Odisha announces development councils for tribals



Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday announced the setting up of Special Development Councils in nine tribal districts for the inclusive growth of tribals in the state.

The councils will have decision-making powers as well as the financial resources to preserve, promote and develop the unique socio-cultural identities of tribals and their economic capacities, he added.

The Cabinet earlier approved the councils to be set up in Koraput, Rayagada, Nawarangpur, Malkangiri, Sundergarh, Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar, Kandhamal and Boudh districts.

There are 62 tribal communities, including 13 vulnerable ones, in the state. The tribals account for 22 per cent of the state's population and 10 per cent of India's tribal population.

"In a democratic system based on majority, it is our experience that many small tribal groups do not get represented directly in higher decision-making fora. It is in this context that the formation of these development councils is significant," Patnaik said.

He said these councils will have representations from every tribe living in the respective district.

"This will be a landmark step towards empowerment of every tribe irrespective of the size of their population. It will help preserve, honour and celebrate the unique cultural identity of every tribe while bringing about truly inclusive growth," the Chief Minister added.

He said about Rs 1.5 crore will be allotted to each block under these councils and a total of Rs 175.50 crore will be spent per annum through these bodies.

This amount is over and above the already existing schemes, he added. - IANS