NEW DELHI: The Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MoTA) will hold consultation meetings with state and UT governments on Tuesday to brainstorm on improving livelihood programmes for tribal communities.
Union Minister for Tribal Affairs Arjun Munda will video-conference with chief ministers and senior officials of the state in order to seek feedback on initiating specific measures for livelihood generation for tribal communities and other traditional forest dwellers. The aim would be to improve the economic well-being of the tribal communities.
“The ministry is mulling over how to improve livelihood generation programmes for tribal communities and suggestions will be sought on video-conferencing from states and UTs,” said a source in the ministry.
With the peak season for procurement season for forest produce, the Centre and state governments to coordinate and make necessary arrangements for procurements of minor forest produce (MFP) in the state.
According to Census 2011, 40.6 per cent ST population lived below the poverty line in the country as against 20.5 per cent of the non-tribal population in the country.
There was poor access to public distribution system among tribal people and other traditional forest dwellers during the lockdown, according to a recent assessment report conducted by members of forest rights groups, researchers and experts.
In a ‘Twitter Storm’ on COVID and Forest Rights on Monday, experts said the Centre had failed to come up with a comprehensive response plan for the lockdown’s impact on tribal communities.
In responding to a tweet that the lockdown had affected tribals and OTFDs, senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh tweeted, “I entirely agree”. Civil society organisations urged the MoTA to immediately form a COVID-19 response team.
Tribal rights groups demanded that the Centre should ensure provision of adequate testing and healthcare facilities in tribal areas by deploying mobile health units and setting up COVID care centres in the tribal districts.
An expert committee report on the state of tribal health in India submitted in 2018 showed the tribal population in the country faced a triple burden of diseases with malnutrition being rampant.