- The Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment expressed disappointment that a massive budgetary allocation of ₹15,000-crore had been planned for PM-PVTG Development Mission when even the Ministry of Tribal Affairs does not have data on PVTG populations in several States and Union Territories.
- It was launched as part of the Union Budget 2023-24.
- This mission aims to provide basic necessities such as housing, water, roads, telecom, education, and health in areas inhabited by PVTGs.
- The government has allocated Rs 15,000 crore for the programme, which will be implemented over the next three years.
- The mission will be launched as part of ‘Reaching The Last Mile’, one of the seven Saptarishi priorities enlisted in the Budget.
Who are the Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups
- Particularly vulnerable tribal group (PVTG) is a sub-classification of Scheduled Tribe, who are most vulnerable in certain parameter then the other Scheduled Tribe community.
- Government of India created PVTG list with the purpose of enabling improvement in the conditions of those communities in priority basis.
- During the fourth Five Year Plan a sub-category was created within Scheduled Tribes to identify groups that considered to be at a lower level of development.
- This was created based on the Dhebar Commission report and other studies.
- This sub-category was named “Primitive tribal group”.
- The features of such a group include a pre-agricultural system of existence, that is practice of hunting and gathering, zero or negative population growth, extremely low level of literacy in comparison with other tribal groups.
- Groups that satisfied any one of the criterion were considered as PTG.
- There are total of 75 PVTGs in India.
- No new group was declared as PTG on the basis of the 2001 census.
- In 2006 the government of India renamed “Primitive tribal group” as Particularly vulnerable tribal group.
Criteria for identifiaction of PVTGs:
- Pre-agricultural level of technology
- Low level of literacy
- Economic backwardness
- A declining or stagnant population.
The government of India initiated the identification of these PVTGs in 1975, and an additional 23 groups were added to the category in 1993.
Need for identification:
- Due to their vulnerability, PVTGs require greater support and development compared to other tribal groups.
- The more developed and assertive tribal groups often receive a larger portion of tribal development funds, leaving PVTGs in need of more targeted support.
Challenges and issues of PVTGs:
- The process of identification of PVTG is different in different states.
- The list of PVTG is overlapping and repetitive.
- Base line surveys are done to precisely identify the PVTG families so that development initiatives are implemented for these communities.
- Base line surveys exist for about 40 groups, even after declaring them as PVTGs.
- Lack of baseline surveys hinder effective implementation of welfare schemes
- A PVTG receives benefits only in a few blocks in a district, while the same group is deprived in adjacent blocks.
- The tribal people, especially PVTGs, are worst affected by developmental projects like dams, industries and mines.
- PVTGs have faced alienation from their resources due to declaration of Reserved Forests and Protected Forests.
- Despite Forest Rights Act (2006), habitat rights of PVTGs are still being forfeited in many instances.
- Due to deforestation, climate change and forest conservation policies, their Non-Timber Forest Produce (NTFP) collection is affected which affect their livelihood sources.
- They lack awareness about market value of NTFP and are exploited by middle men.
- Anaemia and malaria;
- Gastro-intestinal disorders;
- Micro nutrient deficiency
- Skin diseases due ,
- Lack of safe drinking water,
- Bad sanitation,
- Lack of health services
- Literacy rate remains low at 30-40%.
- A strong foundation need to be laid down for effective implementation and sustainability of the mission by strengthening institutional capacities at various levels through research, training and implementation support by experts in the field.
- Operational mechanism for multi-sectoral collaboration including various government departments, civil societies, private and CSR organizations also need to be developed and nurtured through-out the implementation.
- Empowered participation by the beneficiary community i.e. PVTGs is essential for greater acceptance, success and sustainability of schemes going to offered by the mission.
- Health of Tribals has been lagging behind in comparison to the rural counterparts and needs special focus.
- In the backdrop of India’s commitment to achieve SDGs and “leaving no one behind”, health has potential to link all other SDG indicators and thus can take the center stage of PM-PVTG Mission.
- Health has strong connections with all other determinants like education, livelihood, nutrition, housing, water and sanitation and can pull the strings together to bridge the developmental gap.
- Spurring progress on the lagging health indicators is essential, and designing an appropriate healthcare delivery system, which is accessible, acceptable, and affordable to the Tribal population, especially for PVTGs is of utmost importance.
- Making it more imperative to have a health system that prioritizes Tribal population and PM-PVTG Mission is an opportunity not to be missed.
SOURCE: THE HINDU, THE ECONOMIC TIMES, PIB