Skip to main content

Wither Vanbandhu project? Celebrating tribal day in Gujarat would be a fraud in the name of development

By Paulomee Mistry* and Hemantkumar Shah**
On November 9, on the International Tribal Day, the Gujarat government has decided to celebrate the event by spending crores of rupees, even as about 9 lakh adivasis of Gujarat remain deprived of the government's own commitment to their socio-economic development. In fact, the state government has only pretended to have done hard work for the development of tribals over the last 18 years and has not played any significant role for their amelioration, as is clear from the following facts.
The tribal areas of Gujarat come under Schedule 5 of the Constitution of India. To review the development of these areas, an Adivasi Parishad has been formed, and its chairman is Gujarat governor. The Adivasi Parishad should meet every three months, according to the rules framed for it. But this never happens. In fact, there was just one meeting last year, and this year no meeting has been conducted. Thus, the Gujarat government has violated the Constitution.
According to the Forest Rights Act (FRA), 2006, up to 10 acres of land can be owned by the tribal farmers cultivating forest land. Accordingly, they have claimed their land on the basis of evidence and possession. But they are being allocated land for a very small portion of land against their claims, ranging from half an acre to two acres. This has happened in 99% of cases. The government this way is violating terms and conditions enacted by it.
According to section 8 (z) of the Forest Rights Recognition Rule of the Government of India, a farmer's land entitlement should be given to each forest land cultivator by the state government. Even then, what the tribals are offered is not landownership entitlement but “cultivation rights” certificate, which has no value. Such Adhikar Patras offered to them have no legal standing. This way, the adivasis are being deceived.
Narendra Modi, when he was chief minister of Gujarat, announced Vanbandhu Welfare Scheme in the Legislative Assembly on February 27, 2007. Under this, a 10-point programme announcement was made for Rs 15,000 crore, which was to be implemented in five years, 2007-2012. Yet, on July 23, 2018, the state's tribal development department once again came up with details of the scheme!
Surprisingly, the details of how much expenditure has been incurred under Vanbandhu are not given in the ‘activity profile’ published by the state government. It is impossible to find out activities and budget utilization under the scheme. This despite the fact that Vanbandhu was "revised" twice; the amount for 2007-12 was increased to Rs 17,838 crore, and for 2012-17, it wad increased Rs 40,000 crore! Yet, the state government is refusing to reveal the exact details of the actual amount spent on it.
The water of various dams built in the tribal areas is claimed to be meeting the demands of village and urban areas of Mehsana, Kutch, Ahmedabad, Vadodara and Surat districts, but in the tribal areas it is not available. It is also a fact that tribals have to struggle for demanding water in their own areas while it is sought to be distributed to other regions.
Adivasis from Dahod, Panchmahal, Chotaudepur, Aravali and Sabarkantha districts are forced to migrate for labour work, as in these areas, 100 days' employment is not provided as per the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005. Also, for whatever work they do under MGNREGA, they do not get wages on time. According to the guidelines of MGNREGA, the village panchayat has to decide on development work, but in Gujatat the state government decides on it.
About 82.9% of the children in tribal areas are suffering from malnutrition. The state government has not taken this matter seriously and has not implemented the aanganwadi scheme in its letter and spirit. There are not enough doctors and nurses in government primary health centres, community health centres and district hospitals in tribal areas, and availability of medicines is scarce.Therefore, tribals are forced to go to private doctors, who are very expensive. They often have to take huge debts.
Ashram schools in tribal areas are closing down because the state government does not give them teachers and does not provide grants. The state government also does not provide sufficient grants for their hostel, so there is no way left for tribal parents but to offer expensive education to their children. Furthermore, there are not enough teachers in elementary schools, and therefore the quality of education of children in tribal areas is worsening.
According to the National Food Security Act, 2013, Rs 3 per kg rice as well as Rs 2 per kg wheat and Re 1 per kg millet and corn should be made available through fair price shops. But this provision has not been implemented anywhere in the state, including tribal areas. Furthermore, according to this law, it is mandatory to give 5 kg of grains to each person, and 35 kg of grain to antyodaya card holders per month, which is quite irregular. Not only that, According to NFSA, 2013, a ration card should be made also in the name of a female member of family, but it has not yet being implemented.
The Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) or PESA Act was passed in 1996 for the tribal areas, and in 1998 the Gujarat Legislative Assembly revised itse Panchayat Act, 1993 to implement it. But the implementation of this law has not yet happened in respect to the village ownership of forest produce in tribal villages, the rights of gram sabhas, approval of the gram sabhas for development plans etc. It has been implemented only on paper, and the state government deceives people by giving false advertisements.
---
*Ekalaya Sangathan, **Professor of Economics, Gujarat University

Comments

Unknown said…
Amazing!!! I like this website so much it's really awesome.I have also gone through your other posts too and they are also very much appreciate able and I'm just waiting for your next update to come as I like all your posts..
eid ul adha quotes 2018
eid al adha quotes friends
eid al adha quotes for whatsapp
eid al adha quotes for girl friend
eid al adha quotes from Quran
eid al adha quotes for facebook

TRENDING

Ganga world's second most polluted river, Modi's Varanasi tops microplastics pollution

By Rajiv Shah  Will the new report by well-known elite NGO Toxics Link create a ripple in the powerful corridors of Delhi? Titled “Quantitative analysis of microplastics along River Ganga”, forwarded to Counterview, doesn’t just say that Ganga is the second most polluted river in the world, next only to Yangtze (China). It goes ahead to do a comparison of microplastics pollution in three cities shows Varanasi – the Lok Sabha constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi – is more polluted compared to Kanpur and Haridwar.

How real is Mamata challenge to Modi? Preparing for 2024 'khela hobey' moment

By Prof Ujjwal K Chowdhury*  Third time elected West Bengal Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee is on a whirlwind tour of Delhi, meeting everyone who matters within and beyond the government, the Prime Minister, the President, some Cabinet ministers, Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, several other opposition leaders, et al.

Did Modi promote Dholavira, a UNESCO site now, as Gujarat CM? Facts don't tally

By Rajiv Shah  As would generally happen, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s tweet – that not only was he “absolutely delighted” with the news of UNESCO tag to Dholavira, but he “ first visited ” the site during his “student days and was mesmerised by the place” – is being doubted by his detractors. None of the two tweets, strangely, even recalls once that it’s a Harappan site in Gujarat.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

If not Modi, then who? Why? I (an ordinary citizen) am there! Main hoon naa!

By Mansee Bal Bhargava*  The number of women ministers is doubled in early July from the first term after cabinet reshuffle by the present government led by Narendra Modi. While there were 06 women ministers in the previous term, this term there are 11. The previous two governments led by Dr Manmohan Singh had 10 women ministers in each tenure. Are these number of women ministers something to rejoice in the near 75 years of independence? Yes maybe, if we think that things are slowly improving in the patriarchal system. This change is less likely to achieve gender balance in the parliament otherwise we require more than 11 as per the 33% reservation . This change is also less likely because the men politicians’ inability to handle the country’s mess is becoming more and more evident and especially during the corona crisis. Seems, the addition of more women ministers may be a result of the recent assembly elections where women played a decisive role in the election results. For example

Giant conglomerates 'favoured': Whither tribal rights for jal-jungle-jameen?

Prafull Samantara By Mohammad Irshad Ansari*  The struggle for “Jal, Jungle and Jameen” has been a long-drawn battle for the tribal communities of India. This tussle was once again in the limelight with the proposed diamond mining in the Buxwaha forest of Chhatarpur (Madhya Pradesh). The only difference in this movement was the massive social media support it gained, which actually seems to tilt the scale for the tribal people in a long time.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

UP arrest of 'terrorists': Diverting attention from Covid goof-up, Ram temple land scam?

By Advocate Mohammad Shoaib, Sandeep Pandey* That corruption is rampant in police department is a common experience. However, there is another form of corruption which devastates lives of individuals and their families. It has now emerged as a common phenomenon that police more often than not register false cases because of which individuals have to spend number of years in jail.

Effluent discharge into deep sea? Modi told to 'reconsider' Rs 2275 crore Gujarat project

Counterview Desk  In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, well-known Gujarat-based environmentalist, Mahesh Pandya of the Paryavaran Mitra, has protested against the manner in with the Gujarat government is continuing with its deep sea effluent disposal project despite environmental concerns.

Khorigaon demolition: People being 'brutally' evicted, cops 'restricting' food, water

By Ishita Chatterjee, Neelesh Kumar, Manju Menon, Vimal Bhai* On July 23, the Faridabad Municipal Corporation told the Supreme Court that they have cleared 74 acres out of 150 acres. Despite the affidavit of the Municipal Corporation, the court, on the complaint of various litigants, that the arrangements for living, food etc. have not been made for the people.