TODAY -

Equal footing for tribal population
- The People's Chronicle Editorial :: November 17, 2021 -



PRIME Minister Narendra Modi's declaration that the birth anniversary of revered tribal icon Birsa Munda would be celebrated every year at the same scale as Gandhi jayanti, Sardar Patel Jayanti and Ambedkar jayanti not only testifies that the Union government is aware of the valiant efforts and contributions of tribal freedom fighters in the Indian freedom movement but it might help in formulating policies effective enough to ensure advancement of the tribal population as well.

It is also heartening that Prime Minister Modi laid the foundation stone of 50 Eklavya Model Schools across states and union territories during celebration of Birsa Munda's birth anniversary on Monday as the low literacy rate among the tribal population has been the primary factor for this section of the society deprived of the opportunity to taste the actual fruit of whatever development the country or state has made so far.

Special provisions like reservation of seats and relaxation in marks in admission to educational institutions, scholarships, etc, are made for educational advancement of the Scheduled Tribes.

In-spite of reservation of seat in educational institutions or for employment in almost all the government undertakings, majority of the tribal people bereft of contemporary society's basic needs underscores that tribal leaders and people's elected representatives haven't been sincere enough to address plight of the tribal commoners.

Thus, there is very reason to believe that acknowledgement of participation of the tribal communities in India's freedom movement by the present government and dedicating a special day to commemorate janjatiya Gaurav Diwas will be the game changer in bringing positive changes among the tribal people who constitute nearly 10 per cent of the country's population. As per the 2001 Census, 90 per cent of the tribal population lives in rural areas with poor social indicators. The same data stated that north-eastern states have the highest tribal population followed by Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat arid Madhya Pradesh.

Infant mortality, maternal mortality and neo-natal death figures are unacceptably high among the scheduled tribes because of lack of healthcare infrastructure, low literacy rates and sometimes traditional practices.

Based on these findings, the Union government constituted an expert committee in 2017 to review the special schemes and programmes, interventions, wherever necessary, by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, identify gaps and deficiencies in their implementation, and suggest strategic interventions for improved implementation.

The decision to set up the committee was taken in the wake of a general observation that the health indicators were generally poor in tribal areas and that there was a need to review the health programmes and approach to improve delivery and performance of health programmes in these areas.

On its part, the expert committee prepared strategic guidelines for states to draw up Programme Implementation Plans, including model District Health Action Plans for tribal health based on tribal health issues and diseases burden, and review the available health data with a view to maintaining a regular database specific to tribal health.

Therefore, with transparent and holistic approach to create an enabling environment and effective implementation of the recommended schemes or projects by the elected representatives in tandem with officials working at the ground level there is no reason why the tribal population should not progress and lag behind any other in the race for development.



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