New Delhi: Minister of Tribal Affairs Arjun Munda on Thursday launched the nationwide campaign “COVID Teeka Sang Surakshit Van, Dhan aur Uddyam,” virtually to accelerate the pace of COVID vaccination among tribals in India. The campaign is being launched in partnership with UNICEF and WHO. This campaign aims to connect over 50 lakh tribals, while emphasising that COVID-19 vaccination is free, available in the nearby centres and it not only protects people from hospitalisation and death but also helps to continue with livelihood activities. The campaign will leverage the 45,000 Van Dhan Vikas Kendras (VDVKs) of the Tribal Co-operative Marketing Development Federation of India (TRIFED).
Minister of State for Steel Faggan Singh Kulaste, Ministers of State for Tribal Affairs Bishweswar Tudu and Renuka Singh, TRIFED's Managing Director (MD) Pravir Krishna, WHO Representative Dr Roderico Ofrin, UNICEF (India) Representative Dr Yasmin Ali Haque and senior officers of TRIFED as well as partners of Tribal Affairs Ministry and TRIFED in states were also present on the occasion.
The campaign has been launched through video conferencing link-up with field camps in Mandla in Madhya Pradesh and Bastar in Chhattisgarh. During this, Bastar Collector Rajat Bansal and Mandla District Collector Harshika Singh gave details about the preparations for vaccination being run in their respective districts.
According to Tribal Ministry, this campaign will leverage the strength and network of self-help groups and other common touchpoints – Common Service Centres, Fertilizers Outlet Centres, Haats and Bazaars, VDVKs and milk collection points, and will use wall paintings with tribal motifs to promote vaccine uptake and COVID appropriate behaviour.
Further, the campaign will use non-traditional partnerships and community outreach for mobilisation and collective action, such as involvement of traditional leaders like Tadvis/Patels, faith-based healers and incentivise the adoption of vaccines through local health structures and COVID warriors.
Launching the campaign, Munda said, “We have been able to overcome two challenging waves, gained experience and are determined to stop the third wave. We have a role to play in rebuilding a new society, free of COVID infection. The campaign hopes to make our Van Dhan Vikas Kendras and villages to be the first in respective states to be declared COVID free and free of all restrictions.” The campaign will be implemented with the help of traditional village headsmen, SHGs, and ground-level workers in villages and the Van Dhan Kendras will become the focal points, the minister explained.
Tribal communities should not only remain safe and healthy during the pandemic but should also be able to continue their livelihood activities, this is the objective of the campaign, the minister added.
On the occasion, Munda also launched the newly prepared Digital Directory under TRIFED’s Digital Connect Programme. TRIFED started a Digital Connect programme under which a two-way communication process is proposed to be established with all tribal beneficiaries associated with Van Dhan Vikas Yojana and the retail operations of TRIFED. Besides these, a number of other stakeholders interested in TRIFED activities are also being included to expand awareness about the schemes and activities of TRIFED and motivate them to be a part of these livelihood generating initiatives for tribals. The directory with all this information is now ready and was launched by the minister, thus signalling the commencement of the Digital Connect Programme of TRIFED.
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