focuses on development projects such as safe drinking water, lighting, and electrical system, pucca roads in the internal area, drains, main roads, and social work.

Construction projects with essential infrastructures, such as municipal centres, may be considered for inclusion in the scheme. The scheme's aim is to lift scheduled tribes out of deprivation and into the next level of society which is a must for the welfare of tribal communities.

Tejaswini Rural Women's empowerment scheme:

The state government has agreed to initiate the rural woman empowerment scheme 'Tejaswini' in order to empower women socially and economically. This scheme is operational from the year 2007. This scheme has been in place since 2007. This scheme was enforced in six districts by the Mahila Vitta Evam Vikas Nigam in collaboration with IFAD: Balaghat, Panna, Mandla, Tikamgarh, Chhatarpur, and Dindori. In these districts, 12759 women's SHG groups of over 168000 women are working towards a goal of 12000 SHG.

It ensures market support as well as both backward and forward linkages. Many tribal women are part of this program. The main objective of this scheme is, by improving participants' skills and providing market and policy assistance, the project boosts income generation. It improves women's access to accessible literacy and labour-saving infrastructure while also increasing their participation in local government. It also promotes government initiatives that promote women's empowerment. Creation of strong and sustainable SHGs and federations improved opportunities for tribal women to earn a living.

One of the best examples of the practices of the Tejaswini rural women empowerment scheme is the Cultivation of Kodo-Kutki (Minor Millets). Millet's cultivation was a win-win condition for all woman members and the federation. Profits are divided between NCMS and its founders. In the first year, millet yield totalled 2245.5 quintals. From their plot of land, each woman farmer was able to produce 1.5 quintals. Twenty kilograms were donated to the federation, while the woman farmers held 130 kilograms.

Let's move further to Chhattisgarh, approximately one-third of the population of Chhattisgarh is tribal. Another 16% belong to scheduled castes, while 42% belong to other castes. The state is mainly rural, with about 80% of its population in rural areas, and depend largely on agriculture as a livelihood. Chhattisgarh is home to 42 tribal communities.

The Baigas, Kamar, Pahadi Korba, Birhor, Bhunjias, Pandos, and Abhujmadiyas are the state's Primitive Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTG), as announced by the Union government. The state government is committed to tribal communities' socioeconomic and educational growth. Authorities safeguard their cultural sensibilities from exploitation and violence. There has been a steady increase in the number of educated tribals. The educational standard of tribal youths is steadily improving.

These are some schemes launched by the Chhattisgarh government:

Ashram Shala Yojana:

Under this scheme, Ashram Schools have been developed in areas of the state where there are no educational facilities available, such as Vananchal and Dharastha. These ashrams contain classes ranging from first to eighth grades.

Jawahar Adivasi Utkarsh Student Scheme:

This scheme aims to develop promising students from the Scheduled Castes in the state by offering access to excellent residential educational institutions (both government and private) to provide better educational opportunities.

Indira Van Mitan Yojana:

In order to make forest dwellers in Chhattisgarh self-sufficient, the state's Chief Minister announced the launch of the Indira Van Mitan Yojana on the occasion of World Tribal Day, which is on August 9, 2020. Under this program, youth groups will be organized in 10,000 villages in the state's tribal area, and all forest-based economic activities will be carried out by these groups. With the implementation of this scheme, new opportunities for self-employment and development for forest dwellers will be made available via these organizations.

Arrangements for the purchase, manufacturing and selling of forest produce will be made by groups under this scheme. The state government has set a goal of developing forest produce processing centres in each tribal development block. Via this scheme, groups will be empowered to manage trees in order to harvest forest produce from forest areas and reap economic benefits. The purchasing of forest produce would be organized through the community in order to achieve the best price for forest produce.

Chhattisgarh Tribal Development Programme

The program focuses on two tribal-populated Indian states: Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand. The target groups include all households in the chosen villages, which have a tribal, Primitive Tribal Groups (PTGs), and scheduled caste community that accounts for at least 50% of the total population and where the majority of households live below the poverty line. The Program's goal is to create and adopt a replicable model that ensures household food security, enhances livelihood opportunities and improves the overall quality of life of the tribal people through the safe and fair usage of natural resources.

To accomplish this, the scheme empowers tribal grassroots organizations and user groups, including women and other marginalized groups, encourages practices that generate sustainable increases in land and water resource output and productivity, and generates sources of income other than agriculture, especially for the landless.

The general approach is to foster processes of awareness creation, legal literacy, social research, and mobilization for the development of self-selecting communities among vulnerable women and marginalized groups. The program assists recipients in identifying, planning, and implementing programs, as well as providing the necessary services and assistance. Beneficiaries control the resources immediately after receiving appropriate training and skill-building. These are provided by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) with a track record of success in implementing these types of initiatives.

The next state is Jharkhand, the total population of the state is 32,988,134 in which the Scheduled Tribe (ST) population is 8,645,042 which is around 26.20% of the total population as per the 2011 census. The Scheduled Tribes are mostly rural, with 91.7 percent of them living in villages.

The schemes which are launched by the Jharkhand government for tribal welfare are:

Mukhya Mantri Laxmi Ladali Yojana:

This is a state-sponsored scheme that focuses on ensuring security, education, and a stable future for a girl child born into below poverty line (BPL) family (Income should not exceed). The primary criterion for receiving this advantage is institutional distribution. This first or second girl child born by institutional delivery receives a total of Rs. 30000/- before she reaches the age of 05 and this balance is added to the beneficiary's post office account.

When she reaches Class 6, she will receive a one-time payment of Rs 2,000; in Class 9, she will receive Rs 4,000, and in Class 11, she will receive Rs 7,500. When she is in Class 12, the state will provide her with a stipend of Rs 200 per month. In addition, the government will pay Rs 60,000 at the time of her marriage.

Marang Gomke Jaipal Singh Munda Transnational Scholarship Scheme:

This one-of-a-kind scheme would allow ten young students from the state's scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, minorities, and backward groups to study in designated institutions in the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland every year. This scheme will play a very important role in the welfare of tribal communities as education is one of the most important areas that takes us and society to the next level.

In Bihar, the state government of Bihar has initiated several schemes for the social, educational, and economic welfare of people from ST communities. one of them is,

Scheduled Tribe Civil Service Promotion Scheme:

The scheme's key goal is to offer financial assistance to meritorious students of scheduled tribes for further preparation in the preliminary examination of the Civil Services Competition Examination, which is administered by the Bihar Public Service Commission in Patna and the Union Public Service Commission in New Delhi.

Candidates from Scheduled Tribes who passed the preliminary examination (CH) of the Combined Competitive Examination held by the Bihar Public Service Commission in Patna are eligible to apply. They will then get a lump sum benefit of Rs 1,00,000 / - (Rupees One Lakh)

Many schemes have been launched by the central and state governments, which have proven to be very effective on the ground level, but many tribal people are still unaware of the schemes. The government can start awareness programs in different tribal areas with the help of people who are already familiar with the region and NGOs, so that the tribal community can take advantage of the schemes.

Award Winning Article Is Written By: Ms.Drishti Chhattani
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