BJP committed to tribal development, Congress neglected community: Amit Shah

NEW DELHI: Home minister Amit Shah on Saturday launched a scathing attack on the Congress alleging that the latter did nothing to secure the development of tribals since Independence and reminded how it was the BJP government led by former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee that set up a separate ministry for tribals in 1999. He cited the PM Narendra Modi government's flagship Van Dhan Yojana as a big ticket grassroots project to bolster the livelihoods of lakhs of tribal families through value addition to forest produce.
Shahs attack on Congress comes at a time when the crucial Jharkhand elections are round the corner with first phase of polling scheduled for end of this month. The Home minister was speaking at the launch of the national tribal festival – Aadi Mahotsav at Dilli Haat where artisans and craftsmen from 27 states will be showcasing tribal culture and food over a fortnight.
“It has been 70 years since Independence and I must say that the Congress party only used tribals and backward sections as votebank. They have only ignored the aspirations of the tribals. The Congress came to power so many times but the ministry of tribal affairs as a separate ministry was required from the time of independence. It was set-up only when the BJP came to power,” Shah asserted.
Shah alleged that the Congress brought “andhera aur ashiksha” (darkness and illiteracy) and cut forests depriving the poor tribal of their place of stay. On the other hand, Shah claimed that the when BJP came to power it brought “ujala, skhiksha aur ghar” (light, education and housing).
Shah then went on to point that the schemes like Ujjwala yojana brought a gas connection to poor households and highlighted the schemes related to electricity, toilets and housing. “These schemes and programmes have benefited the tribal and backward communities the most among the poor,” Shah added.
Shah pointed that tribals are cited to account for about 8% of the population and 40% of geographical region but they contribute in many ways to the nations development with the forest they inhabit and protect being the lungs of the country.
“Let me assure you, tribal development and welfare is a very big priority of the government. The integrated development of the tribal person, tribal village and tribal region as a whole is our focus,” he added. He said to implement all these programmes is the focus and for that the budget has been consistently increasing. It was Rs 3800 crores in 2012-13 and now it is over Rs 6800 crores, he shared.
Among a list of programmes under implementation Shah shared that so far 650 Van Dhan kendras have been set-up so far to reach lakhs of tribals. He also sRead More – Source