Van Dhan Vikas Yojana – Promoting and backing tribal entrepreneurship

A vast network of Van Dhan Kendras established across the country

“We will establish 50,000 ‘Van Dhan Vikas Kendras’ in the tribal areas of the country to ensure the availability of primary processing and value addition for forest produce and to provide employment for tribals and increase tribal income,” Prime Minister , Shri Narendra Modi.

This had been the Prime Minister’s Sankalp as a part of his vision for overall development of the country and to make each section of society self-reliant and empowered.

As per TRIFED, in less than 18 months, 33,360 Van DhanVikas Kendras, subsumed into 2224 VDVKCs of 300 forest dwellers each, have been sanctioned by TRIFED as of March 31, 2021. TRIFED states that a typical Van Dhan Vikas Kendra includes 20 tribal members. 15 such Van Dhan Vikas Kendras form 1 Van Dhan Vikas Kendra cluster. The Van Dhan Vikas Kendra Clusters will provide the Van Dhan Vikas Kendras economies of scale, livelihood and market-linkages, as well as entrepreneurship opportunities to Tribal forest gatherers in 23 states and 2 UTs.

The remaining16,640 Van Dhan Kendras (on boarding of 3.3 Lakh Tribal households), against the target of 50000 VDVKs, subsumed in approximately 600 VDVKCs is now being expedited with respective State Nodal Departments and State Implementation Agencies under TRIFED’s Sankalp Se Siddhi initiative. These are expected to be sanctioned within the next three months.

Among the many initiatives, TRIFED is implementing to generate employment and income generation among the tribal population is the Van Dhan tribal start-ups programme, a component of the The ‘Mechanism for Marketing of Minor Forest Produce (MFP) through Minimum Support Price (MSP) & Development of Value Chain for MFP’ Scheme.

The Van Dhan tribal start-ups, also a component of the same scheme, is a programme for value addition, branding & marketing of Minor Forest Produces by establishing Van Dhan Kendras to facilitate creation of sustainable livelihoods for the forest-based tribes.

Over the past 18 months, the Van Dhan Vikas Yojana has gained tremendous ground with its quick adoption and robust implementation aided by the state nodal and implementation agencies across India.  Many success stories from different parts of the country have come to the fore.

Among the states, Manipur, in particular, which has emerged as the Champion state where the Van Dhan programme has emerged as a major source of employment for the local tribals. TRIFED has stated that since the time that the programme was launched in the State in October 2019, 100 Van Dhan Vikas clusters have been established, out of which 77 are operational. These constitute 1500 Van Dhan Vikas Kendra Clusters, which are benefitting 30,000 tribal entrepreneurs, who are involved in collection, processing, packaging and marketing of value-added products from Minor Forest produce.A plus point is the scalability and replicability of the implementation model of the scheme, which has aided in its expansion across India.

The North-East is leading the way with 80% of the established VDVKs. Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh are other states where the scheme has been adopted with overwhelming results.

Moreover the  speciality of the whole exercise is that it has managed to create market linkages. Many of these tribal enterprises are connected to markets. A wide array of products ranging from fruit candy (amla, pineapple, wild apple, ginger, fig, tamarind), jam (pineapple, amla, plum), juice & squash (pineapple, amla, wild apple, plum, Burmese grapes), spices (dalchini, turmeric, ginger),  pickles (bamboo shoot, king chilly), processed giloy, all of which have been processed and packaged in Van Dhan Vikas Kendras have reached the market and are even being marketed on and through the Tribes India outlets.

State governments have also been spurred, due to the success of the Van Dhan programme, to activate the MSP For MFP scheme where over the course of the pandemic, there has been a record procurement of varieties of MFPs  providing tribal gatherers a direct benefit transfer in just 10 months!

TRIFED has now launched “Sankalp se Siddhi” – Village & Digital Connect Drive. Starting from April 1, 2021, this 100 day drive will entail 150 teams (10 in each region from TRIFED and State Implementation Agencies/Mentoring Agencies/Partners) visiting ten villages each. 100 villages in each region and 1500 villages in the country will be covered in the next 100 days. The main aim of this drive is to activate the Van Dhan Vikas Kendras in these villages. Aim is to achieve Rs 200 crore Sales during the next 12 months from VanDhan units. The visiting teams will also identify locations and shortlist potential VDVKs for clustering as TRIFOOD, SFURTI units as larger enterprises.

To further the “Be Vocal for Local Buy Tribal” to create an “Atmanirbhar Bharat” call, TRIFED is working on the transformation from the Van Dhan mode to
Tribal enterprise mode. By clustering these Van Dhan Vikas Kendras into Van Dhan clusters and enterprises, the aim is to achieve economies of scale and promote high value addition produce.

To further institonalise the Van Dhan Vikas Kendra Clusters, TRIFED, under the aegis of Ministry of Tribal Affairs is driving convergences with different ministries and organisations. It has MoUs in place with different ministries such as MSME, MoFPI and Ministry of Rural Development to align the scheme with similar programmes of these Ministries, resulting in the convergence of Van Dhan Vikas Kendras and its clusters with SFURTI, ESDP from MSME, Food Parks Scheme of MoFPI and NRLM, within M/oRural Development.

These initiatives will be centred around the constitutional obligations under the Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 (PESA) and the Forest Rights Act, 2006 (FRA) to empower tribals living in the forest areas.

TRIFED, in association with Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI) is also implementing two “TRIFOOD” projects at Jagdalpur in Chhattisgarh and Raigad in Maharashtra under Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana. These two MFP processing units will operate in a hub and spoke model with the Van Dhan units which will be the feeder units. This willbenefit the associated Tribal households. TRIFED is exploring the setting up of similar MFP based Industrial parks in partnership with State Governments of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and other states.

The Enterprise approach will provide economies of scale and help in fostering Tribal entrepreneurship in large scale with participation of NGOs, creating tribal owned , tribal managed  production units while leveraging all existing funds and resource pools.

The Mission envisages setting up of 200 VanDhan Producer Companies under a Special Purpose Vehicle with a network of 3000 MFP Collection centers in Haat Bazaars,  600 Godowns under MSP for MFP scheme, Setting up of 200 Mini TRIFOOD Units and 100 Common Facility Centers, Setting up of 100 TRIFOOD parks within 275 (1) districts and DMF,  Development of 100 embellishment (SFURTI) clusters under MSME,  Setting up of 200 Tribes India retail stores and building ecommerce platforms for TRIFOOD and Tribes India brands.

Through the successful implementation of these planned initiatives in the next year, TRIFED is working towards a complete transformation of the tribal ecosystem across the country!

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