Panel favours startups for tribal entrepreneurs

Parliamentary panel asks govt to prepare plan in six months

Panel favours startups for tribal entrepreneurs

A Parliamentary panel has asked the Centre to come up with a road map on “Startups” for tribal entrepreneurs who are ready to embrace new opportunities.

These ventures could be based on “co-operative model” with locally available natural resources, generating employment and sustainable development opportunities for tribal women, the panel said.

Acknowledging that of late tribal women have been engaging themselves in different economic activities, the Committee on Empowerment of Women led by Bijoya Chakravarty asked the government to prepare a plan in next six months and seek opinion from the state governments.

Pitching for diversification of economic activities, the panel said tribal women should be encouraged and provided the expertise in other vocations as well, as agricultural sector is going through a rough patch owing to the vagaries of nature and market volatilities.

In this regard, the committee stressed on the need for setting up “micro startups” and “agro startups” especially designed for tribal societies.

It wanted the Tribal Ministry, which the panel described as a “mute spectator to the plight of the tribals in general and tribal women in particular”, and concerned agencies to chalk out a “perspective plan” for implementation with a specific time frame.

The panel cited Urlong Tea Project — an agro startup in Meghalaya — saying it may be worth exploring and used as a reference point for drafting a road map for such initiatives. Located in Mawlyngot village, 45 km off Shillong, the project was started in 2011.

It became popular for its commitment to organic farming and the social change it has brought into the lives of people, especially women, in neighbouring villages. It produces black, green and white tea under the brand name “Urlong” and its products are in huge demands that are mostly met through brick and mortar stores as well as online platforms in markets.

The panel also commended the Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India Ltd’s pro-active role in imparting training to tribal women in many fields, including shouldering the task of a facilitator and service provider to tribal business ventures.

It suggested that while, handicrafts made by tribal women are accorded the status of heritage items by connoisseurs, there is a need to align these products according to the prevailing market demands and consumers taste. “This mass acceptability is needed to make tribal products cost effective, thereby generating revenues for tribal artisans in the long run,” it added.

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