Proper enforcement of laws can ensure justice to STs: Misra

Proper enforcement of laws can ensure justice to STs: Misra

'Concept of tribal development is not clear, says Dean

Dean of the School of Social Sciences, Central University of Hyderabad, Kamal K Misra said that the need of the hour for sustainable livelihood of Scheduled Tribes (STs) is proper implementation of existing legislations and there is no need for new legislations.

He was delivering the keynote address during the inaugural function of the two-day seminar on ‘Tribal Economy in India, with Special Reference to Karnataka’, organised by the Karnataka State Tribal Research Institute (KSTRI) in association with the Union Ministry for Tribal Affairs, at the Administrative Training Institute, here, on Friday.

Mentioning that the Forest Rights Act, enacted by the Centre in 2006, is yet to be implemented in Tamil Nadu as the matter is before the court, he said, “Taking the legal route via courts has become easy for vested interests to stall implementation of various laws that would benefit the communities largely.”

“Gram Sabhas are a good concept for the development and empowerment of the communities at the grassroots level. But, Gram Sabhas have power only on paper. They neither have autonomy nor financial independence. So, nothing worthwhile happens out of Gram Sabhas. Ultimately, everything depends on the MLAs, MLCs, MPs and either state or Central governments,” he added.

Tribal festival
Pointing out that basic and compulsory education is the key for the development of any community, Misra said that education helps the people to understand about their rights and thus fight for them. “The government is earmarking over Rs 1,000 crore for STs every year and sets a target for the officials for spending the funds. The concept of tribal development is not yet clear and the benefits extended by the government are imposed on the STs — whether they need them or not. So, to spend the funds as per targets, the officials organise festivals involving the people. How far these festivals help in the development of the STs is left to one’s imagination,” he said.

He said, “Local and demand-driven policies should be devised with full participation of the communities. As soon as any law is enacted for ST development, a robust information-sharing mechanism should be put in place, keeping in mind the non-availability of enough educated tribal trainers or campaigners.”

“Convergence of activities for sustainable livelihood is a viable option. Convergence of local institutions with line departments of the government, PPP schemes can be explored for fund flow in augmenting livelihood programmes,” Misra said.

Gujarat model
Explaining about the ‘Vanabandhu Kalyan Yojana’, the Gujarat model, Misra said, linking of government departments for tribal development, craft development for particularly vulnerable tribal groups (PVTGs), and tribal participation in eco-tourism projects for financial inclusion can be explored.

“Livelihood does not mean only income generation, but improvement in the quality of life. So, tribal areas need basic infrastructure, which can be planned at the panchayat-level. Although a majority of tribes are into agriculture, there are foragers, artisans, folk artistes and industrial labourers, who also need the attention of livelihood planners. There are PVTGs, nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes, denotified tribes and tea tribes, whose problems are different and need special planning,” he said.

“Any livelihood programme should be gender sensitive and should recognise the importance of women as guardians of livelihood,” he added.

Vice-Chancellor of Kuvempu University Jogan Shankar, KSTRI Director TT Basavanagouda and Research Officer S Prathibha were present.

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