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Special Content


Issue no 30, 21 - 27 October 2023

PM Vanbandhu Kalyan Yojana:

One with Nature, One with Nation

 

As per Census 2011, tribals account for 8.9% of India's total population of over 1.4 billion. This makes India the country with the second-largest tribal population in the world. The tribes dwelling within India's vast landscape are repositories of rich traditions, intricate cultures, venerable customs, diverse languages, and invaluable indigenous resources. Making their holistic welfare a priority, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi launched the PM Vanbandhu Yojana in the year 2014. In this edition of EN Explains, let us explore how this pioneering initiative aligns with the overarching objective of promoting inclusivity, advancement, and the preservation of tribal communities.

 

The Conception: The scheme was conceptualised by Shri Narendra Modi in 2007 when he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat. Christened as the Ten Points Programme, it was implemented in the state with the following 10 core objectives:

1.      Qualitative and sustainable employment opportunities: To double the income of all the tribal families, especially putting the spotlight on migrants and Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs).

2.      Providing quality education: To expose every child of the tribal communities to quality education and encourage higher education.

3.      Improving irrigation: To focus on aspects that improve livelihood through agriculture, such as the construction of group wells and lift irrigation-based check dams to decrease dependency on monsoon.

4.      Provision of safe drinking water: To ensure access to safe, hygienic and adequate drinking water, accompanied by piped water supply.

5.      Ensuring housing for all: To ensure that no tribal family is deprived of the basic need of housing and accommodation by putting in place housing development initiatives in scheduled tribes' habitats.

6.      Emphasis on health: To identify key areas to improve the health of the tribal population, mainly focusing on the accessibility of medical services, curbing endemic diseases and shrinking the intensity of malnutrition.

7.      Urban development: Facilitating broadband connections in tribal districts and converting towns into growth engines to foster the overall development of the community.

8.      Economic development: To facilitate economic augmentation in tribal villages vis-a-vis fulfillment of basic facilities such as infrastructure and market linkages.

9.      Universal availability of electricity: To provide continual power supply to all tribal areas in order to expedite socio-economic development in the community.

10.  Construction of all-weather roads: To construct all-weather roads and provide quick access to crucial services in terms of health, education and other necessary activities.

As a result of the effective implementation of the scheme, approximately 7 lakh tribal families saw an enhancement in their incomes. In addition to this, the literacy gap between the tribal as well as general population was curbed, i.e., from 21.4% to 15.5% as of 2021. The state also witnessed an increase in tap water connection for rural tribal families from 3.9% to 56%. Over 5800 tribal villages were equipped with 24/7 power supply, all tribal villages and hamlets were connected via all-weather roads. The initiative also emboldened the urban development program in 18 towns in the tribal areas of the state.

Scaling up the Scheme

Taking cue from the success in Gujarat, the scheme was adopted at the central level in the year 2014 with an initial budget of Rs. 100 crores under the name PM Vanbandhu Yojana. In July this year, the Government approved the continuity of the Scheme till 2025-26 with a total cost Rs.26135.46 crores. While retaining the original core objectives, the scheme has taken into consideration other growth factors such as the promotion of sports in tribal areas and conservation of tribal heritage through effective and sustainable strategies. The scheme focuses on the unified development of tribal villages and fosters capacity-building through various interventions related to education and skill enhancement. These interventions were necessitated in collaboration with the State and Central tribal sub-plans (TSPs), which is a concept used to channelise the flow of benefits from the central government to construct a progressive ecosystem for the tribal communities.

 

The scheme incorporates several components to bolster the primary target of driving comprehensive growth in the community and enhancing their human development index. Here is how the PM Vanbandhu Yojana, through its various sub-schemes as described below, has steered in the journey towards tribal welfare.

Pradhan Mantri Adi Adarsh Gram Yojana (PMAAGY): Under Special Central Assistance to Tribal Sub-Scheme (SCA to TSS), the state governments were given funds to undertake an array of projects in the education, health, agriculture, skill development and employment sectors. The PMAAGY is a refurbishment of the same to take the mission a notch up, which aims at the development of villages for the years 2021-22 and 2025-2026, in an actionable, outcome-oriented and time-bound approach. So far, 36,428 villages with about 50% tribal population and 500 STs across States / UTs with notified STs have been identified for undertaking development programs/activities through a convergence approach to bridge gaps prominently in 8 sectors of development in terms of road connectivity, telecom connectivity, school, Anganwadi Centres, health sub-centre, drinking water facility, drainage and solid waste management. During 2021-22 and 2022-23, around 16554 villages have been absorbed as part of the pursuit, with an amount of Rs. 2133.39 crores already disbursed to the states for implementation.

Development of Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs): With the socio-economic upliftment as the focal point, this component extensively works towards bettering the condition of the PVTGs. This also uncompromisably translates to retaining the communities' pristine culture and heritage by adopting a habitat-level development approach. The state governments are entrusted with devising effective propositions in the relevant development sectors and are funded in order to implement the approved plans. In Budget 2023-24, the central government introduced the Pradhan Mantri PVTG Development Mission in the direction of improving the socio-economic condition of the target groups. This warranted the equipment of tribal households with fundamental provisions such as safe housing, clean drinking water and sanitation, improved access to education, nutrition, etc.

Supporting Tribal Research Institute (TRI): Serving as a think tank to make way for tribal advancement, the TRIs come under the Ministry of Tribal Affairs. The TRIs work relentlessly in favour of tribal development, protecting and preserving tribal heritage, and providing State governments with the necessary research to devise data-backed mechanisms, capacity building and awareness creation. Under the scheme, the state governments are funded adequately as per the proposal.

Pre-Matric and Post-Matric Scholarships: A centrally funded scheme, these scholarships are put in place with the help of the concerned State/UT administr-ations. The Pre Matric and Post Matric Scholarship schemes encompass all ST students studying in 9th and 10th standards and 11th standards respectively, whose parental income is less than 2.50 lakhs per annum. The central government contributes 75% and the states contribute 25% to the scholarship, implemented in the tribal areas in the country, not inclusive of the North-Eastern regions. In the case of North East states and hilly states, the Government of India adds 90% with the state contribution being 10%. There central government contribution to the scholarship is 100% in the case of Union Territories without Legislative Assembly and own grants.

Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRS):  This central sector scheme, initially brought forth in the year 1997-98, aims to provide quality education to Scheduled Tribes students enrolled in 6th-12th standards in remote areas to bridge the education gap between the tribal and general populations. The Union Budget of 2018-19 mandated the presence of EMRS in every block with 50% or more ST population, with a habitation of at least 20000 tribal people. In line with this goal, 690 EMRS have been sanctioned by the Tribal Affairs Ministry, out of which 490 are reportedly functional.

'Pradhan Mantri Janjatiya Vikas Mission (PMJVM)': With a total fiscal expenditure of Rs. 1612.27 crore for implementation during the financial years 2021-22 to 2025-26, the PMJVM scheme has been revamped via an amalgamation and expansion of existing schemes implemented for the promotion of tribal livelihood, i.e., "Mechanism for Marketing of Minor Forest Produce (MFP) through Minimum Support Price (MSP) and Development of Value Chain for MFP" and "Institutional Support for Development and Marketing of Tribal Products / Produce". The scheme envisages facilitating sustenance opportunities by solidifying entrepreneurship and skill development in the tribal communities.

The PMVKY has undoubtedly given voice to the tribal communities and effected a positive transformation in bringing them to the forefront. Reiterating the need for equal access to fundamental requisites, the scheme tirelessly works towards bringing tribals at par with the rest of India's population.

Compiled by Induja Tyagi and Kaushikee, Publications Division

Source: PIB, Ministry of Tribal Affairs