Ministry of Tribal Affairs to expand Van Dhan Vikas Kendras in country

New Delhi- A new Scheme has been initiated by Ministry of tribal affairs following Prime Minister Narendra modi’s launching.

Jan Dhan, Van Dhan and Govardhan Schemes, the Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MoTA), Government of India

proposes to expand Van Dhan Vikas Kendras in Tribal Districts across the country.

A meeting chaired by Secretary, M/o Tribal Affairs, Ms. Leena Nair, Secretary, was held recently to

formulate the arrangements to decide the modalities.

As per the plan,TRIFED will facilitate establishment of MFP-led multi-purpose Van Dhan Vikas Kendras, a

cluster of 10 SHGs comprising of 30 tribal MFP gatherers each, in the tribal areas.

This initiative is aimed at mainstreaming the tribal community by promoting primary level value

addition to MFP at grassroots level.Through this initiative, the share of tribals in the value chain of

Non-Timber Forest Produce is expected to rise from the present 20% to around 60%.

About 3000 such Van Dhan Kendras are proposed to be set up in two years in the forested Tribal

Districts of the country.

To begin with, this initiative is proposed to be taken up on priority in the 39 Districts with more

than 50% tribal population and to then gradually be expanded to other Tribal Districts in India.

Trifed will be the nodal agency for this tribal scheme

The scheme will be implemented through Ministry of Tribal Affairs as Nodal Department at the Central

Level and TRIFED as Nodal Agency at the National Level.

At State level, the State Nodal Agency for MFPs and the District collectors are envisaged to play a

pivot role in scheme implementation at grassroot level. Locally the Kendras are proposed to be

managed by a Managing Committee (an SHG) consisting of representatives of Van Dhan SHGs in the cluster.

The initiative aims to promoteMFPs-centriclivelihood development of tribal gatherers and artisans.

MFP or what may be more aptly referred to as Non Timber Forest Produces (NTFPs) are the primary

source of income and livelihood for about 5 crore tribal people in the country.

Notably, most of the tribal Districts in India are forested Districts.

Tribals have enormous traditional skills in the processes involved in collection and value

addition of NTFPs. Based on local skills and resources the ideal model of tribal development has, therefore, to be NTFP centric.

In the past, the Government of India has brought in certain reforms in the sector through Provisions of

Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 and the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional

Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 which conferred ownership rights on tribal Gram

Sabhas in respect of MFP found in their area.

In 2014, the Scheme of MSP for MFP was introduced which provides minimum support price to MFP

gatherers for selected MFPs. While the steps are in right direction, however, most of the trade related

to the MFPs is unorganized in nature, which has led to low returns to the gatherers and high wastages due

to limited value addition.

Thus, a more holistic approach with robust institutional mechanisms is required for strengthening

the backward and forward linkages of MFP supply chain and particularly for mainstreaming thetribal community.

The Prime Minister while launching the pilot project at Bijapur District, Chattisgarh on 14.04.2018 stated

that the “Van Dhan, Jan Dhan and Govardhan would be the basis for transforming the rural and tribal

economy in the future”. Matching with his vision, concerted actions are being put in place to achieve these desired outcomes.

Key Highlights of Van Dhan Initiative

At unit level, aggregation of produce would be done by SHGs having about 30 members each forming

Van Dhan Vikas ‘Samuh’.

The SHGs would also undertake primary value addition of the MFPs using equipment such as small

cutting and sieving tools, decorticator, dryer, packaging tool etc based on MFPs available in the area.

A typical Van Dhan Vikas Samuh would have the following facilities:

Provision for required building/ infrastructure support to be established in one of the beneficiary’s

house/ part of house or Government/ gram panchayat building

Equipment/ Tool Kit comprising of equipment such as small cutting and sieving tools, decorticator,

dryer, packaging tool etc. based on MFPs available in the area

Fully equipped training facilities for a batch of 30 trainees with provision for raw material for

training purpose and supply of trainee kits (comprising of bag, scribbing pad, pen, brochures,

training manual, booklet etc)

Provisioning of working capital for the SHGs through tie up with financial institutions, banks, NSTFDC etc

· A cluster of ten such SHGs within the same village shall form a Van Dhan Vikas Kendra.

Subject to successful operations of the samuhs in a Kendra, common infrastructure facilities

(pucca Kendra) may be provided to the Kendra in the next phase in terms of building, warehouse, etc.

for use of the samuh members

· An illustrative list of major MFPs which may be covered under the initiative are tamarind, mahua

flower, mahua seed, hill broom, chironjee, honey, sal seed, sal leaves, bamboo split, myrobalan,

mango (amchur), aonla (churan/candy), seed lac, tez patta, cardamom, black pepper, turmeric,

dry ginger, cinnamon, coffee, tea, sea buckthorn tea, etc. Apart from these, any other MFP with

potential for value addition may be included.

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