New Delhi: For the first time ever, a
delegation of tribals met Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee
and demanded allocation for the tribal populace in the Union
budget to be presented next month.
"We met the Finance Minister yesterday and demanded that
funds should be allocated for tribals in all ministries under
the tribal sub-plan," CPI(M) Politburo member and part of the
`Adivasi Adhikar Rashtriya Manch` Brinda Karat told reporters
She said that Mukherjee who had more than half-an-hour
long discussion with the delegation, told them that it was the
first time ever that a delegation of tribal leaders had met
him pressing for their demands in the budget.
Karat alleged that here was a shortfall of Rs 20,000
crore in the tribal sub-plan. "Tribal farmers have not
benefited from the debt waiver either".
Apart from this, though the value of minor forest produce
is very large, the Minimum Support Price is nowhere near the
The delegation also demanded specific budgetary
allocation and schemes for tribals and an increase in tribal
student scholarships as well as BPL cards for all tribals.
"The Finance Minister has assured us that he will look
into all these demands," Karat said.
Asked whether they were satisfied with the performance of
the Tribal Affairs Ministry, she said the ministry is highly
marginalised. It does not even have required number of
officials, she said.