TRIFED signs MoU with IIT-Delhi for Unnat Bharat Abhiyan

New Delhi: As one of the key organisations committed to the welfare and growth of the tribal people, TRIFED (Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India) under the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, has now entered into a partnership with IIT Delhi for the Unnat Bharat Abhiyan (UBA), a flagship national programme of the Ministry of Human Resource Development.

To cement and formalise this partnership, a tripartite MoU was signed between TRIFED, IIT Delhi (on behalf of the UBA, as the National Coordinating Institute) and Vijnana Bharati (VIBHA, a Swadeshi Science Movement) at IIT, Delhi on July 24. Tribal entrepreneurs under TRIFED’s Van Dhan programme will now be able to get access to the expertise of the entire network of 2600 + academic and research institutions under Unnat Bharat Abhiyan (UBA).

Together with IIT Delhi, the “National Coordinating Institute (NCI)” for Unnat Bharat Abhiyan (UBA),” TRIFED envisages promoting tribal livelihoods and income generation through synergistic collaboration among the concerned Ministries, District Administration, local Panchayat Raj Institutes (PRIs), voluntary organisations, other stakeholders, as well as the other participating institutions. In particular, this partnership can help promote enhancing livelihoods through the Van Dhan Vikas Kendras established under the Van Dhan Yojana.

Speaking about the significance of this agreement and the pivotal role it will play in tribal development, TRIFED's Managing Director Pravir Krishna said, “TRIFED was actively working on convergences with various ministries for "Skill development for Tribal Livelihoods". It is important to ensure "round the year income-earning opportunity" for tribals by engaging them in a variety of economic activities ranging from agriculture, horticulture, floriculture, medicinal and aromatic plants etc, going beyond minor forest produces. The synergies with institutions of national importance like IIT-Delhi will be crucial in our mission to serve the Tribal cause, as we can leverage the huge network of academic and research institutions across the country under Unnat Bharat Abhiyan, the MHRD flagship programme."

With the partnership with IIT-Delhi and TRIFED, these tribal forest dwellers engaged in the minor forest produce will get an exposure to newer processing technologies, product innovation, mentorship, transformational digital systems and handholding. The MoU opens gates for the best of brains in the country to attend to the problems of sustainable tribal livelihoods.

Also speaking on the occasion, IIT-Delhi's Director V Ramgopal Rao said: “IIT is consciously working towards connecting with the society, in multiple ways. For example, we have these immersion programmes, where we are trying to put our faculty members and students in places where there are real problems, whether it is working in hospitals, working in villages, or in industry. That is how they can identify the problems and use the resources available on campus to develop solutions.” The partnership is, therefore, an opportunity for the brilliant minds to be presented with the right set of real problems that they can help address.

The IIT-Delhi and TRIFED partnership will also benefit from the expertise and experience of Vijnana Bharati (VIBHA), a science movement with Swadeshi spirit which aims to create awareness about the significant development of science and technology in India through ages and its relevance in the present context and working towards achieving self-reliance of Bharat in all walks of life using science and technology. VIBHA will map and reach out to various stakeholders for convergence with the focus to strengthen Van Dhan Yojna (VDY), through its local chapters. VIBHA will help in gathering and passing critical information on needs and possible intervention to TRIFED, UBA and tribal communities. Tribal beneficiaries engaged in Van Dhan Yojana will also take advantage of Tech4Seva information ERP portal (CSIR-UBA-VIBHA), which is an initiative for Technology Outreach as an enabler for inclusive and sustainable developmental to mobilise the creative abilities of technology providers to develop scientific, affordable and sustainable solutions to various issues identified at the grassroots level.

Facilitation for transfer of already available technologies to Van Dhan beneficiaries, including low-cost processing technology for value-addition of MFPs like decorators, drying machines relating to the various Minor Forest Produce (MFPs) will also be part of this association.

TRIFED is implementing the Van Dhan Yojana (VDY), a programme for value addition, branding and marketing of MFPs by establishing Van Dhan Kendras of around 300 tribal members each across the country to facilitate the creation of sustainable livelihoods for the forest-based tribal gatherers. In a typical Van Dhan Kendra, the tribal beneficiaries are expected to create an enterprise, which would be involved in all related aspects from the collection of forest produce, training of tribal beneficiaries, value-addition and processing, and packaging.

The Van Dhan Vikas Kendras emerged as a source of employment generation for tribal gatherers and forest dwellers and the home-bound tribal artisans. So far, 1205 Tribal Enterprises spread across 18500 SHGs have been established to provide employment opportunities to 3.6 lakh tribal gatherers and 18000 Self-help groups in 22 States. To ensure that the momentum gained over the past few months does not fizzle out, during the current financial year, TRIFED plans to sanction more Van Dhan Kendras so as to reach 3,000 VDVKs.

The Van Dhan Yojana, along with the MSP for MFP component of the same scheme, offers a comprehensive development package for tribals promoting employment and incomes and entrepreneurship. With the successful implementation of this partnership which will benefit the tribal people and many more upcoming initiatives in the pipeline, TRIFED hopes to accelerate the complete transformation of tribal lives and livelihoods across the country by reinvigorating the flagging economic condition of the tribal population.

UBA is a flagship national programme of the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Government of India, envisioning the transformational change in rural development processes by leveraging knowledge institutions to help build the architecture of an Inclusive India. The UBA Cell at IIT, Delhi consists of an advisory committee, an executive committee and a core working group consisting of about 40 faculty members drawn from various departments and centres of the institute. The Centre for Rural Development Technology (CRDT), as well as the RuTAG group of IIT Delhi, are fully participating in the Unnat Bharat Abhiyan activities. It has also identified a few rural clusters for direct intervention and is in the process of networking with various participating institutions and voluntary organisations.

Centre for Rural Development & Technology at IIT Delhi is one of the renowned academic units established in 1979. The centre functions as an outreach centre to address challenges faced by rural communities and to improve their quality of life. The Centre is supported by over 20 eminent faculty members, 6 post-doctoral researchers and over 100 research scholars who are highly committed towards holistic rural development. Faculty members and research teams at CRDT work in various areas for improving living conditions and generating livelihood through the synergy of science and technology interventions and Traditional Knowledge. The centre has to its credit more than 300 high impact publications, reports and articles, 25 patents and two start-ups.

Under UBA, IIT Delhi has brought together a robust structural network with a large number of nodal institutions (Academic and research institutions like IITs, NITs, DST, DBT, ICAR, ICMR, MGIRI CSIR laboratories, ISRO, DRDO and defence laboratories, and BARC etc), community organisations (NGOs, PRIs & ULBs and other community-based organisations), CSR conscious corporates. Presently, the UBA network has 44 regional coordinating institutes (RCIs) which are the solution facilitators, with 13 subject expert groups (SEGs) and specific experts’ advisors and 2600+ participating institutes (PIs) to build capacities and connect to the solution seekers i.e. the tribal communities.

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