After big win in tribal Gujarat, BJP pushes major employment plan

The tribal belt is spread from Danta in north Gujarat to Umargam in Valsad and Dangs in southeast of the state. Some 89.17 lakh tribals live in this eastern belt and have great dominance in Gujarat politics with 27 reserved seats, of which the BJP won 23 in this assembly election.

For the last two and a half decades the BJP has made inroads into the tribal belt, which was once the bailiwick of the Congress. First with the Hindu card and now with the development card, the government is planning to win the hearts of the tribals. It has planned eight tribal parks in this belt.

In principle the government has decided to set up industrial estates for Micro, Small, Medium units in talukas that are declared tribal talukas. The aim is to create employment in the tribal belt and also encourage entrepreneurship among the tribals, said Dr Kuber Dindor, Tribal Development Minister.

Out of the eight, two tribal parks are coming up in Chhotaudepur and Dahod district, said Dharmendra Panelia, regional manager, Vadodara, of the Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC).

Panelia said Vanar village in Chhotaudepur and Chakaliya village of Jhalod taluka in Dahod district have been selected as the sites for the tribal parks, with some 8 to 10 hectares of land being reserved for each site. It is at a very primary stage, and details have to be worked out whether they will be dedicated to MSME or will be a mixed bag of small and big units. But one thing is sure, they will be non-polluting units.

To encourage entrepreneurs to set up shop in the industrial estates, the state government has launched schemes to attract investment. The first is the Atmanirbhar Gujarat Yojama-2022, under which general category investors are given subsidy for setting up units, whereas under the Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Udhyog Uday Yojna, SC/ST entrepreneurs setting up MSME are given subsidy, said S J Thakor, general manager at the Dahod District Industries Centre.

Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe entrepreneurs are given a higher subsidy under this scheme, compared to the general investor.

The policies and programmes all sound good when they are announced, but in reality they fail to deliver, is the experience of Vansda MLA Anant Patel from the Congress.

He doubts that the tribal park will increase tribal entrepreneurs, because very few tribals are financially empowered to set up units. Patel said that a lot many hotels have come up in tribal areas, where the tribal is the owner of the land but once the agriculture land is converted into non-agriculture land, a non tribal takes over. The same will happen with the industrial units. To avail subsidies, on paper the entrepreneur will be a tribal but once the subsidies are availed, the tribal will be out of the game.

In the name of tribal development they want to snatch away the tribals’ land alleges Chaitar Vasava, AAP MLA from Dediapada. This is his observation from past experience, be it the development of the Statue of Unity, or water reservoir projects like the Narmada, Kadana or Ukai dam. Vasava said they will launch an agitation against such tribal parks.




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