NEW DELHI: Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Sunday accused the Narendra Modi Government of diluting tribal land rights and reducing budgetary allocations for developmental programmes for adivasis.
“There has been a considerable cut in budgetary allocations for health care and other programmes for tribal development. The government’s plan to dilute environmental governance and tribal land rights is a serious threat to the welfare of adivasis,” Sonia said on the occasion of the International Day of World’s Indigenous People.
“It is also imperative that we work with them to mitigate their challenges and realise their opportunities. It is also important that the medical fraternity and government institutions recognise the unique health care challenges of our tribal population and make appropriate investments in related research and development,” she added.
The Congress president said the government must adopt the recommendations of the Virginus Xaxa Committee without any further delay.
The committee was set up by the UPA Government in 2013 to assess the socio-economic status of tribals in the country.
It had recommended changes in law to prevent the further alienation of tribals and to give them greater control over natural resources.
Praising the tribals for their role in protecting biodiversity, the Congress chief said: “India’s 104-million-strong adivasi people share a special relationship with the Congress. Tribal welfare and development have been central to the ethos of our party. Through his panchsheel for tribal development, Pandit Nehru laid the framework for the upholding of tribal rights after Independence.”
In another message, on the occasion of the 73rd anniversary of the Quit India movement, Sonia said the Congress would continue to champion the people’s rights and strive to fulfil the aspirations of freedom fighters.