Number of forest produce collectors has increased by over four times in the past four years in Chhattisgarh
Number of MFP collectors increased from 1.5 lakh to over 6 lakh
Quantity of purchase of minor forest produce has increased by more than 78 times
Chhattisgarh government procuring Kodo, Kutki, and Ragi at support price
Chhattisgarh Government has done unprecedented work in the areas of employment, self-employment, better management of local resources, and entrepreneurship development. Over the past four years, the benefits of government schemes have reached the needy people residing in rural and remote forest areas, resulting in significant benefits to the state's tribal communities and people belonging to rural, farmer, labor, and artisan categories. The result of the Chhattisgarh government's welfare policies is that every section of society in the state is becoming economically empowered and prosperous. Several significant works have been undertaken in the direction of strengthening the rights of forest dwellers and tribal people living in the forest areas of Chhattisgarh. This includes boosting their income through minor forest produce and forest-based activities.
In a first, Kodo, Kutki, and Ragi has been procured at support prices in the state. Under the leadership of Chief Minister Shri Bhupesh Baghel, the Millet Mission is also being implemented to promote minor cereal crops. In Chhattisgarh, 74 per cent of the country's minor forest produce is collected. In the interest of the MFP collectors, the state has decided to increase the number of minor forest produce purchased at support price from 7 to 65, which is nine times more, resulting in more than a four-fold increase in the number of collectors over the past four years. In 2018-19, the number of MFP collectors was 1.5 lakh, which has now increased to 6 lahks. The quantity of minor forest produce purchased has also increased by more than 78 times, with a total of 42,000 metric tonnes purchased in 2021-22, compared to just 540 metric tonnes in 2018-19.
Among all the states in the country, Chhattisgarh has the highest participation in minor forest produce collection. This year, the state government has paid Rs 120 crore to the MFP collectors. In the last four years, nearly 13 lakh Tendupatta collectors and 06 lakh minor forest produce collectors have earned an additional annual income of Rs 250 crore as a result of the public welfare schemes of the Chhattisgarh government. Along with the collection, processing of minor forest produce is being done through 129 Van Dhan Vikas Kendras. Besides, a total of 6 C-Marts and 30 Sanjeevani Kendras have been established on the initiative of the Chief Minister for the sale of 134 herbal products under the brand name 'Chhattisgarh Herbals'.
Chhattisgarh government has created better provisions regarding the PESA law in comparison to other states so that local self-governance can be strengthened in forest areas and people living in the forest can receive more rights. The government has made numerous efforts to increase employment and self-employment opportunities for tribals and boost their income.
Keeping in view the interest of the collectors, the collection rate for tendu leaf has been increased from Rs.2500 to Rs.4000 per standard bag. A remuneration of Rs.2146.75 crore has been paid to tendu leaf collectors and Rs 339.27 crore as incentive remuneration in 4 years. Under the Shaheed Mahendra Karma Tendupatta Sangrahak Samajik Suraksha Yojana, assistance worth Rs 71.02 crore has been provided to 4692 beneficiaries. Chhattisgarh is also the leading state in the country in the implementation of forest rights. Chhattisgarh government has given the status of agriculture to lac production and has also implemented a scheme to provide short-term loans to lac farmers, as a result of which today they are becoming financially strong.