The Government of India has launched a number of schemes for the benefit and upliftment of various marginalized groups over the decades. One such scheme is the Van Dhan Yojana designed for the advancement of tribal communities in India and to invigorate the spirit of entrepreneurship. In this article, we will learn all about this scheme, its implementation and objectives and how it has fared over the years.
The Van Dhan Yojana is a scheme inaugurated by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs and the Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India or TRIFED on April 14, 2018. It is also known as Van Dhan Vikas Yojana (VDVY). The scheme was launched with the aim of establishing 50,000 Van Dhan Vikas Kendras (VDVKs) all over the country.
Government schemes are an important topic as part of the General Awareness syllabus for several exams like FCI AGM, SBI PO, IBPS PO, DSSSB TGT, EMRS Teaching Staff and SSC CGL.
If you are preparing for NABARD Grade A/B, this topic will be particularly useful to you since issues related to Agriculture and Rural Development (ARD) and Economic and Social Issues (ESI) are the focus of the NABARD examinations.
Van Dhan Yojana Organization
The organization of the scheme has been done along the following lines:
- 20 members or so involved in tribal occupations or gatherings of Minor Food Produce will form one Self Help Group (SHG) or Swayam Sahayata Samuh.
- The head of the SHG must mandatorily be a member of the tribal community.
- 15 such SHGs will come together to form 1 VDVK.
- 15 such VDVKs make 1 VDVK Cluster (VDVKC).
Van Dhan Yojana Objectives
The central aim of this scheme is to enhance the incomes of tribal families and tribal communities at large by means of the value addition of tribal goods. In other words, the scheme aims to create and strengthen methods of sustainable livelihoods for forest-based tribal communities. TRIFED, which works toward the upliftment of tribal groups, has coined the motto:
“Go Vocal for Local Go Tribal – Mera Van Mera Dhan Mera Udyam”
Rather than providing direct or indirect monetary help/subsidies, the government has instead provided tribal communities with the necessary means to develop their products. In this way, the onus is on tribal groups to ensure that they make the best use of this scheme and maximize their profits. The VDVY will not only give a thrust to Minor Food Produces but also inculcate a spirit of entrepreneurship among tribal people.
Implementation of the Van Dhan Yojana
The Van Dhan Scheme is being implemented at several levels of governance to ensure that the aims and objectives of the scheme are properly and timely realized.
|Level of Governance||Regulating Body|
|National||Ministry of Tribal Affairs in association with TRIFED|
|State||Minor Forest Produce Schemes (MFPS) and District Collectors|
|Unit (SHGs)||An SHGs and VDVKs|
Van Dhan Yojana Highlights
In general, any prototypical Van Dhan Vikas Samuh would have the following facilities:
- The means to build infrastructural facilities in the gram panchayat office/building or government building.
- Tool kits that contain all the equipment necessary to efficiently carry out all processes right from collecting produce to final packing and selling them such as sieving tools, packaging tools and such.
- Training centers with adequate training facilities so 1 batch of SHG members may be trained.
- Trainee kits for members in the aforementioned training centers.
- Acquiring working capital for the SHG through banks, cooperative societies and other financial institutions.
- If VDVKs perform successfully, they may be provided more facilities like warehouses, office buildings and such in the next phase of the yojana.
TRIFED and Van Dhan Yojana
TRIFED will aid the SHG by securing a grant of ₹1 lakh from the Central Government and the Ministry of Tribal Affairs for each of these SHGs. In this way, each VDVK will receive ₹15 lakh each. This grant is to be used for vocational training, securing raw materials, product improvement and such. TRIFED has launched several programs and initiatives within the VDVY.
One particularly successful initiative was the launching of the Van Dhan tribal start-ups as part of the ‘Mechanism for Marketing of Minor Forest Produce (MFP) through Minimum Support Price (MSP) & Development of Value Chain for MFP’ program.
MSP for MFP
The VDVY provides an active impetus to the Minimum Support Price for Minor Food Products program of the government. The MSP for MFP is another scheme launched by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs to provide stable employment and income to tribal communities. This initiative was launched in the Union Budget of 2013-2014.
The MSP covers crops like:
- Cereals- paddy, barley, wheat, jowar, maize bajra, and ragi
- Pulses- gram, arhar/tur, urad, moong and lentil
- Oilseeds- groundnut, rapeseed/mustard, toria, soya bean, sunflower seed, sesame, safflower seed and Niger seed
- Spices- cardamom, black pepper, turmeric, dry ginger, cinnamon
- Copra or dried coconut kernels
- Raw cotton
- Virginia flu cured (VFC) tobacco.
- Raw jute
There are several other MFPs that are covered under this scheme as well like tamarind, honey, sal seed, sal leaves, bamboo split, myrobalan, mango (amchur), coffee, and tea among others.
Van Dhan Yojana 2021: Achievements So Far
According to a report published by the Press Information Bureau in April 2021, several milestones have been reached. For example, within 18 months of its inception, 33,360 Van Dhan Vikas Kendras were absorbed into 2224 VDVK Clusters of 300 forest-dwellers in each, sanctioned by TRIFED as of March 31, 2021.
In May 2021, it was announced that TRIFED would partner with Niti Aayog to implement the newer plans for the development of 39 Tribal Aspirational Districts as part of the larger Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan. The special focus of these districts lies in areas where tribal groups constitute 50% of the population. This will give impetus to employment generation to approximately 2 lakh families.
Van Dhan Yojana in Manipur
In another PIB release, Manipur was crowned the model state for the Van Dhan Scheme. Here,
- 100 VDVKs have been set up that include 1500 SHGs.
- These are providing income and sustenance to 30,000 tribal entrepreneurs who are working with Minor Forest Produce in one way or another.
- Distribution of tool-kits to VDVK members
- The scheme has received immense support from state and local governments at every step.
Van Dhan Yojana Trivia
- The Van Dhan scheme is being implemented in 27 states.
- According to TRIFED, almost 100 million forest-dwellers are directly or indirectly dependent on MFPs for food and livelihood.
- Madhya Pradesh has the highest number of Scheduled Tribes in India.
- The Ministry of Tribal Affairs which was set up in 1999 is responsible for the holistic upliftment of scheduled tribes in India.
- The TRIFED is a statutory body established in 1987 that works under the Ministry of Tribal Affairs for the exhaustive socio-economic development of tribal communities in India.
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