PM Modi unveils ₹24k-cr tribal welfare plan | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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PM Modi unveils 24k-cr tribal welfare plan

By, Ranchi
Nov 16, 2023 01:17 AM IST

PM’s announcement mark an outreach by BJP to these communities in a manner similar to party’s efforts to attract Dalits into its fold ahead of 2019 elections.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday launched a 24,000 crore mission aimed at benefiting 2.8 million people from particularly vulnerable tribal groups (PVTGs) across 220 districts, marking a mega push by the government to reach out to India’s tribal communities just months ahead of general elections.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi pays tribute to the statue of freedom fighter Birsa Munda on his birth anniversary which is celebrated as Janjatiya Gaurav Diwas, at Birsa Munda Museum in Khunti on Wednesday (ANI)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi pays tribute to the statue of freedom fighter Birsa Munda on his birth anniversary which is celebrated as Janjatiya Gaurav Diwas, at Birsa Munda Museum in Khunti on Wednesday (ANI)

Launching the mission in Jharkhand’s Khunti district on the birth anniversary of tribal icon and freedom fighter Birsa Munda, Modi also underlined his government’s commitment to the development of the poor and marginalised communities, and explained what secularism meant to his administration.

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“Modi has made the deprived his priority… I have come to this land of Bhagwan Birsa Munda to repay the debt that I owe to the deprived,” he said. “I assure the women, young and the poor that it is a guarantee that Modi’s guarantee would be delivered. Social justice is now a generic term. Modi is now looking at adivasi nyay (justice for tribals).”

He also inaugurated and laid the foundation of projects worth 7,200 crore, including those to widen the 52-km stretch of the Mahagama-Hansdiha section of National Highway-133 and the 45-km stretch of Basukinath-Deoghar section of National Highway-114A; the KDH-Purnadih coal handling plant; and a new academic and administrative building of the Indian Institute of Information Technology-Ranchi.

“True secularism comes only when all possibilities of discrimination against any citizen of the country are eliminated,” Modi said, adding that social justice was ensured only when the benefits of government schemes reach everyone in the same measure.

This is the spirit behind the Viksit Bharat Sankalp Yatra which he flagged off on Wednesday. “In this journey, the government will go to every village of the country in mission mode and will make every poor and deprived person a beneficiary of government schemes,” Modi added.

Officials said that under the PVTG mission, basic facilities such as road and telecom connectivity, electricity, safe housing, clean drinking water and sanitation, improved access to education, health and nutrition and sustainable livelihood opportunities will be provided to PVTG habitations, which are mostly remote, scattered and inaccessible.

“Today we are launching the PM Jan Man (PM PVTG) mission to reach out the last person standing among the most primitive of tribes. We have identified 75 PVTGs across over 22,000 villages who are in lakhs. We will provide them everything required for their mainstreaming and pasting them fruits of development,” Modi said.

Tribal communities form 8.6% of the country, according to the 2011 census. They hold sway in a number of states across broad swathes of central and eastern India, and the North-East, and 47 of the 543 Lok Sabha seats are reserved for the communities. The PM’s announcement mark an outreach by the BJP to these communities in a manner similar to the party’s efforts to attract Dalits into its fold ahead of the 2019 general elections.

Tribal communities also form a key demographic in the ongoing elections in five states — especially in the heartland provinces of Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, where 29 and 45 assembly seats are reserved for the community.

Earlier in the day, Modi visited Birsa Munda’s birthplace Ulihatu and paid floral tributes to him on his birth anniversary, which is celebrated as Janjatiya Gaurav Diwas since 2021. Modi, the first PM to visit Ulihatu, was accorded a warm welcome with local residents dancing to the tunes of traditional instruments. He was accompanied by chief minister Hemant Soren, governor CP Radhakrishnan and Union tribal affairs minister Arjun Munda.

“It was during the Vajpayee government that a separate ministry (for tribal welfare) was put in place. Today, the budget for that department has increased sixfold,” said Modi.

He released 18,000 crore as part of the 15th instalment of the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) and hailed the administrative record of his government.

He said the government resisted the temptation of reaching for low-hanging fruits and attended to long-pending issues while citing the example of electrification of 18,000 villages.

Modi recalled organising the Gram Swaraj Abhiyan in 2018 where 1,000 government officers were sent to villages to create awareness about seven prime government schemes and expressed confidence that the yatra will become equally successful.

“I look forward to the day when every poor will have a ration card for free ration, gas connection from Ujjwala scheme, electricity supplied to homes, tapped water connection, Ayushman card and a pucca house,” he said.

He also emphasised the need to focus on the four pillars of a developed India.

“The degree of development in India depends on capability to strengthen the four pillars of Amrit Kaal — women power, youth power, agricultural power and power of our poor and middle class,” he said, calling them Amrit stambhs or pillars.

He said his administration pulled 130 million people out of poverty.

“Our Seva Kaal began when our government came to power in 2014,” he said, pointing out that a large population of the country was deprived of basic amenities. He said that the poor had lost all hope due to the careless approach of earlier governments. “The present government began work with a spirit of service,” he added. Modi said LPG connections in villages rose from 50-55% to 100%, administration of live-saving vaccines reached 100% children from 55%, tap water connections reached 70% of households from 17%.

Referring to the inspiring struggle of Bhagwan Birsa Munda for tribal pride, the Prime Minister mentioned the association of the land of Jharkhand with innumerable tribal heroes.

He mentioned that many heroes such as Tilka Manjhi, Sidhu Kanhu, Chand Bhairav, Phulo Jhano, Nilambar, Pitambar, Jatra Tana Bhagat and Albert Ekka have made the land proud.

He said Adivasi warriors took part in the freedom struggle across the country and mentioned the contribution of Govind Guru of Mangarh Dham, Tantya Bhil of Madhya Pradesh, Martyr Veer Narayan Singh of Chhattisgarh, and Rani Gaidinliu of Manipur, among others.

Lamenting that the legacy of such personalities was being neglected, the prime minister expressed satisfaction that they were remembered during the Amrit Mahotsav — the central government’s nomenclature to celebrate India’s 75 years of independence . He also expressed gratitude towards President Droupadi Murmu for her steadfast commitment to the development of tribal communities.

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