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Tuesday, June 22nd, 2021

Kantilal Bhuria Addresses First Meeting of Standing Committee of National Council for Tribal Welfare

INVC,, Delhi,, National Council for Tribal Welfare constituted under the Chairmanship of the Prime Minister is an important step to ensure speedy development of Tribal population on all fronts. In addition to the Council, a Standing Committee has also been constituted which is chaired by the Minister of Tribal Affairs, Shri Kantilal Bhuriaji who inaugurated its first meeting here today. The Minister of State for Tribal Affairs, Dr. Tushar A Chaudhary, the Secretary, Shri A. K. Chugh, member ministries and members from different States were also present there. The meeting finalized the Agenda Points for National Council for Tribal Welfare. These points pertain to three important issues i.e. (i) National Tribal Policy, (ii) the implementation of the Forest Rights Act, 2006 and (iii) the implementation of the provisions of PESA Act 1996. During deliberations, Shri Bhuria apprised the members of the National Tribal Policy which is a comprehensive document containing objectives, strategy, major issues concerning Scheduled tribes, monitoring, evaluation & review followed by an Action-Plan. He further added, “The Objectives of this policy are providing regulatory protection, socio-economic empowerment, protection of cultural and traditional rights, ensuring access to privileges granted under various existing legislations and conservation & protection of intellectual property regime of Scheduled Tribes and its proper utilization on a commercial format. The time-bound Action Plan is meant for ensuring effective implementation at the ground level. This draft Policy shall be placed before the Cabinet for final approval after it is approved by the National Council for Tribal Welfare. I sincerely hope that this process shall be completed fast and our draft National Tribal Policy will come into effect to transform the lives of our tribal people”. Shri Kedar Kashyap, the Minister for ST and SC Welfare from Chhattisgarh stated that the State will give its formal view on the Draft Policy after consultation with Tribes Advisory Council (TAC). He insisted that in case of Land acquisition for an industry, one member from a family should be given job. He also emphasized the need for woman-empowerment. Kunwar Vijay Shah, the Minister for ST and SC Welfare from Madhya Pradesh also wanted consultation with Tribes Advisory Council. He was of the opinion that the tribals who change their religion should not get the benefit of reservation because after conversion their traditions and culture change. He pointed out that forest areas where pattas have been given to tribals should be de-notified. The compensation package for people who are willing to move out of Protected Areas should be enhanced. He also urged the Central Government to decide about the status of Bangladesh migrant who are claiming to be tribal. During the deliberations, Shri P. Balaraju, the Minister for Tribal Welfare from Andhra Pradesh raised the problem being faced during the construction of roads in tribal areas due to Forest Conservation Act. Shri Bijay Ranjan Singh Barihar, the Minister for ST & SC Development, Orissa pointed out the problems of tribals living outside Scheduled Areas. He said that a Scheduled Tribe in one State should be considered Scheduled Tribe in all other States. Skill development and capacity building should be undertaken in PPP mode. Challenges in the implementation of Tribal Policy should be addressed. The Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) pointed out that Right to Education (RTE) Act has came into existence after the Tribal Policy had been drafted. RTE Act takes care of many issues envisaged in the draft Tribal Policy. It was pointed out that target of 3% per year increase in literacy rate is a bit high. Instead, stress on reducing the gap between rate of increase of literacy in the general population and tribal population be given. Regarding the implementation of the Forest Rights Act, 2006, that receives attention at the highest level of the Government, participating States expressed satisfaction over the implementation of Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006. However, they expressed the need to have a mechanism to address the issue of livelihood and its sustainability. If needed, a separate economic package for their socio-economic upliftment be worked out. Concerns were expressed about non-ST people depending upon forest and who are not Other Traditional Forest Dwellers as per Forest Rights Act. In Sixth Scheduled Areas, like in Meghalaya, where most of land is owned by individual or community, applicability of Forest Rights Act has to be examined in that context. The Minister of State, Dr. Chaudhary informed the members that till 31st December, 2010, as many as 30,31,624 forest rights claims have been filed, 11,06,541 ‘pattas’ distributed and more than 32,000 ‘pattas’ are ready for distribution. However, claims for community forest rights are not forthcoming in good numbers. He also requested the members from the States to look into it. The Minister further added, “As the forest dwelling Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers are at the bottom of the economic ladder, with legal title of their forest land, these marginalized people will not only be able to enjoy the benefit to this right, they will be entitled to the benefits of various welfare schemes as well. Their livelihood standards will improve, they will be empowered economically, they will feel secured and confident and will be encouraged to go with their traditional methods of reinforcing the ecological sustainability of our forests”. [caption id="attachment_22408" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="The Union Minister for Tribal Affairs, Shri Kantilal Bhuria addressing the first meeting of Standing Committee of National Tribal Welfare Committee, in New Delhi on January 12, 2011."]The Union Minister for Tribal Affairs, Shri Kantilal Bhuria addressing the first meeting of Standing Committee of National Tribal Welfare Committee, in New Delhi on January 12, 2011.[/caption]

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