BHUBANESWAR:The Odisha Government has agreed to a Rs 312-crore loan from International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) for the Rs 800-crore Odisha PVTG Empowerment and Livelihood Improvement Programme (OPELIP).
While conveying its consent to the Department of Economic Affairs, the Government has stipulated that the project must contain separate micro projects for each primitive tribal group.
The project is aimed at changing the socio-economic condition of 62,356 households in 12 districts of the State. These households comprise 32,090 particularly vulnerable tribal groups (PVTGs) who would directly benefit from the programmes. Thirteen PVTGs are targeted to be covered under the eight-year project.
The OPELIP will address issues of socio-economic backwardness through community empowerment, natural resource management, livelihood enhancement, community infrastructure and drudgery reduction. Over the project period, it is expected to trigger a 300 per cent increase in food production per household and net income by several times.
Since most of the habitations of these primitive groups are characterised by poor housing, virtually no access to potable water and electricity, absence of sanitation and road connectivity, the project will support construction of over 300 drinking water projects, 542 school toilets, 4,000 housing units, 500 km of road connectivity and 50 km of electrification apart from other rural infrastructure.
It will also focus on homestead production and forest-based livelihood by encouraging kitchen gardens, backyard poultry, goat rearing and other income generating activities.
“A database for all 13 PVTGs to assess their exact population will be drawn up as part of the project. Besides, an approach paper for each group will be formulated so that their identity, sensitivity and uniqueness of culture can be acknowledged along with actual response to development,” the ST and SC Development Department said in the letter.
Under the OPELIP, a community nutrition assessment will be conducted and all its activities will be investigated through a nutrition lens to ensure that crops and activities promoted result in household nutrition security.
The project will also involve sustainable development and improvement of natural resources covering 20,000 hectare of land.