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Odisha Minister Calls for Empowerment and Development Initiatives for Tribals

Bhubaneswar: Nityananda Gond, Minister of School and Mass Education, ST & SC Development, Minorities & Backward Classes Welfare Department, and Social Security & Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, emphasized the need for extensive awareness programs to empower youth and elevate livelihood opportunities at the grassroots level.

In a comprehensive review of the STSC Development M&BCW Department’s initiatives today at the SCSTRTI Conference Hall, the Minister proposed new schemes including Multi-purpose Community Centers for tribal communities statewide and Urban Residential Programs near the State Capital to provide housing and sustenance for tribal families and students.

Underlining the importance of quality education, he advocated for the inclusion of Class XI and XII students in the ANWESHA Scheme, aimed at providing English medium education to bright tribal students in urban areas. Stressing the need for enhanced hostel facilities for SC and OBC students pursuing higher education across Odisha, he highlighted the integration of Aadhar for Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs), acknowledging Odisha’s diverse tribal landscape.

To bolster the economic prospects of tribal communities, the Minister directed officials to facilitate Minor Forest Produce (MFP) procurement at the gram panchayat level, transforming these units into procurement centers. He urged the department to collaborate on a 100-Day Action Plan and Vision Document to amplify outreach and effectiveness.

During the session, the Minister recommended enhancing the Pradhan Mantri Anusuchit Jati Abhyuday Yojna (PM-AJAY) with district-level awareness campaigns, ensuring timely disbursal of agricultural inputs for schemes like Mukhya Mantri Janajati Jeevika Mission. He emphasized the utilization of unused government buildings across Odisha for hosting facilities benefiting SC, ST, OBC, and minority communities.

Commending Koraput Coffee as a distinctive tribal product gaining global acclaim, the Minister encouraged scaling up production to benefit tribal groups involved in its cultivation and processing.

The Minister was briefed on various ongoing schemes, initiatives, and activities by Commissioner-cum-Secretary Roopa Roshan Sahoo and other senior officials, reaffirming the department’s commitment to tribal welfare and sustainable development in Odisha.

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