The Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MoTA) and Indian Institute of Public Administration (IIPA) organized Two Days ‘National Tribal Research Conclave’ through virtual platform on 3rd and 4th September, 2020. The conclave was chaired by the Union Minister of Tribal Affairs Arjun Munda, who reviewed and discussed the outcome and the best practices of various research projects being implemented under partnerships with TRIs and other stakeholders. About 120 participants across the country including State Tribal Welfare Ministers, State Tribal Welfare Secretaries, TRI Directors, CoEs along with Officers of Ministry and IIPA attended the meet and shared their views on tribal research & development.
Union Minster of Tribal Affairs Arjun Munda appreciated the initiatives taken by various partners/stakeholders with the Ministry of Tribal Affairs. He also announced that agreement has been signed between Ministry of Tribal Affairs and Indian Institute of Public Administration (IIPA) for setting up National Tribal Research Institute (NTRI) in their campus, which would help in better coordination and management among TRIs and would go a long way in improving tribal research resulting in evidence based planning and development of tribal areas across the country.
He also emphasized that as Ladakh is a new Union Territory and this region should be given special attention in terms of analysis and overall implementation of the programmes and projects initiated there. Also, he stated that we should work with collaborative efforts with our partners as well as communities residing there and showcase a positive example across the country.
Munda gave emphasis on developing village level livelihood framework by TRIs/ CoEs so that villagers can understand World’s Demand, can be given training on E-commerce, Brand Management & product marketing etc so that they can play vital role in PM’s Visionary initiative “Athmanirbar Bharat” and “Local for Vocal Campaign ”. He also impressed upon TRIs and CoEs to do Impact Assessment of every tribal dominated village to develop Perspective action plan for district, village, block and particularly for PVTGs. In order to improve conditions of PVTG dominated villages, he gave a novel idea and suggested dedicated Officers of a district to come forward and adopt a village. He told that it is the need of an hour to work on Biodiversity Management Organic Farming and Indigenous Seed.
Govind M Kajol, Tribal Welfare Minister, Karnataka , Smt. Sathyavathi Rathod, Tribal Welfare Minister, Telangana, Sri Alo Libang Hm, Tribal Welfare Minister, Arunachal Pradesh welcomed initiative of MoTA and briefed Union Tribal Affairs Minister about their State specific issues.
Ministry of Tribal Affairs is funding 26 TRIs for research under Grant to TRIs and is also engaged in quality research in collaboration with reputed Government and Non-Government Organizations spread over country. These partner organizations are designated as Centre of Excellences. Sh. Deepak Khandekar, Secretary Tribal Affairs said that MoTA along with such partner organizations designs workable models which provide end to end solution, starting with problem identification, finding solution and execution of the project as part of Action research, which can be replicated at other places through various policy initiatives. The themes of such projects are Health, Livelihood, Education, Digitalization, Water Conservation, Data Sciences and Development Models for aspiration and model villages. Dr NavalJit Kapoor, Joint Secretary,MoTA in a presentation briefed about top 30 projects undertaken by the in last 1 year and the activities planned in coming months.
Dr SN Tripathi, DG IIPA and Dr Nupur Tiwari, Head of CoE briefed about the activities undertaken in COE’s project of “Tribal Talent Pool” and plans of developing National Mentor Pool in improving the quality of thesis of PhD scholars getting scholarship from MoTA. They also informed about various measures taken in strengthening of TRIs. Sh Tripathi assured full co-operation of IIPA in establishing and functioning of upcoming National Tribal Research Institute in IIPA premises with their collaboration.
Ashutosh Maurya from Centre for Excellence for Data Analytics (CEDA), NIC explained the importance of data in evidence-based planning. He gave demonstration of “Performance and Monitoring Dashboard” (dashboard.tribal.gov.in) and the efforts and challenges in developing it. The portal with slogan “Empowering Tribals- Transforming India” was recently launched by Amitabh Kant, CEO NITI Aayog and Ramesh Chand, Member NITI Aayog.
Parsnasis, CEO Piramal Foundation demonstrated various features of the Swasthya Portal (swasthya.tribal.gov.in), which was launched by Arjun Munda on 17.8.2020. The portal is compiling tribal Health and Nutrition datafor 177 districts captured from M/oH&FW, M/o WCD and various districts. He explained that the data available in the Dash-board, e-magazine-Alekh and information about various partners associated in Tribal research make it a one point solution to data on Tribal Health and Nutrition.
Vivantha Prasad from E&Y told about High Potential Investment and Opportunity District (HIPOD) and Ms Meenakshi Sharma from ASSOCHAM presented various models of entrepreneurship development. They explained how their initiatives will map unique tribal products, artist/artisans developing these products and enhance their entrepreneurial capabilities improve quality, packaging and ,marketing of product and Create a unique brand identity with a differentiated value proposition to Enhance visibility on domestic/ international circuit. Devpriya Datta, Advisor DST deliberatedon the importance of Geo-mapping of these products and the role of State and District S&T Centers in development of entrepreneurs in collaborations with CoEs.
Ministry of Tribal Affairs has also taken a multi-pronged initiative to promote sustainable livelihood in the villages of Ladakh region. To implement this, Ms. Amrita Patwardhan from Tata Trust explained various initiatives undertaken in 31 villages of Sham Valley and Tharu Valley. She submitted that Apricot, Peas and vegetables are the main crops, which are grown in 4 months. She stressed that with improved solar drying techniques and improved packaging techniques will help in marketability of these are perishable items as locals do not get remunerative price for their products. This initiative would largely focus on productivity enhancing, harvesting, post-harvesting, processing and marketing of various products belonging to ladakh region. In Chnagthan valley, efforts through project on Pashmina sheep rearing and improvement in quality of wool and products were demonstrated. Ms Gitanjali from SECMOL, Ladakh presented the CoE’s efforts in Rehabilitation of abandoned villages through Ice Stupas with involvement of locals and how Ice stupas can change economy of the village by solving water problem, plantation of trees and irrigation. She elaborated on SECMOL plans to plant trees through community participation and engaging local in Home Stay project.
A.B. Ota, Director TRI, Odisha along with Surinder Kumar,Technical Director with NIC Team presented features of upcoming ‘Tribal Digital Document Repository’, which is an innovative step towards providing a common platform of all the documentation (Research Reports/Published Books/Monographs/Evaluation Reports/Documentaries) prepared by the TRIs and CoEs pertaining to tribals. This robust repository would be highly beneficial for any kind of decision making required for the tribal communities as well as tribal areas in the future. The portals is under development and currently, there are approximately 630 records available in this portal. The features of the said portal were also thoroughly explained by the NIC Team to the TRIs.
To support and resolve the water problems in the tribal areas, Sushil Chaudhary told how UNDPIndia is working on 1000 springs project with community participation to revive drying streams. This project between MoTA and UNDP aims to demonstrate a localized solution by harnessing the potential of seasonal springs to meet the water need of tribal communities in hard reachable areas. This project is broadly implemented with the help of community support, training on para-hydrologists and Online Platform – GIS based Spring Atlas. Around 408 springs has been already mapped across Odisha on the Spring Atlas portal till now. In addition to this, Chaudhary also apprised about the application namely Geet (GIS Enabled Entitlement Tracking System), which provides a single platform that helps rural communities to access various government schemes and programmes that they are eligible for; thereby enabling communities claim their entitlements.
Prasanna Prabhu and Dr Prabhakar Rao from Vyakti Vikas Kendra India (VVKI), Art of Living also discussed their ongoing projects with Ministry of Tribal Affairs where they are presently focusing to strengthen PRI in Jharkhand and promoting Organic Farming in Aurangabad. Through their projects, they aim to create social change in the tribal communities and lead them towards overall socio-economic development.
For the empowerment of tribal migrants, Ms Anjali Burhade from Disha Foundation under their project with MoTA, is working to provide better access, services, rights and entitlements to the tribal migrants and aiming to converge with key line ministries and State governments for tribal migrant inclusive programs.