Government to relaunch scheme for tribals

The scheme involves fixing MSP for identified minor forest produce which are collected by tribals and sold in village ‘haats’.

BCCL
The scheme was conceived in a way that the state government agencies would move in to procure the MFP if the price fell below the MSP.
NEW DELHI: The Centre is set to relaunch its five-year-old minimum support price (MSP) scheme for minor forest produce (MFP) on Thursday with the promise of setting up value addition centres to boost the incomes of the poorest of the poor.

An official told ET that a beginning will be made from 39 aspirational districts. These are in the BJPruled states and seen as crucial in the run-up to parliamentary elections. The scheme involves fixing MSP for identified minor forest produce which are collected by tribals and sold in village ‘haats’, the official said.

The scheme was conceived in a way that the state government agencies would move in to procure the MFP if the price fell below the MSP. However, on the ground the scheme has remained a non-starter, with 90% of the ear-marked funds remaining unutilised.


The government now wants to use the unutilised money by linking it to value addition and marketing. According to the official, the government will set up value-addition centres in 39 tribal-dominated aspirational districts. These will include nine districts in Chhattisgarh, five in Jharkhand, one in Madhya Pradesh and five in Odisha. Most of the districts being targeted in the first phase are also Naxal-affected.

The Centre will hold consultations with 27 states on Thursday at a national conference, the official said, adding that the states will be asked to set up proper marketing mechanisms so that the produce collected by the tribals fetch better prices for them. The system will be decentralised with collectors made responsible for the scheme implementation.

Self-help groups will be formed, which will sell the MFPs at village haats.
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