Jharkhand Government's Digital Atlas Initiative for 100% Electrification in Tribal Villages

The Tribal Development Digital Atlas will be prepared by the Department of Social Welfare, under which in the first phase, all the PVTG habitations will be evaluated and mapped, and a digital Geo-linked database will be prepared. Based on this, a comprehensive action plan for the implementation of major socio-economic infrastructure projects and livelihood-centric initiatives will be implemented on a mission mode.
Chief Minister Hemant Soren
Chief Minister Hemant Soren

Ranchi- Jharkhand, located in East India, is home to numerous diverse tribal communities, many of which are classified under Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs). The state government is committed to implementing various schemes to support the scheduled tribe population. A significant initiative announced by the state involves the creation of a 'Digital Atlas' specifically designed to map PVTGs. This serves as just one among several upcoming schemes intended to benefit these tribal communities.

In Jharkhand, the Scheduled Tribes population in 2011 was 8.6 million constituting 26.2 percent of the total population of the state. Numerically, Jharkhand state has the 12th largest tribal population in the country, accounting for 8.3 percent of the total Scheduled Tribes population of India.

The Mooknayak reached out to Vikas Kumar Munda, the tribal MLA of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha from Tamar constituency of Ranchi. According to him, several revenue villages of tribal population have been mapped to determine if electricity is reaching everyone or not. Based on the report, a scheme will be launched by the end of November or the beginning of December to ensure all tribal villages have power. “100% of all tribal villages will have electricity with the help of the upcoming initiative,” claimed the MLA.

Socio-Economic Mapping of PVTGs

The Jharkhand government is taking steps to create a ‘digital atlas’ that will provide a comprehensive overview of the socio-economic conditions of all tribal communities living in the state. This initiative aims to integrate the Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Communities (PVTGs) into the broader socio-economic framework of the nation.

In the initial stage of this project, a foundational survey will be carried out to gather information about all the settlements where Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Communities (PVTGs) reside. This survey will help establish a baseline of data and insights about the living conditions, social status, and economic circumstances of these communities. This information will be invaluable for planning and implementing targeted development programs and policies to improve the lives of PVTGs in Jharkhand.

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An official statement released by the Jharkhand government on 28th October said, “Under the leadership of Chief Minister Hemant Soren, sincere efforts are being made to prepare a Tribal Development Digital Atlas to map the socio-economic conditions of all tribal communities residing in the state. The Tribal Development Digital Atlas will be prepared by the Department of Welfare, under which in the first phase, all the PVTG habitations will be evaluated and mapped, and a digital Geo-linked database will be prepared. Based on this, a comprehensive action plan for the implementation of major socio-economic infrastructure projects and livelihood-centric initiatives will be implemented on a mission mode.”

The state government is committed to implementing a comprehensive action plan aimed at improving the overall well-being of tribal communities, with a particular focus on their social infrastructure, livelihood, and health. The goal is to ensure that these tribal groups have access to essential amenities and services. This includes the provision of solid housing, sanitation facilities, clean drinking water delivered through pipelines, access to electricity or solar power, financial support through pensions, Ayushman cards for healthcare, access to the Public Distribution System (PDS), and enrolment in the e-shram program. Furthermore, the plan seeks to make healthcare services, Anganwadi centers for childcare and nutrition, and educational resources more accessible to these communities. Additionally, the availability of water for irrigation and other necessary facilities will be improved.

The target of this initiative is to develop a total of 67,501 Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Community (PVTG) families, encompassing a population of 2,92,359 individuals living in 3,705 identified villages within the state. This development plan is set to be completed by August 2024, with the ultimate goal of enhancing the living conditions and socio-economic status of these marginalized tribal communities.

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'Janta Darbar' For The Implementation of Schemes

Apart from these, a program on the lines of ‘Janta Darbar’ is being conducted once a year at the grassroots level. This will aid in better implementation of the various government schemes. People will not only be made aware of existing steps but also will be able to raise concerns regarding their implementation, if any. This is supposed to be carried out by every panchayat office. Block Level Officers and Circle Officers are supposed to conduct these meetings.

Who Are the Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups?

Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups are characterized by distinct attributes, including a reliance on hunting and gathering for sustenance, the utilization of technology predating the advent of agriculture, stagnant or declining population growth, and exceptionally low levels of literacy.

Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) face heightened vulnerabilities within the tribal community. Therefore, more advanced and assertive tribal groups tend to receive a significant portion of tribal development funding, leaving the PVTGs in greater need of dedicated financial resources for their progress. Recognizing this disparity, the Government of India took the initiative in 1975 to identify and classify the most vulnerable tribal groups as a separate category known as PVTGs. Initially, 52 such groups were identified, and in 1993, an additional 23 groups were included in this category, bringing the total number of PVTGs to 75. These 75 PVTGs are part of the larger group of 705 Scheduled Tribes, distributed across 17 states and one Union Territory in the country, according to the 2011 census.

Various PVTG tribes in Jharkhand are: Asurs, Birhor, Birjia, Hill Kharia, Konvas, Mal Paharia, Parhaiyas, Sauda Paharia, and Savar.

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