NEW DELHI: Around three per cent of the total confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country were from 177 tribal-dominated districts till June 2020, Minister of State for Tribal Affairs Renuka Singh Saruta informed the Parliament on Thursday.
Replying to a question in Rajya Sabha, the minister said the ministry has assessed district wise confirmed COVID-19 cases for 177 tribal-dominated districts.
"It has been observed that about three per cent of the total confirmed cases in the country were from 177 tribal dominated districts till June, 2020," the minister said.
In reply to another question on the measures undertaken by the ministry for community specific safety and well-being of the tribal population during the COVID-19 pandemic, she said on her ministry's request, the Union Home Ministry issued orders aiming to relax provisions of lockdown for collection, harvesting and processing of Minor Forest Produce (MFP)/Non Timber Forest Produce (NTFP) by Scheduled Tribes and other forest dwellers.
She said the Union Minister of Tribal Affairs also wrote letters to chief ministers of 15 states to sensitize respective state nodal agencies to undertake procurement of MFP at Minimum Support Price (MSP) in right earnest.
These states include Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Manipur, Nagaland, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand.
"Amid the COVID-19 situation, MoTA revised the MSP for minor forest produce and also added 37 new items under the MFP list, taking the total number of MFPs under the scheme to 87 while providing a fillip to the income generating activities of tribals through MFP Procurement.
"During 2020-21, the state government procured MFPs worth Rs 157.51 crores to provide immediate livelihood support to tribal MFP gatherers," she said.
The Ministry disbursed Rs.1,986.31 crores to 35.2 lakh tribal students under Pre and Postmatric scholarship scheme through DBT during 2020-21 amid the pandemic to provide essential support for continuation of education, she said.