The Himachal Pradesh government has urged the union tribal affairs ministry to increase the special central assistance (SCA) for tribal areas of state on the pattern of north-eastern states.
Citing similar geographical conditions, besides the location of tribal areas on the international borders, the state has also requested the union ministry to treat infrastructure development as an integral part of the SCA.
Participating in a consultation and convergence meet organised by union ministry of tribal affairs on Tuesday, Chief parliamentary secretary (CPS) Nand Lal raised this issue. The meeting was convened to fix national priorities with a view to evolving a comprehensive strategy to empower tribal people and ensure their welfare.
Union tribal affairs minister Jual Oram chaired the meeting in which about 25 states gave their presentations.
Nand Lal, while giving his presentation in the meeting, took up the matter of raising the allocation of SCA to Himachal Pradesh. He said that tribal areas constitute more than 42% of the geographic area in the state which was having tough, mountainous terrain, inhospitable weather and harsh living conditions and the central government must keep it in view while allocating the central assistance.
He said the state government was committed to providing easy accessibility, irrigation and water supply schemes and quality health and education institutions in tribal areas. The state's rank was also much higher in development indicators than other states. The centre should come forward in helping the state in further improving its human development index, he added.
He also apprised the Centre that the state government had chalked out an ambitious plan to connect all villages by roads with a view to facilitating the tribal population to bring their quality agriculture and horticulture produce in the market. He said that substantial progress had been made in this direction but to achieve the target in a time-bound manner, more special funds from the central government were required.
He also requested the ministry to release SCA in one installment, that too, in first quarter of financial year, so that the available funds were optimally utilised, as the working season in tribal areas of the state was limited due to harsh climate conditions.