The Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi launched the Van Dhan Scheme of Ministry of Tribal Affairs and TRIFED on 14th April, 2018 during the celebrations of Ambedkar Jayanti at Bijapur, Chattisgarh. Emphasizing the important role of value addition in increasing tribal incomes, he stated that Van Dhan, Jan Dhan and Gobar-Dhan Schemes had the potential to change the tribal-rural economic system. All these three schemes in tandem need to be promoted for this purpose by the State Governments.
The establishment of “Van Dhan Vikas Kendra” is for providing skill upgradation and capacity building training and setting up of primary processing and value addition facility. This first model Van DhanVikas Kendra in Bijapuris being implemented for training of 300 training beneficiaries with a total outlay of Rs.43.38 lakhs for training, providing equipments & tools for primary level processing and infrastructure & building for housing the Kendra. This Kendra to start with will have processing facility for Tamarind brick making, Mahua flower storage facility and chironjee cleaning and packaging.
Under Van Dhan, 10 Self Help Groups of 30 Tribal gatherers is constituted. They are then trained and provided with working capital to add value to the products, which they collect from the jungle. Working under the leadership of Collector these groups can then market their products not only within the States but also outside the States. Training and technical support is provided by TRIFED. It is proposed to develop 30,000 such centres in the country.
Value addition assumes critical importance in ensuring remunerative prices to the tribals in this approach. Three stage value addition would be the corner stone for enhancing incomes of the tribals under the scheme. The grass root level procurement is proposed to be undertaken through Self Help Groups associated with implementing agencies. Convergence and Networking with other Govt. departments/scheme shall be undertaken to utilise the services of existing SHGs like Ajeevika, etc. These SHGs shall be appropriately trained on sustainable harvesting/collection, primary processing & value addition and be formed into clusters so as to aggregate their stock in tradable quantity and linking them with facility of primary processing in a Van DhanVikas Kendra.
The stock after primary processing shall be supplied by these SHGs to the State Implementing Agencies or direct tie up for supply to corporate secondary processor. For creation of secondary level value addition facility at district level and tertiary level value addition facility at State level, Big Corporates shall be involved under PPP model. This PPP model will be based on utilising Private entrepreneur skills in undertaking processing as well as marketing of the produce and Central/ State Govt. support in terms of creating infrastructure and providing enabling environment for undertaking value addition of systematic scientific lines. These will be sophisticated large value addition hubs managed by Private entrepreneur.
The Van Dhan Vikas Kendras will be important milestone in economic development of tribals involved in collection of MFPs by helping them in optimum utilization of natural resources and provide sustainable MFP-based livelihood in MFP-rich districts.