New Delhi/Ranchi: Union Minister for Tribal Affairs Arjun Munda has written to Union Rural Development Minister Narendra Singh Tomar seeking inclusion of plantation and afforestation work under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGA).
Munda wrote that the Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MoTA) is making arrangements for the marketing of various forest produce. He said the ministry would ensure minimum support price (MSP) for such products. He said non-timber forest produce (NTFP) is the means of livelihood for the Adivasis.
¨Under the proposal, MoTA has started branding and marketing of minor forest produce (MFP) by setting up Van Dhan Kendra which has 300 members. The ministry has also started Van Dhan Yojana and programme for value addition so that sustainable livelihood may be ensured and income may be generated for the tribal people,¨ the minister reportedly wrote in the letter.
The MoTA has approved 1126 Van Dhan Kendra across 21 states and one UT. There are 36 lakh tribal collectors associated with these centres, sources said.
Munda said the tribal people dependent on forests for a living had suffered a jolt due to COVID-19 breakout across the globe. The pandemic has forced a large number of migrant Adivasi workers to return to their homes. Now these people need employment and sustainable sources of livelihood, he said.
¨The MoTA can help in expanding MGNREGAś employment activities through inclusion of MFP plantation and forestry under its purview. This would greatly help provide immediate income to the tribal communities but would also help in long-term conservation of forests and ensuring profitable forestry, Munda said.