Van Dhan Vikas Kendras
Van Dhan Vikas Kendras
The Van Dhan Vikas Kendras/Karyakram is a Government of India initiative. It is targeted towards improving the livelihood of tribal population. The focus and objective of the initiative is to harness the wealth of the forest for the benefit of society as a whole and also to the tribal population in particular. It is a joint effort of Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India (TRIFED) and the Government of India.
The program has ambitious plans to tap into the traditional skill sets and knowledge of tribal people. This is being planned by adding information technology and other technologies. This will help in upgrading of production and output of end product at each and every stage. It also will be helpful in converting tribal wisdom and experience into an economic activity that is remunerative. It is an ambitious initiative because it helps to leverage and also promote the overall strength of the tribal population and take the benefits and end results to a viable scale.
The implementation of the scheme will be done through the Ministry of Tribal Affairs as they are the Nodal Department at the central level. At the state level, the District Collectors and the State Nodal Agencies for MFPs will play a major role in the implementation of the scheme at the grass-root level.
Objective of the Scheme
- Provide more avenues to the tribal population for income earning.
- Harness and develop their traditional skills and make them more economically remunerative.
- Improve the commercial productivity of the tribal population by bringing to their doorsteps modern-day technology, including information technology.
- Help the tribals in finding a readymade market for their produce so that they can see some economic benefit out of it.
- Ensure that the living standards of tribal people are improved by giving them access to markets and also by helping them to harness their skills better.
Nature of Assistance
- The scheme proposes to constitute 10 Self Help Groups (SHGs) consisting of 30 Tribal gatherers. Each of these SHGs will be trained and they also will be provided with working capital. The training and financial assistance will help in adding value to the products that are collected by the gatherers from the forest.
- The SHGs will also be assisted in marketing their products. This will be done under the leadership of the respective Collectors. The marketing will be done within the state and also outside the state with the help of the right support and infrastructure. Big corporate houses will also be involved in the marketing process.
- The SHG groups belonging to the tribal population will be trained on various aspects of livelihood. These include harvesting that is sustainable and ongoing, collection of the harvest, primary processing and finally adding value to it.
- The thrust and focus will be on Minor Forest Produce (MFP). This is a vital and major source of livelihood for tribal living in forest areas. Around 100 million tribal people are dependent on MFPs for shelter, food, medicines and cash income. It is the life-line for primitive tribal groups such as landless and hunter-gatherers. Around 20 to 40% of the income is derived from MFP and therefore the focus will be in increasing the income potential of tribal that depends on MFPs for their survival. This segment alone has the potential of creating around 10 million workdays in the country on an annual basis.
Major MFPs that will be covered under this Scheme
There is a big list of MFPs that will be covered under the Van Dhan Vikas Kendras Karyakram. Here are a few of them:
- Mahua seed and flower, chironjee, hill broom, tamarind, sal seed and sal leaves, honey, myrobalan, bamboo split, amchur (mango), churan/candy, tez patta, seed lac, black pepper, cardamom, dry ginger, turmeric, coffee, tea, cinnamon, sea buckthorn and a host of other such products.
Implementation of the Scheme
- The 30-odd members under each self-help groups (SHGs) would be formed under the aegis Van Dhan Vikas Samuh. They would be trained and their existing skills in the respective areas would be honed and strengthened. These would include activities such as usage sieving tools and small cutting tools, dyers, decorators, packaging tools and other such equipment. This would depend on the MFPs that are available in various areas.
- The Van Dhan Vikas Samuh also would have the following facilities:
- Support for building and infrastructure. These will be established in one of the houses of the beneficiaries. It also could be gram panchayat buildings or a part of a government building.
- Training with fully equipped infrastructure for each batch of 30 SHG groups of trainees. The raw material for the training purpose will also be provided. Trainee kits consisting of bag, scribbling pad, brochures, pen, booklet and training manual will also be provided.
- Working capital assistance for the SHGs will also be provided. This will be done through tie-ups with banks, financial institutions, NSTFDCs and others.
Once the operations under the scheme are found to be successful, the scheme also envisages setting up of common and permanent infrastructure facilities. These include building, warehouse and other facilities for use by the samuh members. This will be done in the next phase
Sustainable and Profitable PPP Model
The end product after primary processing shall be supplied to the State Implementing Agencies by the SHGs. Direct tie-up with corporate secondary processors is also being planned. There is a need for the creation of a secondary and tertiary level of a facility at the taluka, district and state level. Big corporate shall be made a part of the PPP model. This model will be a judicious and well-thought-out strategy of using private entrepreneur skills for undertaking processing and also marketing the produce.
Central and State Government support will also be provided by creating the required infrastructure and also by creating an enabling environment. These cumulative efforts will create the right value addition of various systematic scientific lines. There are also ambitious plans for sophisticated and large scale value addition hubs. These will be managed by private entrepreneurs.
In fine The Van Dhan Vikas Kendras, over a period of time, will become important milestones in the economic development of the tribal population. It will benefit tribals who are into the collection of MFPs. It will help them in optimally utilizing the natural resources and also provide livelihood in the various MFP-rich districts of the country.