Shri Arjun Munda, Minister of Tribal Affairs, today, virtually launched the nationwide campaign “COVID Teeka Sang Surakshit Van, Dhan aur Uddyam” to accelerate the pace of COVID vaccination among tribals, in India. Minister of State for Steel, Shri Faggan Singh Kulaste; Ministers of State for Tribal Affairs – Shri Bishweswar Tudu and Smt. Renuka Singh too were present virtually during the launch. Other dignitaries present during the launch were Shri Pravir Krishna, Managing Director, TRIFED; WHO Representative Dr. Roderico Ofrin; UNICEF India Representative Dr. Yasmin Ali Haque; and senior officers of TRIFED as well as partners of Tribal Affairs Ministry and TRIFED in states.
Shri Munda launched the campaign through video conferencing link-up with field camps in Mandla in Madhya Pradesh and Bastar in Chhattisgarh. During this, Bastar Collector Shri. Rajat Bansal and Mandla District Collector Smt Harshika Singh gave details about the preparations for vaccination being run in their respective districts.
The campaign will leverage the 45,000 Van Dhan Vikas Kendras (VDVK) of the Tribal Co-operative Marketing Development Federation of India (TRIFED), a national level cooperative body under the administrative control of Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Government of India.
Launching the campaign, Shri Munda said, “We have been able to overcome two challenging waves, gained experience and are determined to stop the third wave. We have a role to play in rebuilding a new society, free of COVID infection. The campaign hopes to make our Van Dhan Vikas Kendras and villages to be the first in respective states to be declared COVID free and free of all restrictions.” The campaign will be implemented with the help of traditional village headsmen, SHGs, and ground level workers in villages and the Van Dhan Kendras will become the focal points , the Minister explained. Tribal communities should not only remain safe and healthy during the pandemic but should also be able to continue their livelihood activities, this is the objective of the campaign, the Minister added.
The Minister said that to ensure that the third wave does not impact the tribal areas, it has become very important for us to vaccinate the tribal people.
Sh Arjun Munda further explained that the campaign will help to beat the infodemic against the coronavirus vaccine, and myths, rumours, misinformation and disinformation are adding to the infodemic. The ‘COVID Teeka Sang Surakshit Van, Dhan aur Uddyam’ campaign focusses on reassurance, pride and self-efficacy. It promotes ‘Livelihoods with Health’ in tribal areas, fast tracks the activities of VDVK, and accelerates the pace of COVID vaccination among tribals engaged in procurement, value addition and marketing of handlooms, handicrafts and forest produces,” Shri Munda added.
On this occasion, Shri Bhisweshwar Tudu said that last year, due to restrictions imposed due to the Covid 19 lockdown, people of the tribal communities in several places were unable to access the forests which is the main source of their livelihood. However, the Van Dhan scheme of TRIFED took special care of the tribal community. Now TRIFED is launching a new campaign “COVID Teeka Sang Surakshit Van, Dhan aur Uddyam” to clear all the misconceptions related to vaccination among the tribal people and to motivate them to get themselves vaccinated so that they donot suffer in the future..
Smt. Renuka Singh in her speech said that today 100% vaccination is needed to prevent corona. To save lives, to earn a living and also to be safe from Corona, therefore, “COVID Teeka Sang Surakshit Van, Dhan aur Uddyam” campaign has launched by TRIFED under the Ministry of Tribals for 10.5 crore tribal community people across the country. This campaign will prove to be very beneficial for the tribal people.
UNICEF India Representative, Dr Yasmin Haque said, “COVID-19 has exacerbated issues of access to sanitation, nutrition and health services in the tribal areas making the people more vulnerable. This campaign is aligned with UNICEF’s equity approach to survival, growth and development of children. We are proud to be associated with this campaign, which focuses on vaccine equity and engages with communities that risk being left behind.”
The India Representative of WHO, Dr, Roderico Ofrin said that vaccine offers indemnity against covid virus and reaching ‘hard to reach’ people should be the focus of any vaccination drive. Communication plays a vital role in the success of the vaccination drive and it is very appropriate that such an awareness campaign is being launched for the tribal communities today, he added.
The campaign is being launched in partnership with UNICEF and WHO. The goal is to connect over 50 lakh tribals emphasizing COVID-19 vaccination is free, available in the nearby centres and it not only protects people from hospitalization cost and death but also helps to continue with livelihood activities.
The campaign will highlight the three key Js:
⦁ Jeevan (Life) – Every life and livelihood is precious, so vaccination is key to life and is free.
⦁ Jeevika (Livelihood) – You can continue with your Van Dhan Vikas Kendra and livelihood activities without any fear of getting the disease if you are vaccinated. It also saves you from hospitalization and other opportunity costs.
⦁ Jaagrookta (Awareness) – Simplification of the process of registration for vaccination, place, accessibility to different audiences and age groups, especially women and elderly population. Van Dhan Vikas Kendras collaborate and work with other stakeholders with service as a motto and with dedication and commitment that they have a key role to make Panchayats and villages coronavirus free.
The campaign will leverage the strength and network of Self Help Groups and other common touch points – Common Service Centres, fertilizers outlet centres, Haats and Bazaars, VDVKs and milk collection points, and will use wall paintings with tribal motifs to promote vaccine uptake and COVID Appropriate Behaviour.
The campaign will use non-traditional partnerships and community reach for mobilization and collective action such as involvement of traditional leaders like tadvis/patels, faith-based healers and incentivize adoption of vaccines through local health structures and COVID warriors.
On the occasion, Shri Munda also launched the newly prepared Digital Directory under TRIFED’s Digital Connect Programme. TRIFED started a Digital Connect programme under which a two way communication process is proposed to be established with all tribal Beneficiaries associated with Van Dhan Vikas Yojana and Retail operations of TRIFED. Beside these, a number of other stakeholders interested in TRIFED activities are also being included to expand awareness about the schemes and activities of TRIFED and motivate them to be a part of these livelihood generating initiatives for tribals. The directory with all this information is now ready and was launched by the Minister, thus signalling the commencement of the Digital Connect Programme of TRIFED.