“ We will establish 50,000 ‘Van Dhan Vikas Kendras’ in the tribal areas of the country to ensure the availability of primary processing and value addition for forest produce and to provide employment for tribals and increase tribal income.” – Shri Narendra Modi, Hon’ble PM – Sankalp Patra Lok Sabha 2019 Page 33 under Section, strengthening “Sabka Vikas”
Keeping in line with the Prime Minister’s call for “Atmanirbhar Bharat” aligned to the slogan of “Be Vocal for Local Buy Tribal”, towards realizing the goal of “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas” and the Sankalp made in the Sankalp Patra 2019, TRIFED has been implementing “ Sankalp Se Siddhi – Mission Van Dhan”. As part of this initiative, Mission Van Dhan was launched by Minister for Tribal Affairs on 15th June 2021. The Mission targeted the establishment of 50,000 Van Dhan SHGs subsumed into 3000 Van Dhan Vikas Kendra Clusters (VDVKCs). Through its extensive ecosystem of partners involving State Nodal Department, State implementing agencies, convergence partners, reputed training institutions, established over the past few years, to systematically and efficiently implement the scheme .
In a short span of two years, it has successfully now sanctioned 52,976 VDSHGs subsumed into 3110 VDVKCs covering 9.27 lakh beneficiaries & 27 States/UTs. These VDVKCs are at different Stages of development and many success stories have emerged till date. The VDVKCs in Maharashtra, Manipur, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Odisha, Kerala, Tripura, Gujarat, Sikkim, Andhra Pradesh, to name a few along with all the 27 participating States have begun producing almost 600 varieties of products.
To commemorate this commendable milestone, a virtual event was organized on November 29, 2021, which saw the participation of members of SIA, SNA, tribal beneficiaries and other stakeholders in a notable number and was live streamed through TRIFEDs page Van Dhan Se Vikas https://www.facebook.com/VanDhanSeVikas/.
This was a fruitful session where problems and progress of the scheme was discussed in detail. It was also attended by Shri Ramsinh Rathwa, Chairman, TRIFED and Shri Pravir Krishna, Managing Director, TRIFED among other dignitaries.
TRIFED has been implementing several noteworthy initiatives for the empowerment of the tribals. In fact over the past two years, The ‘Mechanism for Marketing of Minor Forest Produce (MFP) through Minimum Support Price (MSP) & Development of Value Chain for MFP’ has impacted the tribal ecosystem. The term Van Dhan was coined by the Prime Minister while inaugurating the scheme at Bijapur, Chhattisgarh on 14 April 2019. A component of the same scheme, this is a programme for value addition, branding & marketing of Minor Forest Produces by establishing Van Dhan Kendras to facilitate creation of sustainable livelihoods for the forest-based tribes. It has emerged as a source of employment generation for tribal gatherers and forest dwellers and the home-bound tribal artisans.52976 Van Dhan SHGs subsumed into 3110 VDVK Clusters covering 9.27 Lakh beneficiaries in 27 States/UTs, have been formed. Training of clusters completed, advance training through “TECH for Tribal” programme in association with reputed institutions like IITs, TISS etc for 36925 Beneficiaries underway. All active clusters have initiated MFP procurement operations out of which around 1600 clusters started value and processing operations. A number of success stories have emerged and sales of more than of Rs. 1500 lakhs have been achieved. In addition, two mega MFP Processing Projects in Jagdalpur (Bastar) Chhattisgarh, and Raigad, Maharashtra, are at advanced stages of completion. The Enterprise approach under the Mission will provide economies of scale and help in fostering Tribal entrepreneurship on a large scale with participation of NGOs, creating tribal owned, tribal managed production units while leveraging all existing funds and resource pools.
To take these successes and activities to the next level, an initiative with focus on livelihoods development and fostering enterprises of tribals has been envisaged. These VDSHGs/VDVKCs will be nurtured and developed into sustainable enterprises of tribals based on locally available resources and skill set.
The Mission activities will be implemented all over India for Scheduled Tribes beneficiaries and is an ongoing intervention, covering all the 27 states and 308 tribal pre-dominant districts under the Van Dhan program and MSP for MFP Scheme. The initiatives is expected to provide active employment and livelihoods for 1 Million tribal families enabling them to engage in productive economic activities leveraging forest resources and activities they are already familiar with, without any dislocation or migration needs.
With the focus on ensuring round-the-year income generating opportunity for tribals and addressing the formidable problems that the Tribals face, such as possession of land/house with no rights; restrictions in the collection of minor forest produce; exploitation by middlemen; displacements, lack of development in forest villages in this mission modeby, Ministry of Tribal Affairs,hopes to usher in the next phase of tribal empowerment.