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PM Modi Set to Launch ₹24,000-Crore Scheme for Vulnerable Tribal Groups

The launch of the Rs 24,000 crore Pradhan Mantri Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group Development Mission (PMVTG) by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is revered by tribal people in Jharkhand as Bhagwan, is a politically significant move by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ahead of the next round of voting in the ongoing assembly elections and the Lok Sabha poll next year.

PVTGs are a more vulnerable group among tribal groups in India. These groups have primitive traits, geographical isolation, low literacy, zero to negative population growth rate and backwardness. Moreover, they are largely dependent upon hunting for food and a pre-agriculture level of technology.

The development of PVTGs is the aim of the Rs 24,000-crore project. The mission includes providing basic amenities to the mostly remote, dispersed, and inaccessible areas where these tribal groups reside, such as road and telecom connectivity, electricity, safe housing, clean drinking water, and sanitation; better access to education, health, and nutrition; and opportunities for sustainable livelihood.

With the launch of the mission in four states (Madhya Pradesh (MP), Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, and Telangana) where reversing the trend of 2018 is critical to the party’s success, the BJP is hoping to reap immediate political dividends. In order to defend the 2019 verdict of 303 Lok Sabha seats, the BJP also needs the support of the tribal vote base.

The BJP’s defeat in the 2018 Assembly elections in Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, and MP was primarily ascribed to the party giving up political ground to the Congress among support groups for the tribe. In 2018, the Congress won thirty of the forty-seven assembly seats in MP that were set aside for tribal people. The BJP had secured a comparable number of seats in the 2013 elections.

By securing 25 of the 29 seats set aside for STs in Chhattisgarh, the Congress party had taken control of the regions that were dominated by tribes. In Chattisgarh, the proportion of tribal population is nearly 31%. In MP, there are approximately 105 assembly seats where the tribal vote base is significant. Additionally, Rajasthan has 25 seats set aside for STs.

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