Minicheduled Tribes and Scheduled Castes Development Lal Bihari Himirika on Sunday said the land rights to tribals programme by the State Government in a few select blocks has significantly improved food security of the marginalised section of society.
Addressing the valedictory function of the three-day National Conference on ‘Tribal people, natural resources and human well being’ in Puri, the Minister said the government has decided to extend the programme to all villages in 118 tribal sub-plan (TSP) blocks.
The Minister said the government had taken up various programmes under Odisha Tribal Empowerment and Livelihoods Programme (OTELP) for the development of tribals. OTELP piloted land to landless tribals by using community resource persons and now support will be provided for convergence of various schemes for land development to benefit the tribals, he added.
“Supporting tribal development has been a notable feature of SC & ST Welfare Department and International Fund for Agricultural Development’s (IFAD) country programme and the agency is fully committed to improve the condition of tribal people,” said Vincent Darlong, country programme officer of IFAD.
Keeping in view the persistent challenges such as extremely poor economic conditions and low literacy among the tribals, one has to think out-of-the-box while devising strategies and designing programmes for their development, he added. Darlong said such national-level conferences will strengthen the advocacy process to advance the rights of the tribals in the country.
Working with governments, donors, non-governmental organisations, rural communities and many other partners, IFAD focuses on specific solutions, which can involve increasing rural poor peoples’ access to financial services, markets, technology, land and other natural resources, he added.
OTELP programme director Susanta Nanda said the IFAD-aided programme essentially focuses on empowering the tribals and enabling them to enhance their food security and improve the overall quality of life through more efficient natural resource management based on the principles of improved watershed management and more productive environmentally sound agricultural practices.