NAC member trashes Centre's tribal policy
The National Advisory Council headed by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi has decided to examine governance issues in tribal areas after N.C. Saxena, a member, presented a stinker detailing the failure of central ministries in improving basic "living standards".delhi Updated: Aug 19, 2010 00:19 IST
The National Advisory Council headed by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi has decided to examine governance issues in tribal areas after NC Saxena, a member, presented a stinker detailing the failure of central ministries in improving basic "living standards".
Tribal discontent had made headlines following the Maoist attack in Dantewada in Chhattisgarh, after which the Centre proposed a plan of Rs 14,000 crore to remove the "development deficit" in 60 rebel-affected districts. The cabinet is expected to approve the plan soon.
The council last month constituted a sub-group headed by environmentalist Madhav Gadgil to examine the draft tribal policy of the tribal affairs ministry and make recommendations to the government regarding changes in policies detrimental to tribal development.
Terming displacement of farmers the biggest cause of disenchantment, Saxena, in his note for the NAC, said 85.39 lakh tribals had been displaced since 1990 for mega projects, constituting 56 per cent of India’s total displaced population.
"Since 1980, 9.8 lakh hectares of forestland have been diverted for 11,282 projects," he said, giving the example of Orissa where 54-56 per cent of tribal land has been lost to non-tribals over 25-30 years.
The note, which accused central ministries --- tribal affairs, rural development and panchayati raj – of failing to implement government schemes for tribals stating that India’s most poor, illiterate and malnourished live in tribal areas.
Both illiteracy and malnourishment in tribal areas are over 50 per cent (higher than the national average) and consumption of foodgrains has fallen by 10 to 15 per cent in population up to 15 years. "Studies have found that tribal population has showed not much improvement in the food and nutrition intake over time," the note said.
The note will be discussed at the NAC sub-group meeting expected in the first week of September.