Asserting that the involvement of tribal communities in developmental processes was "highly important", Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday urged state governments to give a "healing touch" to victims of "systemic exploitation".
"The states should endeavour to give a healing touch to the tribal communities. Their integration in the development processes is highly important. But this should not become a means of exploitation or be at the cost of their unique identity and their culture," Manmohan Singh said.
He admitted that tribal communities in central India have become victims of "systemic exploitation".
The prime minister was speaking after inaugurating the two-day conference of chief ministers and state ministers for forests and tribal development. The meeting has been convened to review the implementation of the Forest Rights Act, 2006, and tribal development and welfare programmes.