From SCA To PM JANMAN: BJP's Tribal Welfare Schemes Since 2019

Recognising the importance of the tribal vote share of 8.9 per cent, the BJP-led Union Government declared Bhagwan Birsa Munda's birth anniversary as Janjatiya Gaurav Divas from November 15, 2021.

Photo by Suresh K Pandey/Outlook
Tribal women in Dang on November 18, 2022 (representative image) Photo by Suresh K Pandey/Outlook

The BJP won 31 of the 47 Lok Sabha seats that were reserved for STs in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, including those in Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Telangana, Tripura, and West Bengal. Recognising the importance of the tribal vote share of 8.9 per cent, the BJP-led Union Government declared Bhagwan Birsa Munda's birth anniversary as Janjatiya Gaurav Divas from November 15, 2021. Since 2019, the central government launched various schemes for the tribals.

Pradhan Mantri Janjati Adivasi Nyaya Maha Abhiyan (PM JANMAN)

The PM-JANMAN (comprising Central Sector and Centrally Sponsored Schemes) will focus on 11 important interventions through nine ministries. According to the Budget Speech 2023-24, to improve socioeconomic conditions of Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs), Development of PVTG Mission will be launched. This would provide PVTG homes and communities with necessities like secure housing, clean drinking water and sanitation, increased access to education, health, and nutrition, road and telecom connections, and long-term livelihood prospects. The Development Action Plan for the Scheduled Tribes (DAPST) would provide Rs.15,000 crore for the Mission's implementation over the next three years.

Pradhan Mantri Vanbandhu Vikas Yojana

The Pradhan Mantri Vanbandhu Kalyan Yojana (PMVKY) was announced by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs in 2023, and it includes several projects aimed at the development and welfare of tribal groups. The scheme's execution has been authorised for the years 2021-22 to 2025-26, with a total expenditure of Rs 26135.46 crore. The PMVKY initiative aims to promote the holistic development of tribal populations and tribal regions across the country by concentrating on integrated development capacity building in villages via educational and livelihood interventions funded by the Centre and State. The PMVKY scheme has some components like, The Pradhan Mantri Aadi Adarsh Gram Yojana (PMAAGY), that aim to develop vulnerable tribal groups and support research institutes, Pre-matric Scholarship and Post Matric Scholarship Schemes.

Marketing and Logistics Development for the Promotion of Tribal Products from the North-Eastern Region (PTP-NER)

The Ministry of Tribal Affairs' Marketing and Logistics Development for Promoting Tribal Products from the Northeastern Region (PTP-NER) scheme launched in 2023, aims to improve livelihood opportunities for tribal artisans by increasing efficiency in procurement, logistics, and marketing of tribal products from Northeastern states. On February 1, 2023, the Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India (TRIFED) signed a memorandum of understanding with the Northeastern Handicrafts and Handloom Development Corporation (NEHHDC), a Central Public Sector Enterprise under the Ministry of Development of the Northeastern Region, to implement this scheme in the NER. 14 TRIFED Regional Offices have inked agreements with India Post as their logistics partner for delivering orders produced through Tribes' e-commerce platform.

Support to Tribal Research Institute (TRI) Scheme

Launched in 2021, to honour the bravery and patriotism of tribal communities, the Ministry has approved the establishment of 10 Tribal Freedom Fighters Museums. This scheme is dedicated to preserving indigenous practices, including tribal healers' knowledge, Adivasi languages, traditional agriculture, dances, and paintings. To safeguard and promote this rich cultural heritage, a searchable digital repository has been developed. Additionally, the tribal Ministry provides funding to the Tribal Co-operative Marketing Federation of India for organising the Adi Mahotsav festival at both the national and state levels, ensuring the celebration of tribal art and culture. These initiatives reflect a commitment to recognising and showcasing the invaluable contributions and cultural diversity of India's tribal communities.

Hiring of Teachers for Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRSs)

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced various education-related development projects and initiatives during the Union Budget session in 2023, including the creation and expansion of Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRSs). The EMRS plan was first developed by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs in 1997-98 as an equal opportunity initiative for Scheduled Tribes (STs) to provide high-quality education facilities in remote and densely populated tribal territories. In her statement, Sitharaman suggested increasing the number of existing EMRSs from 689 to 740, for which 38,800 additional teachers will be hired.

Special Central Assistance(SCA) to Tribal Sub-Scheme(TSS)

Launched in 2019, The Umbrella Scheme for the Development of Scheduled Tribes includes the Special Central Assistance to Tribal Sub Scheme (SCA to TSS), which is now a core component of the Core Scheme. It aims to enhance state government's efforts to develop and benefit tribal people by providing Special Central Assistance as an addition to the State Tribal Sub-Plan (TSP).

Grants are distributed to 27 States that have notified STs under the Special Central Assistance to Tribal Sub-Scheme (SCA to TSS) program for tribal development and welfare. Funds are granted to states based on applications received from state governments, which have been approved by the State Level Executive Committee, chaired by the Chief Secretary of the State, and examined by the Project Appraisal Committee.

Minor forest produce (MFP) through minimum support price (MSP) and mechanism of marketing of development of value chain for MFP

In 2019, the Cabinet approved the Mechanism for Marketing of Minor Forest Produce (MFP) through Minimum Support Price (MSP) and Development of Value Chain for MFP scheme on August 6, 2013. The scheme aims to provide MSP to forest gatherers and promote value addition and marketing through tribal groups and clusters. Currently, the Scheme includes 50 non-nationalised MFPs. This list can be extended to include other non-nationalised MFPs. The Scheme's geographical scope extends to all Indian states and union territories.