Tribal Affairs, Rural Development ministries to promote economic opportunities for tribal women in India

The two ministries have said that series of activities will be carried out by both the ministries to synergize the efforts to fetch tangible results in taking forward the convergence initiative.

The Union ministries of Tribal Affairs and Rural Development have come together to improve sustainable livelihood opportunities available for tribal women in the country. The two ministries have said that series of activities will be carried out by both the ministries to synergize the efforts to fetch tangible results in taking forward the convergence initiative.

Deepak Khandekar, Secretary, Ministry of Tribal Affairs and NN Sinha, Secretary, Ministry of Rural Development signed a Joint Communication on August 18 for leveraging each other’s strengths to propel the rural economy and jointly promote sustainable livelihood opportunities among tribal women Self Help Groups (SHGs) under the National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM), according to a release by the Tribal Affairs Ministry.

Speaking on the occasion, Tribal Affairs Minister Arjun Munda congratulated both the ministries and lauded the new chapter that is being started for the growth of the rural economy.

“My ministry is committed to improve the socio-economic conditions of our tribal communities. Assistance is provided to states through various schemes, including Van Dhan Yojana (VDY) for farm and non-farm interventions to promote income generation activities. Infrastructural and technical Support are opportunities for convergence in these livelihood schemes,” he said.

The minister also said, “The Ministry of Rural Development and Ministry of Food Processing Industries can partner in VDY and involve in capacity building, value addition and marketing of the products from the tribal populated states, which may significantly increase the income of the tribal households. We should focus on community participation in local planning process and convergence of resources through strengthening of Gram Sabhasand social audit may be adopted for continuous monitoring of the activities implemented under various schemes. I assure you all our support in taking this forward”.

Minister of State Tribal Affairs Renuka Singh Saruta was also present during the occasions. She lauded the efforts of the Ministry of Rural Development in empowering lakhs of women through its SHG networks.

“SHGs have been playing a critical role in the rural economy, also acting as the last mile linkage between the government and the masses. I hope tribal women can come forward and join this movement in larger numbers, displaying their leadership skills. I wish everyone success and assure my Ministry’s support,” she said.

Union Minister for Rural Development (MoRD) Narendra Singh Tomar said that National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) has facilitated the creation of a network of 66 lakh SHGs covering 7.14 crore rural women. Further emphasis should be given to promote livelihoods through a convergence approach to enhance their incomes.

The features of joint communication include:

The Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana - National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM) implemented by the Ministry of Rural Development has built an extensive network of women-led Self-Help Groups (SHGs) in India, including 8.9 lakh ST SHGs. The programme provides institutional support, livelihood services, access to credit and market through its SHGs. Similarly, the Ministry of Tribal Affairs provides grants to the states based on prefixed criteria through a number of initiatives such as Special Central Assistance to Tribal Sub-Schemes (SCA to TSS), Grant-in-Aid under Proviso to Article 275 (1) of Constitution of India to the States having notified STs, Development of Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) to the States / UTs having notified PVTGs etc.

Since the initiatives of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs and objectives of DAY-NRLM deeply complement each other, the ministries have decided to come together to improve the economic opportunities available to tribal women.

Activities by Ministry of Rural Development will include: Identification and mapping of tribal women SHG members and their individual livelihood assets; mapping of common tribal community assets; development of comprehensive proposal for the economic development of PVTGs through the strengthening of their traditional livelihood and  occupations; convergence of GPDPs and CCD plan of OVTG habitations; assistance of SHGs to identify tribal households for enrolment under Van Dhan Yojana; and capacity building and credit access support to tribal communities through SHGs

Activities by Ministry of Tribal Affairs will include: Planning support to SRLM to finalize the State Annual Action Plan and inclusion of the plan in its Livelihood Annual Action Plan; promotion of livelihood opportunities among women identified by SRLM through avenues such as Mess Management, Outsourcing works of EMRS schools like housekeeping, cleaning and other activities in the EMRSs and Ashram Schools; augmenting the creation of individual as well as common livelihood assets as per beneficiaries identified by SRLM; implementing proposals for PVTG in coordination with the SRLM; inclusion of tribal SHGs / PG with majority of members from tribal households in Van Dhan Yojana and providing marketing support to produces from SHGs and PGs through its marketing network.

First Published:Aug. 20, 2020, 11:37 p.m.