Centre to revamp minimum support for minor forest produce

• The Centre will frame new guidelines and extend the coverage of Minimum Support Price (MSP) for minor forest produce (MFP) scheme, which is aimed at benefiting a majority of 10 crore tribals.

• The government is also considering increasing the MSP for various MFPs by around 40%.

Background:

• The MSP for MFP scheme was started by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government in 2013 to ensure fair and remunerative prices to MFP gatherers.

Significance of MFP:

• Minor Forest Produce (MFP) is a major source of livelihood for tribals living in forest areas. The importance of MFPs for this section of the society can be gauged from the fact that around 100 million forest dwellers depend on MFPs for food, shelter, medicines and cash income.

• It provides them critical subsistence during the lean seasons, particularly for primitive tribal groups such as hunter gatherers, and the landless. Tribals derive 20-40% of their annual income from MFP on which they spend major portion of their time.

• This activity has strong linkage to women’s financial empowerment as most of the MFPs are collected and used/sold by women. MFP sector has the potential to create about 10 million workdays annually in the country.

Need of the hour:

• While it has been more than five years since the scheme was launched, it has not been implemented properly. Improving the implementation of the scheme is the need of the hour to benefit the forest-dwelling and forest-dependent communities.

• Moreover, despite the MFP rights being given to tribal communities under the Forest Rights Act, many states have nationalised MFPs like tendu, monopolising their trade, which is against the law.

Related facts for Prelims- About Van Dhan Vikas Kendras initiative:

• The initiative aims to promote MFPs-centric livelihood development of tribal gatherers and artisans. It mainstreams the tribal community by promoting primary level value addition to MFP at grassroots level.

• Through this initiative, the share of tribals in the value chain of Non-Timber Forest Produce is expected to rise from the present 20% to around 60%.

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Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design & implementation.

Prelims level: MFPs and other forest products

Mains level: Issues related to forest rights

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