Around 15% hike in Tribal Affairs Ministry budget, focus on critical infra projects

The allocation for tribal education saw a marginal increment -- from ₹1,953.03 crore in 2018-19 to ₹1,953.50 crore in 2019-20. Representative purpose only. Photo: iStock

The budgetary allocation for the Tribal Affairs Ministry for 2019-20 has been hiked by around 15 percent, with the central government focusing on critical infrastructure projects for the welfare of Scheduled Tribes.

However, the budgetary allocation for tribal education saw a marginal increment — from ₹1,953.03 crore in 2018-19 to ₹1,953.50 crore in 2019-20. The government has earmarked ₹6,814.96 crore for the ministry as compared to ₹6,000 crore in 2018-19.

Grants under proviso to Article 275 (1) of the Constitution have been increased from ₹1,820 crore to ₹2,662.55 crore — an increment of over 46 per cent. Under this provision, grants are given to 23 states having notified Scheduled Tribes (STs) and four tribal-majority states for creating critical infrastructural projects in tribal areas for raising the level of administration of scheduled areas.

Grant-in-aid for state governments has been increased from ₹4,946.74 crore to ₹5,659.24 crore. However, the provision for Union Territory governments has been reduced from ₹1.02 crore to just ₹3 lakh.

The provision for the Vanbandhu Kalyan Yojana has been hiked from ₹374.97 crore to ₹406.52 crore — an increase of 8.4 per cent. Under the scheme, grant-in-aid is given to states concerned for the development of particularly vulnerable tribal groups (PVTGs) in a comprehensive manner while retaining their culture and heritage.

Also, as a measure of social safety for minor forest produce (MFP) gatherers, who are mainly STs, fair returns are ensured for identified MFPs collected by them, along with necessary infrastructure at local level.

The allocation for scholarships to ST students for higher education and overseas studies remains unchanged at ₹102 crore.

The monetary support for tribal institutions, including the Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India Limited (TRIFED) — responsible for development and marketing of tribal products — and voluntary organisations working for Scheduled Tribes, has been increased from ₹72.5 crore to ₹83 crore.