Amidst the present Covid 19 crisis, the Maharashtra Government proposes to reach out to the tribal population and provide much-needed assistance. The government plans to provide a special grant of Rs 4,000 comprising Rs 1,000 in cash to be transferred to individual bank accounts and Rs 3,000 worth in kind.
Nearly 12 lakh tribal families comprising 60 people are expected to benefit from the government decision. The state cabinet is expected to clear on Wednesday the Tribal Development Department’s proposal.
The Tribal Development Department Officer told the Free Press Journal, ‘’Since lockdown the tribal population has been facing severe hardships. They are currently jobless while their income from the agriculture-based activities have been hit hard following the coronavirus pandemic and the lockdown. Therefore, the government has proposed a special grant. They need essential commodities, clothes and other things required in their homes so it will be worth Rs 3,000 that will be given to them. The cash component is restricted at Rs 1,000.’’ He informed that the government’s outgo towards this will be Rs 500 crore.
The officer said the government hopes to complete the tender process and actual disbursement within a month.
In addition, the government proposes to provide grants to 5 lakh students learning in ashram schools across the state from the budgeted amount of Rs 480 crore. The cash component will be less while most things will be given in kind.
Further, the government will send teachers to the homes of tribal students as they don’t have internet connectivity or any access to online education. The government also proposes to extensively use All India Radio for teaching purposes in tribal areas.
In Maharashtra, nearly 85 percent of the tribal population is engaged in Agriculture. Out of this 40 percent are farmers and 45 percent are agricultural labourers. The mainstay of the tribal economy is still agriculture and allied occupations.
Although, most of the tribal families depend on Agriculture for their main source of income and occupation. Tribal agriculture is characterised by low technology and low input resources and therefore, the nature of agricultural productivity of various crops in the tribal areas is not high. Moreover, irrigation facilities in the tribal area are also extremely limited.