Deepak Khandekar, Secretary Ministry of Tribal Affairs and N.N. Sinha,Secretary,Ministry of Rural Developmentsigned a Joint Communication on 18.08.2020 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 National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM). The occasion was graced by Arjun Munda, Union Minister for Tribal Affairs (MoTA), Narendra Singh Tomar, Union Minister for Rural Development (MoRD), Smt. Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Union Minister for Food Processing Industries (MoFPI), Smt. Renuka Singh Saruta, Minister of State for Tribal Affairs (MoTA), Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, Minister of State for Rural Development (MoRD) and several senior officers.
The features of joint communication are as under:
The DeendayalAntyodayaYojana- 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 institutionalsupports, 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 Indiatothe States having notified STs, Development ofParticularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) to the States / UTshaving 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. To take this convergence initiativeforward, the series of activities will be carried out by both theMinistries to synergize the efforts to fetch tangibleresults.
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 otheractivities 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 inco-ordination 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 fromSHGs and PGs through its marketing network.
Ministry of Tribal Affairs is the nodal Ministry for the welfare of tribals. At the same time, there are 37 other Ministries, who have to spend assigned percentage of their budget as per mechanism designed by NITI Aayog, under Tribal sub Plan or Schedule Tribe Component (STC) for welfare of tribals. NITI Aayog and Secretary Tribal Affairs have been monitoring STC component of such Ministries regularly as per the mandate given to the MoTA in 2017. The total Central budget under STC component during FY 2020-21 is Rs. 51,000crore and MoTA is monitoring such expenditure through a dedicated web portal(stcmis.gov.in), which captures expenditure data of respective Ministries from PFMS. The performance of such Ministries in respect of utilization of STC funds can also be seen on Performance Dashboard (http://dashboard.tribal.gov.in), developed by MoTA, which was launched jointly by Sh. Amitabh Kant, CEO NITI Aayog and Sh Ramesh Kumar, Member NITI Aayog on 10th August 2020. Recently under the guidance of NITI Aayog, all such schemes numbering more than 300 were examined in consultation with respective Ministries, to deliberate how MoTA and sectoral ministries can collaborate and work together for tribal welfare.
As per STC mechanism, MoRD isspending about Rs. 20000 cr on tribal welfare in 3 main schemes namely Pradhan Mantri AwasYojna (PMAY) which has STC component of Rs 4700 Cr , National Rural Livelihood Mission- Program, STC Component of 1284 cr and rest of expenditure is under MNREGA, which is a demand based scheme. Both MoTA and RD have developed robust IT system and has developed mechanism to share data amongst themselves. On the basis of data of Anatodya Mission provided by RD, MoTA has done Infrastructural gap analysis of 1170000 villages (available on tritribal.gov.in) with population more than 50% and States have been asked to use this data for making plans in SCA to TSS and 275(1) schemes. The present collaboration between RD and MoTA is part of such collaborative mechanism, which will go a long way in socio-economic development of STs across the country and strengthen STC mechanism. There is vast scope of expanding such mechanism with other Ministries like Agriculture, Health, Education, MSME and Food Processing to achieve real objective of STC mechanism.
Addressing on the occasion, the Minister of Tribal Affairs Arjun Munda congratulated both the Ministries and lauded the new chapter that is being started for growth of the rural economy. He stated, “This joint endeavour will enable us to realise the Hon’ble Prime Minister’s vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat, bringing all of closer to each other where we can learn from one another and leverage each other’s strengths. MyMinistry 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. 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 Smt 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. She stated, “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.”
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.
Smt Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Union Minister for Food Processing Industries (MoFPI),Sadhvi Niranjana and Smt Renuka Saruta, MOS Tribal affairs lauded the efforts of MoRD and MoTA. They also highlighted the importance of processing and value addition of food products to enhance income and reduce the wastage of primary agriculture and horticulture produce. They said that such collaboration will help in eliminating critical challenges in value chain development.