Rs 15,000 crore allocated to Pradhan Mantri PVTG mission for next three years
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced a mission for the welfare of Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) in the 2023-24 Union Budget February 1, 2023. A fund of Rs 15,000 crore for the next three years has been allocated for the socioeconomic development of the group.
The Pradhan Mantri PVTG Mission will be launched as part of ‘Reaching The Last Mile’, one of the seven Saptarishi priorities enlisted in this year’s Budget. There are 75 PVTG groups in India that will benefit from this scheme.
FM, in her Budget speech, said:
The PVTG development mission will saturate the particularly vulnerable tribal groups with safe housing, clean drinking water, education, nutrition, road and telecom connection and livelihood. A Budget of Rs 15,000 crore will be dedicated to this mission in the next three years.
A total sum of Rs 12,461.88 crore has been set aside for the Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MoTA), a whooping increase of Rs 5,160.88 crore from last year. Last year, Rs 252 crore was allocated for the development of PVTGs.
The FM also announced 38,800 teachers and support staff would be appointed in 749 Eklavya Model Residential Schools for tribal students in rural and tribal districts to reach more than 350,000 students relying on these schools.
The Budget under the Umbrella Programme for Development of Scheduled Tribes has been increased to 4,295 crores from 3,183 crores last year.
Budget allocation to a scheme is not enough if not utilised properly, said Y Giri Rao, a tribal welfare activist and chief executive of Odisha-based non-profit Vasundhara. There is a need for a National Tribal Policy to define what development means for these communities and state how the funds will be used.
“Though this is a huge jump from the earlier Budget of Rs 250 crore allocated for the welfare of PVTGs in 2021-22, we need a policy for this group, not just schemes. There are 75 PVTGs in the country, but we do not know their individual and collective population,” Rao said.
Some PVTGs are nomadic and keep moving from one state to another, he pointed out.
“We need to see how these nomadic groups benefit from this scheme. Some groups like the Konduru community have PVTG status in Andhra Pradesh but are not even enlisted as Scheduled Tribes in Odisha; we need to look into issues like these as well,” he said.
“The programme for the welfare of PVTGs began in the 1970s and we are still just talking about providing them basic amenities. This means that there is an absence of a proper policy that considers their culture, practices, livelihood and other aspects of their lives for their welfare, not just lack of funds,” Rao added.
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