Ministry of Tribal Affairs intends to introduce a Central Sector Scheme to provide Minimum Support Price for Minor Forest Produces. The was stated by Shri V. Kishore Chandra Deo, Union Minister of Tribal Affairs and Panchayati Raj, while addressing a meeting of State Secretaries and Commissioner–in- charge of Tribal Welfare here today. He said that the Ministry of Tribal Affairs is administering the Forest Rights Act, which seeks to recognize and vest forest rights and occupation in forest land for forest dwelling Scheduled Tribes and other traditional forest dwellers. He further said that the States/UTs have shown progress in varying degrees in implementation of the Act. While some of the States have performed very well, a few others are yet to start implementing. He called upon those states to take it in mission so as to accomplish the task in a time bound manner and to deliberate on it in course of its meeting so as to enforce its effective implementation.
The Minister said that the Minor Forest Produce (MFP) has significant economic and social value for the forest dwellers. The MFP economy is fragile but an estimated 100 million people derive their source of livelihood from the collection and marketing of MFPs (Report of the National Committee on Forest Rights Act, 2011) which includes large tribal population. He said that keeping in view the above situation, the Ministry intends to introduce a Central Sector Scheme to provide Minimum Support Price for Minor Forest Produces. With the introduction of Scheme of Minimum Support Price for MFPs, the tribals and other forest dwellers would be in a better position to sell their MFPs with assured return. The Scheme has a huge social dividend for MFP gatherers. The modalities of the proposed Scheme are being worked out.
Shri Kishore Chandra Deo said that Ekalavya Modal Residential Schools (EMRS) is one of the most successful schemes for developing the education facilities for Scheduled Tribes. All States/UTs should strive to utilize the funds available through Article 275 (1) grant. Ministry is also running various other schemes in education sector. The upkeep of Ashram Schools is basically the responsibility of the States/UTs, all efforts must be made to ensure the quality of education.