V Kishore Chandra Deo, Thursday assumed charge as Union Minister of Tribal Affairs in New Delhi and said rehabilitation of tribes who have lost their land and dwellings would be one of the key challenges facing his Ministry.
"Rehabilitation of tribals is a major issue, especially in the 5th schedule areas of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat. Most of the tribes in these areas are displaced because of mining and other industrial projects," said Deo.
On being asked about the focus area of the Ministry, Deo said: "The implementation of Forest Rights Act lies with the State governments. We will ensure that rights of tribals are protected. We will also look at the industrial activities in these areas which is a major cause of their displacement."
The Minister said he would work towards better coordination with other ministries like environment and rural development to ensure that there is no overlapping in the work undertaken by them.
Referring to demands for creating separate tribal districts in the country, he said: "Forming a separate tribal district will not help. My objective is to ensure their development. We need to pursue and review the programs related to development of tribal areas."