Welfare of tribal communities

A minimum of 10 per cent of budgetary allocations in all departments in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir is now to be earmarked for the welfare of the tribal communities , a step though taken belatedly, is a step taken in right direction. The members of these communities have, more or less, remained neglected as they have so far not been reasonable partakers of the fruits of development that the country in general and Jammu and Kashmir in particular have achieved. It is an admitted fact that development at grass root levels for them is required and in the absence of a well set and defined policy, especially in respect of provision of funds for various schemes specially tailored for them, nothing concrete on the ground could be achieved. Addressing this concern in respect of the tribal communities and to rid them of accumulated economic backwardness, Lieutenant Governor Girish Chandra Murmuhas issued directions to Finance Department to take suitable steps in this regard . What is commendable about the whole exercise is the timeline of three months has been fixed for implementation.
It is also noteworthy that Government of India had in December 2019, sanctioned an amount of Rs.30 .10 crore under special assistance scheme for various welfare measures for the tribal people mainly in respect of initiating of various infrastructural projects for them. There should be a simultaneous push, also from the UT Government towards that end and in that context, earmarking 10 per cent from out of the budgeted provisions of all departments is bound to give a boost to combined efforts to better the lot of these hitherto neglected sections of the society simply because of their population dispersal and concentration in hilly, far flung and inaccessible areas. The steps of any hue in this direction would not yield the desired results at the grass root levels unless a proper mechanism was in place to assess, monitor and appraise the projects works, their completion and accruable benefits to the targeted tribal members. The move of the Government to create such posts and engage officials at district levels to oversee these measures,is again appropriate and required to bring about the desired results.
There are more than 24 existing tribal hostels both for boys and girls already functioning in the UT and to take stock of the available facilities and the need to augment those periodically should not be on rare occasions but with due periodicity. However,those additional hostels which are under construction should be seen getting completed to accommodate more inmates. In the same way, if the benefits available in the education field are not adequately reaped by the tribals, the reasons thereof, the rate of drop outs of students and taking stock of incentives provided to them, if any, should form the major part of the comprehensive developmental initiatives of the Government for tribal communities. They are to get benefits under the PM’s Investment Package (PMIP), and 79 new hostels are proposed to be built again is a major step towards helping out these members of the tribal communities.
Since most of them are living along border areas and vulnerability to hostilities from across the border is a routine affair, whether proper arrangements for their safety in the shape of bunkers are existing or not should be assessed and more bunkers constructed on need basis principle to impart to them a sense of security and safety.Developing cluster Tribal Model Villages , milk villages, milk chilling plants and facilities for allied agricultural activities would supplement the overall efforts to better the lot of tribal communities.