India signed an agreement for credit of $ 51 million (equivalent) from IFAD for the Jharkhand Tribal Empowerment Livelihood Project (JTLEP). JTELP would continue till September 2021.
What is JTLEP?
The Jharkhand Tribal Empowerment Livelihood Project (JTLEP) aims to enable rural households to take-up sustainable livelihood opportunities. The project shall benefit small rural producers, women, scheduled caste households and youth in the hill districts of the State of the Jharkhand. The goal of the project is to reduce poverty in the hill districts of the State of Jharkhand. Jharkhand has a population of 33 million, of whom 26% are members of scheduled tribes and 78% are rural. The project will be implemented in 14 districts in the state, focusing on approximately 30 sub-districts that have a rural tribal population of more than 50% and at least half the population living below the poverty line. The new project has four main components:
- Community Empowerment
- Integrated Natural Resource Management
- Livelihood Project
- Project Management.
What is IFAD?
IFAD or International Fund for Agricultural Development is a specialized agency of the United Nations which works for the eradication of rural poverty and improve food security by means of financial services, markets, technology, land and other natural resources.
It was established in 1977 following the 1974 World Food Conference. The conference was organized in response to the food crises of the early 1970s that primarily affected the Sahelian countries of Africa. It resolved that “an International Fund for Agricultural Development should be established immediately to finance agricultural development projects primarily for food production in the developing countries.” The conference agreed that the causes of food insecurity and famine were not so much failures in food production but structural problems relating to poverty, and to the fact that the majority of the developing world’s poor populations were concentrated in rural areas.
IFAD’s goal is to empower poor rural women and men in developing countries to achieve higher incomes and improved food security.
IFAD will ensure that poor rural people have better access to, and the skills and organization they need to take advantage of:
- Natural resources, especially secure access to land and water, and improved natural resource management and conservation practices
- Improved agricultural technologies and effective production services
- A broad range of financial services
- Transparent and competitive markets for agricultural inputs and produce
- Opportunities for rural off-farm employment and enterprise development
- Local and national policy and programming processes
Note: Global poverty remains a massive and predominantly rural phenomenon – with 70% of the developing world’s 1.4 billion extremely poor people living in rural areas.
As per United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) report on the global Infant Mortality rate (IMR) declined from 61 deaths in 1990 to 37 deaths in 2011. Annual infant deaths decreased from 8.4 million in 1990 to 5 million in 2011.
Although India has more IMR than the global average, it has shown a minor decline in IMR in 2012 compared to 2011. It decreased from 44 deaths for every 1000 live births in 2011 to 42 deaths for every 1000 live in 2012. Some findings of the report:
- In India, Kerala has IMR of 12 which is least compared to other states.
- The worst is Assam with IMR 55.
- West Bengal also performed badly with IMR 32.
- Some improvement was seen in case of Uttar Pradesh and Odisha whose IMR declined from 57 in 2011 to 53 in 2012 in both states.
- Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Tamil Nadu registered a one-point decrease in IMR.
- Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir improved their IMR by 2 points.
- Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Delhi and Karnataka reduced their IMR by 3 points.
What are the main causes for high IMR in India?
Low awareness about health and reproductive rights, maternal anemia and malnutrition are the main causes for high infant mortality rate in India. Infant Mortality rate (IMR) is the number of deaths of children less than one year of age per 1000 live births.
Rajan Committee’s new methodology to replace ‘special category’ status for devolution of funds to States
The panel set up by the government under the chairmanship of the then Chief Economic Advisor Raghuram Rajan (now RBI governor) has suggested ending the ‘special category’ criteria for providing additional assistance to poorer states.
Why did the government set up the Rajan Committee?
The Union Government set up Raghuram Rajan Committee amid demands for “special category” status by Bihar and some other status to get additional financial assistance from the Centre. The Committee was tasked to suggest methods for identifying backwardness of states using a variety of criteria and also to recommend how the criteria may be reflected in future planning and devolution of funds from the central government to the states.
What are the key recommendations of the Rajan Committee?
The Rajan Committee has made two key recommendations for devolution of funds to states. They are:
a) A new methodology based on a ‘Multi Dimensional Index (MDI)’.
Depending on the scores of the 28 states on the MDI, they will be split into 3 categories:
- Least developed
- Less developed
- Relatively developed
b) Each state should get a basic fixed allocation and an additional allocation depending on its development needs and development performance.
As per the Committee, these two recommendations, along with the allocation methodology, will effectively subsume what is now “Special Category” status.
According to the MDI scores:
- Least Developed states: Odisha, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.
- Less Developed states: Manipur, West Bengal, Nagaland, Andhra Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Mizoram, Gujarat, Tripura, Karnataka, Sikkim and Himachal Pradesh.
- Relatively Developed states: Goa, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Maharashtra, Uttrakhand and Haryana.
The Department of Economic Affairs will soon examine the report and take necessary action.
The Government has set up a high level panel to prepare a position paper on the socio-economic, health and educational status of tribals and also recommend policy initiatives as well as effective outcome-oriented measures to improve development indicators and strengthen public service delivery to STs.
India has around 8.6% people belonging to tribal community. The population is concentrated in the north-east, particularly in Nagaland, Mizoram, Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh, and in those parts now overrun by Maoists — Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and parts of Bihar and Maharashtra.
Who will be the members of the Committee?
Virginius Xaxa, noted tribal expert and eminent sociologist, who was recently appointed member of the Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council, will be the head of the Committee.
Other members include Usha Ramanathan, Joseph Bara, K.K. Misra, Abhay Bang and Sunila Basant, all of whom are familiar with the problems of tribals and come from diverse backgrounds — Law, History, Anthropology, Medicine and Administration.
What will be the focus of the Committee?
The panel is likely to focus on the following areas:
- The impact of involuntary displacement and imposed migration on tribal communities.
- Effect of rapid urbanisation on their original habitats
- To examine whether new possibilities of employment and livelihood available to them.
- To measure their asset base and income levels, and changes in the patterns of ownership and productivity of their immovable assets
- To analyze the role of public policy and the legal framework in facilitating/inhibiting such changes, the level of their socio-economic development, and their relative share of public and private sector employment, and consider what steps have been taken by States/Union Territories for capacity building and improving their employability.
- To examine whether tribal communities have adequate access to education and health services, municipal infrastructure, bank credit, and other services provided by government/public sector entities; and the level of schools, health centres, ICDS centres, etc, in areas of tribal concentration in comparison to the general level of such social infrastructure in various States.
- To look at whether protective legislation such as the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989, the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, the Forest Rights Act and the Food Security Ordinance are being implemented effectively.