Tribal Affairs Minister Arjun Munda (File photo)
Tribal Affairs Minister Arjun Munda (File photo)

Union Tribal Minister Arjun Munda asks CMs to protect livelihood of tribals amid COVID-19 lockdown

ANI | Updated: Apr 07, 2020 23:13 IST

By Pragya Kaushika
New Delhi [India], April 7 (ANI): Union Minister for Tribal Affairs Arjun Munda has written to a number of Chief Ministers to initiate the process of undertaking procurement of minor forest produce at the Minimum Support Price (MSP). The communication aims to mitigate the effect of lockdown due to COVID-19 on the livelihoods of tribals.
This would ensure the protection of the livelihoods of vulnerable tribal communities of the respective states, stated a source.
The ministry is also contemplating undertaking awareness programme on social distancing among tribal communities through Van Dhan Self Help Groups.
"You are requested to advise state nodal agencies to for undertaking of procurement of minor forest produce at Minimum Support Price," reads the letter written to the Chief Ministers by Arjun Munda.

The letter further states that procurement by the states will contain the movement of middlemen from cities to the tribal areas.
"This is to obviate the movement of middlemen in urban areas to tribal habitations and thus check the spread of COVID-19 among tribal communities. Funds are available with the states and if any need arises, the Ministry will made them available," reads the letter.
Sources in the ministry informed ANI that this is the peak season for collection and harvest of Minor Forest Produce/non-timber forest and it is imperative to initiate certain proactive measures to ensure the well-being of tribal communities and their economy by providing them safety and ensuring their livelihood.
This has come at the time when GoM had discussed whether lockdown needs to be extended beyond April 14 as requested by certain states.
The Chief Ministers to whom Munda wrote the letter include Hemant Soren (Jharkhand), Naveen Patnaik (Odisha), Bhupesh Bhagel (Chhattisgarh), Shivraj Singh Chouhan (Madhya Pradesh), Mamata Banerjee (West Bengal), Pinarayi Vijayan (Kerala), BS Yediyurappa (Karnataka), YS Jaganmohan Reddy (Andhra Pradesh), Vijay Rupani (Gujarat), Uddhav Thackeray (Maharashtra), Ashok Gehlot (Rajasthan), Sarbanand Sonowal (Assam), Neiphiu Rio (Nagaland) and N Biren Singh (Manipur).
The letters addressed to the chief ministers state that COVID-19 has posed unprecedented challenge across the country and poor and marginalized including the tribals are most vulnerable and their livelihood should be protected. (ANI)