At the “Tribal Rights & Empowerment Programme” organized at Jhalod in Dahod district on 30th December, Shri Narendra Modi highlighted the significant initiatives taken towards tribal development in Gujarat. The event, jointly organized by the Tribal Development Department and Forest and Environment Department of Gujarat, was to felicitate the beneficiaries of North and Central Gujarat.
From approving the applications of more than 1 lakh Adivasis to allotting acres of land, and even providing financial assistance to over 4 lakh Adivasis for building homes in the recent past, Shri Modi emphasized on some of the most noteworthy efforts directed towards tribal empowerment. “Our focus has been the development of Adivasis, and this includes providing employment to the tribal youth and ensuring that the women of this segment are financially independent,” said Shri Modi. He underscored the development of this segment by citing the example of how the tribals who earlier worked in constructing roads had now become road contractors, while going on to add that this path of true progress was being experienced all across Gujarat.
“Be it Chhattisgarh, MP, Rajasthan or Gujarat, where there are significant tribal communities, BJP has got the opportunity to serve them,” said Shri Modi, while emphasizing on some other key initiatives for the tribal population, including the Vanbandhu Kalyan Yojana – the budget of which was raised from Rs 15000 crores to Rs 40000 crores –the setting up of ITIs in the Umargam to Ambaji tribal stretch, science stream schools, engineering colleges, nursing colleges and agro polytechnic colleges. “We gave importance to education. This is because we care for the tribal communities, their youth and their future. Schools, ITIs have come in tribal areas, and this is to give opportunity to our youth: Our Adivasi children have gone overseas to study, while some of them are pilots too,” said Shri Modi.
The State’s government’s spending of more than Rs. 4000 crores to ensure water supply to the farmers in the Umargam-Ambaji stretch, providing electricity to 92000 wells in the past decade and the Rs. 3000 crores spent in ensuring road connectivity on this stretch, were some of the other outstanding measures initiated for tribal welfare, said Shri Modi.
Discussing the significant contribution of the tribal segment in the Nation’s independence struggle, Shri Modi stressed upon Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s initiative at setting up a separate ministry for tribals and appointing minister for tribal development. He also spoke about the immense potential for eco-tourism offered by the tribal stretch, the scope for promoting the organic farming offered by the tribal farmers, and the promising revenues these efforts would lead to.
Underscoring Gujarat’s inclusive mantra of ‘Sauno Saath, Sauno Vikas’, Shri Modi spoke about how efforts were initiated at making sure that the tribal segment with ownership of land also stands eligible to benefit from the related schemes.
“There was a time when one stretch from Vapi to Mumbai determined Gujarat's progress. Mark my words, the stretch from Umargam to Ambaji will scale new heights of development and will be the strength of Gujarat's development,” said Shri Modi. He also urged the farmers to move towards modern agriculture and encouraged them to scale new heights in the path of progress.
Concluding his speech, Shri Modi spoke about Gujarat’s radical initiative of saluting Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel by constructing the world’s tallest statue – Statue of Unity – and urged the tribal farmers to contribute enthusiastically by giving iron and soil for the same.
The event, which witnessed the presence of Ministers of State Shri Ganpatbhai Vasava, Shri Bhupendrasinh Chudasama and Shri Jaswantsinh Bhabhor, also had beneficiaries from the tribal segment taking home benefits in the form of land ownership and financial assistance.