Jharkhand: Vulnerable tribal groups to get food delivered at their door steps | india-news | Hindustan Times
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Jharkhand: Vulnerable tribal groups to get food delivered at their door steps

The Jharkhand government has launched its ambitious food post scheme, the first of its kind in the country, for 70,000 families of particularly vulnerable tribal groups (PVTGs) enrolled under the National Food Security Act (NFSA).

india Updated: Apr 04, 2017 00:55 IST
Sanjoy Dey
Louis Marandi, the minister for social welfare and women and child development, inaugurating the food post scheme in Sundar Pahari block in Godda district of Jharkhand.
Louis Marandi, the minister for social welfare and women and child development, inaugurating the food post scheme in Sundar Pahari block in Godda district of Jharkhand.(HT Photo)

Jharkhand’s primitive tribes will now get food at their door steps. The state government on Monday launched its ambitious food post scheme, the first of its kind in the country, for 70,000 families of particularly vulnerable tribal groups (PVTGs) enrolled under the National Food Security Act (NFSA).

By delivering food through special messengers, the government aims to check malnutrition and hunger deaths among these tribes, officials said.

The NFSA was launched in Jharkhand on September 25, 2015, and covers more than 2.63 people of the state’s total population of 3.29 crore. Under the scheme, PVTGs are entitled to 35 kg free ration every month.

Since the PVTGs -- whose dwindling population is a concern for the state as well as the Centre -- lead a wanderers life in jungles and hills, the NFSA has failed to reach out to them effectively for their benefit.

A survey conducted in two PVTGs villages in Garhwa and Sahebganj districts last year revealed that families of the Soriya Paharaiya -- an extremely endangered PVTG -- from the two villages have to dole out up to Rs 300 to access their free ration.

Women from a tribal group in Dhawadih village in Jharkhand ‘s Palamu feeding their children. (HT Photo)

A right to food activist and the Supreme Court commissioner’s advisor on the same, Balram, who goes by one name, had carried out the survey.

“As per the Supreme Court order dated November 28, 2001, ration distribution should be made available free of cost every month to all the PVTG families at a nearest point. Unfortunately, the so-called nearest points for many of the PVTGs means travelling up to 50-60 km to and fro, which consumes an entire day,” Balram said.

State food minister Saryu Rai said, “We got many reports that PVTGs are not getting their benefits under NFSA due to distance and unawareness towards their rights. So, we have decided to start food post so that these groups could get their rights at door step.”

The scheme was started from three blocks including Sundar Pahari (Godda), Chainpur (Palamu) and Barhait (Sahebganj) on Monday. All 24 districts of the state will covered under the scheme by April end, said Vinay Kumar Choubey, secretary of food and public distribution department.

Choubey said that block level officials would be engaged as special messengers for the schemes, who would deliver a packet of 35-kg rice to each household.

“The delivery boy will carry an Aadhaar enabled POS machine to authenticate the actual delivery,” said Choubey, who claimed Jharkhand is the first state in the country to launch food post.

The scheme will also boost the income of rural women, as government has decided to purchase 35-kg plastic bags from Sakhi Mandal (women self-help groups).

“We have tied up with women SHGs in different villages for providing the 35 kg poly bags. This will increase income of rural women,” Choubey said.