New Delhi: In a bid to end exploitation of tribals, the government on Wednesday said it is formulating a scheme to ensure they get fair and remunerative prices for forest produce and working towards passage of a law on mines and minerals.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also said that the government is considering a "new and effective" law to put an end to the "repulsive practice" of manual scavenging and to provide opportunities to those engaged in this practice to begin their lives afresh.
Addressing the nation on the occasion of Independence Day, he said the government has paid special attention to the welfare of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, minorities, women and other weaker sections.
The special needs of tribal and backward districts were being met through programmes such as the Integrated Action Plan, Backward Regions Grant Fund and Tribal Sub Plan.
Through the Forest Rights Act, "we have given proprietary rights to lakhs belonging to Scheduled Tribes on land on which they have been living for generations," he said.
"We are formulating a scheme to ensure that people belonging to Scheduled Tribes can get fair and remunerative prices for forest produce they collect. The Government wants to speedily convert the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Bill into a legislation," he said.
Through this law we want to provide funds for benefit of our tribal brothers and sisters in mining areas, he added.
Noting that government will make the 15 points programme for minorities more effective, he said the Multi-Sectoral Development Programme being implemented in districts with large minority populations will be expanded.