The Government’s philosophy of “Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas” aims to achieve the goal of dignity to all. Various government programmes have facilitated inclusive development covering in specific, farmers, women, youth, OBCs, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, divyangjan and economically weaker sections, and overall priority for the underprivileged (vanchiton ko variyata).

Through variety of initiatives and plans such as the construction of a remarkable number of houses (PM Awas Yojana), guaranteeing more than 100 million tap water connections in villages (Jal Jeevan Mission), bank accounts and management (Jan Dhan), direct benefit transfers to farmers (PM KISAN), and free gas connections (Ujjwal), tangible grassroot impact is being made.

In its Budget 2023-24, government has restressed its commitment to inclusive development. To protect and support the tribal community, government has taken number of steps. Firstly, the budget for the Ministry of Tribal Affairs has seen a total allocation of $1.5 Bn for the financial year 2023-24, a substantial increase of 12.32 per cent.

In 2022, cabinet approved total outlay of INR 28,920 crore for the establishment of 452 new Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRS), upgradation of 211 existing schools and the establishment of 15 Centres of Excellence for Sports for the period 2021-22 to 2025-26. EMRS are residential schools set up by the government of India for the education of tribal children. The schools aim to provide quality education and support to tribal children, to bridge the socio-economic and educational gap between tribal communities and the rest of the country. In Budget 2023-24 government announced that it will recruit 38,800 teachers and support staff for 740 EMRS, serving 3.5 lakh tribal students in the next three years.

The Finance Minister also announced the launch of a scheme to improve the socio-economic condition of particularly vulnerable tribal groups. The scheme, called the Prime Minister Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PM-PVTG) development mission, has an allocation of INR 15,000 crore for implementation in the next three years. The aim of the scheme is to provide basic facilities such as safe housing, clean drinking water and sanitation, improved access to health, education, nutrition, road and telecom connectivity, and sustainable livelihood opportunities to PVTG families and habitations.

The government has introduced "Venture Capital Fund for Scheduled Tribes" (VCF-ST) scheme that aims to encourage entrepreneurship among the STs, has been sanctioned with a sum of INR 50 crores. The VCF-ST plan will be a social sector initiative to encourage and nurture the start-up ideas of ST youngsters and to foster ST entrepreneurship.

India plays a leading role in handicrafts market, the promotion of handicrafts and tribal arts plays an important role in the development of tribal community and building the economy. Through larger networks like 140 Trifed (Tribal Co-operatives Marketing Development Federation of India) outlets, the country markets tribal and traditional handcraft products. In the past six years, this campaign has also helped 10.5 lakh craftspeople find work. The artwork and handicrafts they create show the actual nature of “Atmanirbhar Bharat”. The newly conceptualised Pradhan Mantri Vishwakarma Kaushal Samman (PM-VIKAS) scheme will enable the country's artisans, a substantial share of whom belong to tribal communities, to improve the quality, scale, and reach of their products, integrating them with the Micro, Small and Medium-scale Enterprises (MSME) value chain.

Through such schemes and initiatives, the vision of a prosperous and inclusive India in which the fruits of development reach all regions and citizens is being translated into reality. All sections of the society will need to get on the development journey for India to achieve its goal of becoming a developed nation by 2047.

This blog has been co-authored by Ritam Dutta Chowdhury.

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