Government to set up tribal advisory council: Minister

New Delhi, Oct 29 (IANS) A National Tribal Advisory Council headed by the prime minister would be set up to monitor and implement various tribal welfare schemes across the country, a union minister said on Thursday.

The council would meet once or twice a year, Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram said while addressing a conference of principal secretaries and secretaries of tribal welfare departments from states and union territories.

The conference was held to discuss and evolve strategies for the overall development of tribal communities.

The minister stressed the need for more effective community participation for the success of various tribal welfare schemes.

“We cannot achieve significant results unless we involve members of society in the implementation process of various schemes. The conference should have special focus on this issue,” Oram said.

“Though there has been significant improvement in terms of infrastructure in education sector for tribals, quality of education has not improved in the same way,” he added.

Oram said the same held true for primary health care for tribals.

Referring to the problems of sixth scheduled states of the north-east, Oram said: “Their problems are quite different in nature and we should hold a regional conference for them in Guwahati.”

He directed his ministry officials to release 50 percent of tribal welfare funds to states in the first quarter of the next financial year.

“By the third quarter of the financial year, 80 percent of the funds should be released to the states,” said the minister.

He also urged the state governments to similarly release central funds received for various tribal welfare schemes.

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