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Efforts on to promote tribal products in national, global markets, says official

Entrepreneurship awards given to 80 adivasis selected from six States

Ganga Pujari and Pangi Chilakamma of Pedabayalu mandal from Visakha Agency region, were all smiles, after they were handed over the merit certificate and a trophy by the Secretary of the Union Ministry of Tribal Welfare Anil Kumar Jha at a star hotel here on Monday.

They were among the 80 adivasis selected from Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Odisha, by the ministry for the entrepreneurship awards that were given on Monday.

Speaking to The Hindu, the two adivasi women said that they had started the ‘adda’ leaf plate making unit, with funding under the Jana Dhan Vikas Kendra from the Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA), about four years ago. After a humble beginning, today they employ 18 adivasi women, who make a living from the unit.

“We have 10 sewing machines and a hydraulic press for making the plates. All the women were trained and they are in a position to take care of their families,” said Ms. Ganga. “Though our husbands continue to cultivate the fields, we have started the unit and it was funded and assisted both by the State and the Union governments,” said Ms. Chilakamma.

There are four such plate making units in Visakha Agency in Pedabayalu, G Madugula, Paderu and Munchingput. These apart there are units involved in the business such as organic turmeric, coffee and shikakai soap bars, pepper and rajma, said Mr. Jha.

According to him, apart from funding the units promoted by the tribals, efforts are on the establish linkages so that their produces can be sold both in the national and international markets. Agencies such as Trifed and GCC are being roped in, said Mr. Jha. He also said that the funding can range from ₹2 lakh to ₹10 lakh, depending on the product and project report. The funding will be primarily made by the National Scheduled Tribes Finance and Development Corporation or banks and routed through the ITDAs. The loans will be sanctioned at much lower interest rate, which could be around 4% he said.

The programme was organised as part of the ongoing Azadi ka Amrit Mahsotav celebrations.

Earlier, a similar programme was held for the eastern sector in October at Kohima, where 53 tribal entrepreneurs were honoured.

Yatinder Prasad, Joint Secretary, Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Asit Gopal, CMD, NSTFDC, Kantilal Dande, Secretary, Tribal Welfare Department, Andhra Pradesh, V. Chinna Veerabadrudu, Director, Tribal Welfare Department, E. Ravindra Babu, managing director, AP TRICOR, District Collector A. Mallikarjuna Rao and others were present.

The adivasi entrepreneurs from the participating States showcased their products at an exhibition and tribal dancers enthralled the participants and officials with the traditional Dhimsa dance at the venue.

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