The Ministry of Tribal Affairs has taken up the following proactive measures to lessen the adverse effects on tribal community during the Covid-19 pandemic-
On request of this Ministry of Tribal Affairs, the Ministry of Home Affairs vide Order No. 40-3/2020-DM-I(A) dated 16/04/20 issued guidelines aiming to relax the provisions of lockdown for Collection, harvesting and processing of Minor Forest Produce (MFP)/ Non Timber Forest Produce (NTFP) by STs and other forest dwellers in forest areas across the country.
The Union Minister of Tribal Affairs wrote letters to Chief Ministers of 15 States to sensitize respective State Nodal Agencies for undertaking procurement of Minor Forest Produce (MFP) at Minimum Support Price (MSP) in right earnest. These States include Uttar Pradesh; Gujarat; Madhya Pradesh; Karnataka; Maharashtra; Assam; Andhra Pradesh; Kerala; Manipur; Nagaland; West Bengal; Rajasthan; Odisha; Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand.
Amid COVID-19 situation, MoTA revised the minimum support price (MSP) for minor forest produce and also added 37 new items under the MFP list taking the total number of MFPs under the scheme to 87 while providing a fillip to the Income generating activities of tribals through MFP Procurement. During 2020-21, the State Government procured MFPs worth Rs. 157.51 crores to provide immediate livelihood support to tribal MFP gatherers. State-wise details of MFP procurement is given below:
The Ministry disbursed an amount of Rs. 1986.31 crores to 35.2 lakh tribal students under Pre and Post-matric scholarship scheme through DBT during 2020-21 amid the pandemic situation to provide essential support for continuation of education. The State-wise funds released and number of beneficiaries is given below:
The fund disbursement and beneficiary data under scholarship schemes of MoTA for 2020-21
Fund Released (Rs. In lakhs)*
Beneficaries (Estimated As per Proposal by States/UTs)
Fund Released (Rs. In lakhs)*
Beneficiaries (Estimated As per Proposal by States/UTs)
The Ministry also disbursed an amount of Rs. 1539.93 crores to States under major schemes viz Special Central Assistance to Tribal Sub-Scheme (SCA to TSS), Development of Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs), Minimum Support Price to Minor Forest Produce (MSP to MFP) and Grants under Article 275(1) of the Constitution for various activities related to welfare and development of Scheduled Tribes including livelihood support as detailed is given below:
Release of funds to States during 2020-21 under major schemesof MoTA / Grant as on 28.02.2021
(Rs. in lakh)
Article 275 (1) Grants
SCA to TSS
MSP to MFP
TRIFED was asked to coordinate with States to ascertain the problems being faced by tribals in disposal of MFPs, quantum of MFPs available with States, strategy for procurement along with plan for storage, value addition and sale of MFP and TRIFED also organised a Webinar in association with UNICEF wherein members of Van Dhan Vikas Kendras were made aware about COVID-19 and related health issues.
State Governments took various steps to shut down ‘haat bazars’, where traders from urban areas visit during weekly markets and also ASHA workers are on the job to create awareness on sanitation and hygiene, social distancing practice among the PVTGs and other tribal areas.
The State/UT Governments were requested by the Ministry for conducting awareness in tribal areas through grassroots level service providers (i.e. ASHA, AWW, ANM) on social distancing, wearing of masks and hand wash etc.
Ministry vide letter No. 08/02/2020-Livelihood dated 22.12.2020 to Tribal Welfare Department of all States/UTs requested the support of state officials for vaccine administration including generating awareness on Covid-19 vaccination among the tribal communities and their mobilization.
This information was given by Minister of State for Tribal Affairs Smt. Renuka Singh Saruta in a written reply in Lok Sabha today.