statesman news service
KOLKATA, 21 SEPT: A proposal for setting up a new department ~ Tribal Affairs ~ will be placed at the state Cabinet meeting.
The new department will be carved out from the Backward Classes Welfare (BCW) Department. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee herself will head the department while Mr Sanjay K Thade, the BCW Department secretary, will be the secretary of the new department. Matters relating to the tribals, namely the existing schemes and funds sanctioned for them, that are currently under the BCW Department will be transferred to the new department. This in turn will reduce the total budgetary allocation and amount of Central funds that are received by the BCW Department since majority of this is allocated for tribal welfare.
Distributing cycles to one lakh Scheduled Tribe (ST) girl students studying in classes IX to XII in all the districts is one of the schemes the new department will start. The state government has decided to spend Rs 30 crore on the project.
In May, Miss Banerjee had announced creation of a separate department to implement welfare projects for tribals following a meeting with the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad.
While announcing it, she had said that tribals have many grievances but they don’t know where to lodge complaints to draw the attention of the authorities and so a separate department will help in addressing their problems. In Bengal, tribals form six per cent of the state&’s population and their concentration is higher in north Bengal.