Context: Adivasi Ekatmik Samajik Sanstha” of Shahapur in Thane, which markets Giloy and other products has managed to achieve an unprecedented feat with the help of an able leadership and enabling support from government organisations.
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- Katkari is one of the 75 Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups in Maharashtra, as per the classification by the Ministry of Home Affairs.
- The journey started when Sunil Pawar and his team of 10 -12 friends started facilitating various works of Katkari tribes at revenue offices in his native place.
- They approached TRIFED for help and soon the demand for Giloy picked up.
- They didn’t confine themselves to the local market and pharma companies.
- They took giloy to far away markets with the help of big retail chains like D-Mart.
- They created a website too and online sales are happening through it during the lockdown period.
Pradhan Mantri Van Dhan Yojana (PMVDY)
- Pradhan Mantri Van Dhan Yojana (PMVDY) is a retail marketing led value addition plan for Minor Forest Produce (MFP), meant for forest-based tribes to optimize the tribal income, locally.
- Minor Forest Produce (MFP) as all non-timber forest produce of plant origin and includes bamboo, brushwood, stumps, canes, Tusser, cocoon, honey, waxes, Lac, tendu/kendu leaves, medicinal plants and herbs, roots, tuber and the like.
- Under the program, MFP-based tribal groups / enterprises of around 300 members are formed for collection, value addition, packaging & marketing of Minor Forest Produces (MFPs).
- These tribal enterprises will be in the form of Van Dhan SHGs which will be a group of 15-20 members and such 15 SHG groups will further be federated into a larger group of Van Dhan Vikas Kendras (VDVKS) of around 300 members.
Support by TRIFED
- TRIFED will support the VDVKs through providing them with model business plans, processing plans & tentative list of equipment for carrying out the value addition work of MFPs. The details would be made available on the TRIFED’s website.
- Called गुडूची in Ayurveda, giloy is used in medicines which treat various kinds of fever (viral fever, malaria, etc.) as well as diabetes. It is used in extract form, powder form or cream.
- Giloy is a medicinal plant with huge demand from pharmaceutical companies.
- The Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India (TRIFED) came into being in 1987.
- It is a national-level apex organization functioning under the administrative control of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs.
- Socio-economic development of tribal people in the country by way of marketing development of the tribal products such as metal craft, tribal textiles, pottery, tribal paintings and pottery.
- Facilitator and service provider for tribes to sell their product.
Approach of TRIFED
- Empowering tribal people with knowledge, tools and pool of information so that they can undertake their operations in a more systematic and scientific manner.
- Capacity building of the tribal people through sensitization, formation of Self Help Groups (SHGs) and imparting training.
Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs)
- The tribal population in India makes up for 8.6% of the total population inhabiting around 15 % of the geographical area.
- PVTGs are those groups of tribes which are more vulnerable among the tribal groups.
- The Dhebar Commission in 1973, created Primitive Tribal Groups (PTGs) as a separate category, who are less developed among the tribal groups.
- The Government of India renamed the PTGs as PVTGs in 2006.
- PVTGs have some basic characteristics -they are mostly homogenous, with a small population, relatively physically isolated, social institutes cast in a simple mould, absence of written language, relatively simple technology and a slower rate of change etc.
Composition of PVTGs
- GIven the vulnerability of PVTGs, they need more funds directed for their development.
- In this context, in 1975, the Government of India embarked on identification of the most vulnerable tribal groups as a separate category and declared 52 such groups.
- In 1993 an additional 23 groups were added to the category, making it a total of 75 PVTGs out of 705 Scheduled Tribes.
- According to the 2001 census, the PVTGs population is approximately 27,68,322.
- There are 12 PVTGs having a population above 50,000 and the remaining groups have a population of 1000 or less.
- The PVTG of Sahariyas has the highest population of 4,50,217, while the PVTGs of Sentinelese and Andamanese have a very small population of 39 and 43, respectively.
Procedure for Identification
- The state governments or UT governments submit proposals to the Central Ministry of Tribal Welfare for identification of PVTGs.
- After ensuring the criteria is fulfilled, the Central Ministry of Tribal Welfare selects those groups as PVTGs.
Criteria for identification
- Pre-agricultural level of technology
- Low level of literacy,
- Economic backwardness such as such as dependency on hunting, gathering for food
- A declining or stagnant population.
Problems in the development of PVTGs
- Health and Educational Conditions
- The health status of PVTGs is in an awful condition because of multiple factors like poverty, illiteracy, lack of safe drinking water, bad sanitary conditions, difficult terrain, malnutrition, poor maternal and child health services, unavailability of health and nutritional services, superstition and deforestation.
- The condition of education is also very poor, with an average literacy rate of 10% to 44% in PVTGs.
- Habitat Rights
- PVTGs are mostly dependent on their habitat for livelihood and all other basic needs.
- The 2006 Forest Rights Act has provisions for ensuring PVTGs receive habitat rights. Act also provides that district level committees should play a proactive role in ensuring that all PVTGs receive habitat rights
- Habitat rights have been identified under Section 3 (e): ‘Rights including community tenures of habitat and habitation for primitive tribal groups and Pre-agricultural communities'.
- Yet, till date, only two claims of the grant of habitat rights (the Kadar Community in Kerala in 2014, and partly the Baiga Community in Madhya Pradesh in 2015) have been implemented.
- As an example Abhujmarh, a tribe in Dandakaranya forests are demanding habitat rights under the banner of Pen Patta movement
- PVTGs depend on various livelihoods such as food gathering,Non Timber Forest Produce (NTFP), hunting, livestock rearing, shifting cultivation and artisan works. Most of their livelihoods depend on the forest. The forest is their life and livelihood.
- But due to the shrinking forests, environmental changes and new forest conservation policies, their NTFP collection is getting hampered. Because of the lack of awareness about the value of NTFP produce, PVTGs have been exploited by the middle men.
- Inequality of development among PVTGs
- In some cases, a PVTG receives benefits only in a few blocks in a district, while the same group is deprived in adjacent blocks. The reason is that micro-projects extend benefits only within their jurisdiction.
- For example, the LanjiaSaora are recognized as a PVTG across Odisha but the micro-projects are established only in two blocks, and the benefits are catered to by micro-projects in these blocks only, while the rest of the LanjiaSaora are treated among the Scheduled Tribes (STs).
- Literacy rate
- Literacy rate among the PVTGs has gone up significantly over the past. From a single digit literacy rate, the figures have increased to 30 to 40 % in many of the PVTGs.
- However, as is the case with the entire India, female literacy rate is still considerably lower compared to male counterparts.
- The authors have pointed out a considerable increase in the age of marriage among PVTGs. The incidence of girl child being married while still being a minor, among these tribes has been decreasing.
- Huge variation in Population
- There is a huge variation in the number of PVTGs ranging from a few individuals as in the case of Great Andamanese, Onge and Sentinelese and about a little more than a thousand people as in the case of Toda of Nilgiris.
- Although PVTGs are slowly witnessing decadal increase in their population, quite a few still face stagnation such as the Birhor in central India. Some are declining like the Onge and Andamanese.
- Smallest population size among the PVTGs are the Senteneles .They still shy away from others. The Great Andamanese (57 persons) and the Onge (107 persons in 2012 as per Andaman Adim Janjati Vikas Samiti) are the dwindling populations
- The Saharia people of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan are the largest among the PVTGs with a population more than 4 lakhs.
Schemes for Welfare of PVTGs
- The Ministry of Tribal Affairs administers a scheme namely Development of Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTG) specifically for the PVTG population.
- The scheme covers the 75 identified PVTGs in 18 States, and Union Territory of Andaman & Nicobar Islands,
- The scheme aims at planning their socio-economic development in a comprehensive manner while retaining the culture and heritage of the communities by adopting a habitat level development approach.
- Under this scheme, financial assistance is provided to the State/UT Governments based on their proposals for development of tribal people.
- The proposals can be in sectors such as education, housing, land distribution, land development, agricultural development, animal husbandry, construction of link roads, installation of non-conventional sources of energy for lighting purpose, social security or any other innovative activity meant for the comprehensive socio-economic development of PVTGs and to fill in the critical gaps.
- The projects taken up under this scheme are demand driven.
- There is an urgent need to come up with the exact number of PVTGs. This would do away with overlapping names and go a long way in having a clear idea about the tribes and implementing welfare schemes directed at the communities.
- Need of Regional and State-specific variations in welfare schemes for PVTGs .While Odisha has established exclusive micro-projects for the PVTGs, there are none such in for the five PVTGs in Gujarat.
- Monitoring of PVTGs by special centers-In Tamil Nadu, development schemes are being monitored through the Tribal Research Centre, Ooty, and implemented by the State government. However, in Karnataka, all the affairs of two the PVTGs are handled by the Social Welfare Department, which extends some schemes as per their knowledge, barely receiving any professional advice.
- Millet-farming and supplementing diets with forest foods are examples of practices that can be enabled to increase the nutrition level, and they have significant implications on the wellbeing of the community.
Recommendations of National Advisory Council, 2013
- Identification of PVTGs and Assessment of their vulnerabilities
- Tribal ministry should conduct a specially designed census for PVTGs.
- Their status of health,education and housing needs to be properly identified.
- Recognition of rights of PVTGs,development approaches and livelihood strategies.
- The recognition of habitat rights can play a vital role in safeguarding livelihoods and the culture of the PVTGs as well as in reviving traditional forest management practices not recognised under the current governance regime.
- Awareness generation among PVTGs along with the continuous monitoring of their status should be the way.
- Develop livelihood strategies and design development programmes that are rights based and takes into account.
- Institutionalise participatory process placing PVTGs at high priority.
- Launch a special drive to improve the educational status of PVTGs
Image Source: PIB