Development of adivasis is personal for me, says PM Modi

The prime minister highlighted that now over 3000 \'Van Dhan Vikas Kendras\' have been established in different states of the country

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday asserted that the country is working for the tribal population with a pride that was not seen earlier and stressed that their welfare is a matter of "personal relations and sentiments" for him.

He was speaking after inaugurating "Aadi Mahotsav", a national tribal festival to showcase tribal culture on a large scale. Speaking on the occasion, the Prime Minister listed the steps taken by his government since 2014 to boost the progress of the community.

Mr Modi noted that for the first time Droupadi Murmu, a tribal, has occupied the top constitutional post in the country. He added that the budgetary allocation for the community has risen manifold since 2014.

The Prime Minister called upon the people of Delhi and neighbouring areas to visit the festival to witness the rich tribal culture and nutritious food products being showcased from across the country.

"Let's ensure that they sell all their products. The government is now going from Delhi to those considered remote and bringing them into the mainstream," he said.

Mr Modi mentioned that tribals played a big role in India's freedom movement, but attempts were made for decades to ignore these golden chapters and the sacrifices made by men and women from the community and his government is now bringing them to light in the "Amrit Kaal".

"For the first time, the country has started celebrating Janjatiya Gaurav Diwas on the birth anniversary of Bhagwan Birsa Munda. Museums on the lives and contributions of tribal leaders are opening in various states. It will provide inspiration and give direction to the country for many centuries," Mr Modi said.

He said that his government has worked to boost the demand for tribal products, noting that over 1.25 crore tribals, especially women, are part of over 80 lakh self-help groups across the country.

"Aadi Mahotsav celebrates India's glorious tribal culture and traditions. It is taking our strength of 'unity in diversity' to new heights. It makes our idea of 'vikas and virasat' livelier. Aadi Mahotsav is like an infinite sky where the diversity of India is projected like the colours of a rainbow," the Prime Minister said.

Mr Modi recalled his long association with the community. "Welfare of tribal society is also a matter of personal relationships and emotions for me," he said, remembering his close association with the tribal communities during his days as a social worker.

"I have seen your traditions closely, lived them and learnt from them," the Prime Minister added, remembering spending important years of his life in the tribal belt of Umargam to Ambaji.

He stated that tribal life has taught him a great deal about the country and its traditions.

The Prime Minister emphasised that the country is moving with unprecedented pride with regard to its tribal glory and said that the tribal products find a place of pride in his gifts to foreign dignitaries.

"Tribal tradition is presented by India as an integral part of Indian pride and heritage on global platforms. India conveys solutions to problems like global warming and climate change in the tribal way of life," he said, highlighting that the tribal community of India has a lot to inspire and teach with regard to sustainable development.

Elaborating on the "Van Dhan Mission", the Prime Minister informed the audience that more than 3,000 Van Dhan Kendras have been established in various states and about 90 minor forest products have been brought into the ambit of MSP, seven times more than the number in 2014.

"Similarly, the growing network of self-help groups in the country is benefiting the tribal society. There are 1.25 crore tribal members in more than 80 lakh self-help groups functioning in the country," he said.

Pointing out the hardships faced by the tribal youth due to the language barrier, the Prime Minister shed light on the New Educational Policy where youth can opt to study in their mother tongues. "Our tribal children and youth studying in their own language and progressing has now become a reality," he said.

The Prime Minister reiterated that the country is soaring to new heights because his government is prioritising the development of the deprived. "The path of progress opens automatically when the country gives priority to the person standing at the last rung," Mr Modi said.

He informed the audience that in this year's budget, the sanction for Scheduled Tribes has also been increased by five times as compared to 2014.

"The youth who used to get trapped in the trap of separatism due to isolation and neglect, are now connecting with the mainstream through the internet and infra. This is the stream of 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas and Sabka Prayas' which reaches every citizen of the far-flung areas of the country. This is the sound of the confluence of Aadi and Aadhunikta (modernity), on which the soaring edifice of New India will stand," the Prime Minister said.

The Prime Minister threw the spotlight on the journey of tribal society in the last eight-nine years and said that it has been a witness to the change where the country is giving priority to equality and harmony.

The Prime Minister sought to highlight the journey of tribal society in the last eight-nine years and said that it has been a witness to the change where the country is giving priority to equality and harmony.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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