Ahead of polls, Raman Singh govt tries to woo tribals with Van Dhan Yojana

Ahead of polls, Raman Singh govt tries to woo tribals with Van Dhan Yojana

Courtesy : Bureau10/09/2018 08:26

New Delhi: The Raman Singh-led BJP government in Chhattisgarh is trying to cash in on the Central Government’s flagship programme Van Dhan Yojana to woo the tribals ahead of the upcoming state elections. 

Next month, Chhattisgarh would become the first state in the country to roll out India’s maiden Van Dhan Vikas Kendra in the Naxal-infested Dantewada and Bijapur districts. 

Elections are scheduled to be held in Chhattisgarh in November.

Van Dhan Yojana, launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Bijapur on April 14, involves setting up of skill upgrade and value addition centres in tribal villages. These centres would first train the tribals how to add value to the minor forest produce (MFP), which in turn would help them enhance their income. 

While 20 tribal-dominated states have decided to launch the initiative, Chhattisgarh has done the most extensive work. The government is seeing the initiative as an opportunity to woo back the tribals, who in the last Assembly election had voted in favour of the Congress.

According to state government sources, a beginning in the scheme would be made in Bijapur and it would be then extended to Dantewada. 

The state government is also desperately looking towards the Centre to increase the minimum support price (MSP) of minor forest produce before the code of conduct is put in place.

A move is afoot to increase the MSP by 40-60 per cent and identify more MFPs to be included under the MSP scheme, which was launched in 2013-14 by the Congress-led UPA government. The scheme involves fixing MSP for each of 24 MFPs by the Centre.

In case the market price falls below this price, state governments move in to procure MFPs in village haats and mandis. These are then stored and sold when the market prices are favourable. 

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