Girls wash the feet of chief minister Hemant Soren (left) and Tata Steel vice-president Suresh Dutt Tripathi, in keeping with tribal welcome rituals, at the start of the Santhal conference in Jamshedpur on Saturday Picture by Bhola Prasad
Jamshedpur, Oct. 19: Jharkhand is drawing up a financial assistance plan for tribals loosely based on a system in practice in the US for native Americans.
“We are drawing inspiration from the US policy for Red Indians (Indian Grants). It is aimed at ensuring financial empowerment for tribals and help them join the mainstream,” chief minister Hemant Soren said.
Hemant, who was in Jamshedpur during the second half of the day, revealed the idea at the inaugural session of the two-day 6th International Santhal Conference organised by International Santhal Council at Michael John Auditorium in Bistupur.
The chief minister, who was chief guest at the inauguration, said the need for a funding policy was felt as tribals were not able to get loans from financial institutions due to strict enforcement of the CNT Act.
“Tribals are refused loans in lieu of their land or ancestral property in the state due to CNT Act. However, after this policy, the tribal will be assured of getting loans from financial institutions for studies or business,” Hemant said.
The chief minister said that the framework for the policy was in the final stage and it was likely to be announced during the statehood day function in Ranchi on November 15.
“It is a sort of socio-development model through which youths will get funds for employment and in the process protect their rights. We hope to announce the scheme during the statehood day function,” he said.
Reacting strongly to the allegations that his government was ignoring the Mukhya Mantri Dal Bhat Yojana and Mukhya Mantri Laxmi Ladli Yojana — successfully introduced by his predecessor Arjun Munda — Hemant said that the two welfare schemes had been launched without setting up a proper system at the ground level.
“The benefits were not reaching the targeted section of society. Instead, middlemen were being benefited due to the lack of a proper system. We are planning to augment both schemes from the village level and hopefully their new versions would be announced during the statehood function,” Hemant said.
The chief minister also refuted media reports that there were differences within allies JMM and Congress about seat sharing for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
“There is an understanding of 10-4 seat sharing between the Congress and JMM and there is absolutely no confusion on this,” he said.
The chief minister also requested Tata Steel to grant 5acre land to build a multi-purpose hall for the International Santhal Council before felicitating a number of achievers from the Santhal community in education, film, arts, literature and sports.
Tata Steel vice-president (human resource management) Suresh Dutt Tripathi also spoke about the company’s efforts in nurturing the Santhali script, Ol Chiki, traditonal tribal instruments like the Vanab and ancient sports like Kati.
He also announced plans to build a memorial for Pandit Raghunath Murmu, the man behind the Ol Chiki script, at his birth place in Mayurbhanj district of Odisha.