The Government of India has planned several initiatives in Assam in line with the development of tribals in the State. Assam, located in north-eastern India, has a substantial tribal population, with 3,308,570 forest dwellers who constitute 12.4% of the total population.
Arjun Munda, the Minister of Tribal Affairs, visited the State to review the implementation of tribal development programmes in Assam. These projects involve setting up Van Dhan Centres, Eklavya schools, and more.
Arjun Munda, Minister of Tribal Affairs said, “Van Dhan can be a game-changer for promoting tribal livelihoods and enterprises in Assam while Eklavya Vidyalayas will impart uniform and high-quality education to tribal children.”
400 Van Dhan Vikas Kendras
400 Van Dhan Vikas Kendras will be set up in the State. Assam Chief Minister, Himanta Biswa Sarma, sharing the news said that the setting up of 400 Van Dhan Vikas Kendras will promote tribal art and craft, providing livelihood impetus to the tribal population.
Glad that @VanDhanSeVikas will set up 400 Van Dhan Vikas Kendras to promote tribal art & craft, providing livelihood impetus to our tribal population. In a meeting with Hon Union Min @TribalAffairsIn Sri @MundaArjun dwelt on this and other critical issues incl central schemes. pic.twitter.com/VD06wqxBum
— Himanta Biswa Sarma (@himantabiswa) September 12, 2021
Van Dhan Vikas Kendras (VDVK) are centres for skill upgradation and capacity building training and setting up of primary processing and value addition facility. The State Government would procure products of the VDVKs at a minimum support price to promote local resources, the expertise of the tribal people, and to expand the reach of tribal products. Van Dhan startups aim at the socio-economic development of the tribal population of the country. 33,360 Van Dhan Vikas Kendras, subsumed into 2,224 VDVKCs of 300 forest dwellers each, have been sanctioned by TRIFED as of March 31, 2021.
7 Eklavya schools on map
7 Eklavya schools will also be set up in the State. There are 4 EMRS in Assam namely in districts Baksa (2010-11), Barpeta (2015-16), Kokrajhar (2016-17), and KarbiAnalong (2016-17) as of December 2018.
Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRSs) is an initiative of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Government of India to provide quality residential education to Scheduled Tribes (ST) students from classes 6 to 12 in remote areas. The initiative enables the students to access opportunities in education. The programme has been in operation since 1998, however, it was revamped in 2018-19 to expand the geographical outreach and enhance the quality of facilities.
According to the budget 2018-19, every block with more than 50% ST population and at least 20,000 tribal persons, will have an Eklavya Model Residential School by the year 2022. The Eklavya schools focus not only on academic education but on the overall development of the students and ready them for professional education and employment in different sectors. Each school has a capacity of 480 students.
5 TRIFOODS soon in State
CM Sarma also informed that five tribal food parks, TRIFOOD will be set up in Assam. TRIFOOD is a joint initiative of the Ministry of Food Processing Industry, Ministry of Tribal Affairs, and TRIFED (Tribal Co-operative Marketing Federation of India). Under this scheme, a tertiary value addition center is being set up in Jagdalpur in Chhattisgarh and Raigad in Maharashtra at a cost of approximately Rs 11 crores.
TRIFOOD aims to promote value addition to Minor Forest Produce (MFP). The raw material is sourced from the locals which provides them with local employment opportunities. About 25% of total raw materials are sourced locally from the identified Vandhan SHGs/Vandhan Kendras in the catchment areas as per the grade and quantity requirement, consistently for a period of 5 years.
TRIFOOD units are professionally operated by food processors who operate the facilities for a stipulated period under the administrative control of TRIFED. The scheme provides entrepreneurial opportunities in terms of raw material linkages to the units.
Boost to Tribals
The setting up of tribal food parks, eklavya schools and van dhan vikas kendras will be beneficial for the locals and give a boost to the economic and social development of the State. The VDVK will not only provide skill upgrade training but also promote tribal art and craft, thus creating job opportunities for them. Similarly, Eklavya school is a positive step for strengthening the education of tribal students in the State.