The Government proposes to set up 3000 Van Dhan Kendras involving 30,000 SHGs across the country under the Van Dhan Scheme of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs. In a new game-changing initiative, the Prime Minister launched the Van Dhan Scheme of Ministry of Tribal Affairs and TRIFED on 14th April 2018 during the celebrations of Ambedkar Jayanti at Bijapur Chattisgarh. Emphasizing the important role of value addition in increasing tribal incomes, the Prime Minister stated that Van Dhan, Jandhan and Goverdhan Schemes had the potential to change the tribal-rural economic system. All these three schemes in tandem need to be promoted for this purpose by the State Governments.
Under Van Dhan Scheme, 10 Self Help Groups of 30 Tribal gatherers each have been constituted at Bijapur, Chhattisgarh. They are then trained and provided with working capital to add value to the products, which they collect from the Jungle. Working under the leadership of Collector, these groups can then market their products not only within the States but also outside the States. Training and technical support are provided by TRIFED.
Van Dhan Mission is an initiative for targeting livelihood generation for tribals by harnessing non-timber forest produces, the true wealth of forest i.e. Van Dhan with an estimated value: Rs.2 Lakh Cr. per year. It shall promote and leverage the collective strength of tribals (through SHGs) to achieve scale. It also aims to build upon the traditional knowledge & skill sets of tribals by adding technology & IT for value addition. Further, it is to set-up tribal community owned Van Dhan Vikas Kendras (the Kendra) in predominantly forested tribal districts. A Kendra shall constitute of 10 tribal SHGs, each comprising of up to 30 tribal NTFP gatherers or artisans i.e. about 300 beneficiaries per Kendra.
Value addition assumes critical importance in ensuring remunerative prices to the tribals in this approach. Three stage value addition would be the cornerstone for enhancing incomes of the tribals under the scheme. The grass root level procurement is proposed to be undertaken through SHGs associated with Implementing Agencies. Convergence and Networking with other Govt. departments/scheme shall be undertaken to utilize the services of existing SHGs like Ajeevika, etc. These SHGs shall be appropriately trained on sustainable harvesting/collection, primary processing & value addition and be formed into clusters so as to aggregate their stock in tradable quantity and linking them with the facility of primary processing in a Van Dhan Vikas Kendra.