There has been an encouraginglypositive response from the States asthe government continues its efforts to help the poor and marginalized people find their feet in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In the context of tribal people, TRIFEDunder the aegis of the Ministry of Tribal Affairshad advised the State Governments to plan the effective implementation of MSP for MFP by leveraging funds under Article 275 (I) grants to ensure both immediate income generation in the short term and sustained livelihoods by supporting VanDhanvalue addition activities.
It has been observed that this advice has been met with tremendous positive response. 17 states have initiated procurement and MFP worth approximately Rs. 50 Cr. have been procured by the states under the scheme. Moreover due to these efforts,private agencies in 7 States have procured MFP at prices above the MSP to tune of over Rs.400 Cr.
Thetimely announcement of the MSP measures and the revisions in the MSPs by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs and these concerted efforts of TRIFED have resulted in the tribals getting a higher value realization in the market, at rates which are even higher than MSP.
In addition, 6 states have transferred funds to VDVKs for the procurement of MFPs under the Scheme and a procurement of Rs. 4.03 crores has been done through this channel. 7 States have initiated the preparation of their State plans for initiatives under Article 275 (I) for Covid relief and will soon submit the plans to the Ministry for approval and sanction of grants.
Earlier, it may be noted, the Ministry of Tribal Affairs had announced certain measures to help this segment as most of the income of tribals comes from minor forest produce based activities which usually is at its peak season now, between the months of April – June. The Ministry had already approved the Guidelines for Scheme for ‘Mechanism for Marketing of Minor Forest Produce (MFP) Through Minimum Support Price (MSP) & Development of Value Chain for MFP’ for providing MSP to gatherers of forest produces and introducing value addition and marketing through tribal groups and clusters.
On May 1, 2020, the Government issued a revised price list of MSP for the 50 MFPs– and most of the MFP have been revised upwards by 30-90% so that it can benefit the tribal gatherers. In addition to this, 23 more items were included in this scheme as MFPs. This inclusion incorporated agriculture and horticulture produce from North Eastern States collected by the tribal people.
These measures, which have taken the entire count of MFPs under the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for Minor Forest Produce (MFP) Scheme to 73 counts, and is expected to provide an immediate and much needed momentum to procurement of Minor Tribal Produce across all States, and the efforts of TRIFED in generating response from the State Governments will ameliorate the situation of the distressed tribal people.