Only 8 states use the Institutional Support for Tribal Produce scheme

In what appears to be a double body blow to rights of indigenous people and forest dwelling communities, it appears that not only has the government failed to implement the Forest Rights Act, it has also been unsuccessful when it comes to implementing provisions of the Institutional Support for Tribal Produce scheme.


Data suggests that states have not taken the scheme seriously thus leaving the policy looking good only on paper and this gap in policy and implementation has once again left the beneficiaries without benefits.

The second week of the winter session of Parliament saw a question being asked by Anumula Revanth Reddy, of the Congress Party, on a very niche scheme, the Institutional Support for Development and Marketing of Tribal Produce Scheme. The question sought information on amount of funds allocated and funds utilized under the scheme in the last 5 years. The member also sought information on State-wise market size of the tribal produce and whether the same had increased or decreased in the last five years.

About the scheme

Under the scheme, the Central government provides grants-in-aid to Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India Limited (TRIFED) and the State Tribal Development Co-operative Corporations/ Federations. The scheme covers the all the states with ST population and grant are provided for the following activities:-

(i)  Retail Marketing Development Activity
(ii) Minor Forest Produce (MFP) Marketing Development Activity
(iii) Vocational Training, Skill Up-gradation and Capacity Building of ST Artisans and MFP Gatherers.
(iv) Research & Development /IPR Activity.

This scheme was formulated in 2014 by revising and merging two separate schemes, namely, “market Development of Tribal Products/produce” and “Grant-in-Aid to State Tribal Development Cooperative Corporation for Minor Forest Produce Operation”.

The main objectives of the scheme are fixation of equitable prices, procurement by State agencies as a safety net, grading of products, training and skill upgradation for improved production and higher grade products, Research and Development for cost effective processes for product development, supply chain infrastructure development, establishment of Trade information system via online portal, capacity building, among other things.

Information from the Ministry

The Ministry of Tribal Affairs mentioned that the funds for the scheme are released on demand and hence there is no complete state wise allocation. However, they did provide data on funds that were in fact released to a few sates since 2014. Eight states have been granted aid under the scheme, namely, Chhattisgarh, Kerala, Orissa, Rajasthan, Tripura, West Bengal, Mizoram and Sikkim.

What is interesting to note is that Chhattisgarh was granted funds (Rs. 2.32 crores) only once in 2014 but the State did not utilize them. Tripura is the only State to have been granted funds each year since 2014 until 2018 and it has utilized all the funds allocated to it (approx. total Rs. 9.8 billion).

The Ministry further mentioned that the Ministry does not conduct a survey on the market size of Tribal Produce, thus making the monitoring of the scheme difficult. One cannot ascertain the effectiveness of the scheme unless some tangible data is examined to check the implementation. Although the data suggests that 8 states have been granted funds under the scheme and some states have fully utilised the funds, how the funds have been put to use and what has been the outcome of the same, are some questions that can be answered only on the basis of monitoring and collection of data.

Tribal population

As per Census data of 2011, Madhya Pradesh has 14.7% of the entire tribal population in the country and yet the State has not sought any grants from the Centre under this scheme which can prove to be beneficial for forest produce for tribals. Maharashtra, the state with second highest number of tribals, 10.1% of total tribal population also does not take any benefits from this scheme. This indicates that despite of the Centre providing for a good scheme for tribals, it has only remained so on paper and states have failed to implement the same, thus rendering another worthy scheme to be worthless.

Empowerment of the Tribals or Adivasis is a true mark of inclusion by a state and India has a long way to go on that path. Without strict monitoring and measuring of outcomes, such schemes will only become a means of extracting funds from the government without having to be accountable for the same, leaving the beneficiaries of the scheme with no benefits at all.


Frequently Asked Questions on the Forest Rights Act, 2006
Stop forced eviction of Adivasis & Forest dwellers: UN to India
Jal, Jungle, Zamin: Glimpses into the March for Forest Rights
Compilation of Forest Rights Act, Rules, and Guidelines
Statistical Profile of Scheduled Tribes in India, 2013



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