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Context: On September 21, 2023, the Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India Ltd. (TRIFED), operating under the Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs, is set to commence Phase 2 of the 'Promotion of Tribal Products for North East Region' (PTP-NER 2.0) scheme, which will run until November 10, 2023.
- The scheme launched by TRIFED aims to empower Scheduled Tribes in the northeastern region by enhancing their production capacity through technology and providing access to markets through effective marketing and attractive packaging.
- The Union Minister for Tribal Affairs initiated the Central Sector Scheme 'Marketing and Logistics Development for Promotion of Tribal Products from North-Eastern Region (PTP-NER)' in Manipur in April 2023.
Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India Ltd. (TRIFED)
●TRIFED is a national-level cooperative body in India under the administrative control of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs.
●It was established to promote the economic development of tribal communities and address the challenges they face in marketing their products and improving their livelihoods.
Establishment and Objectives
●TRIFED was established in 1987 and became operational in 1988. It was initially formed under the Multi-state Cooperative Societies Act 1984 and later came under the Ministry of Tribal Affairs.
●The primary objective of TRIFED is to institutionalize the trade of Minor Forest Produce (MFP) and provide fair prices to tribal communities for their surplus agricultural products. It aims to empower tribal communities economically.
●TRIFED also works to ensure the sustainable harvesting of MFP to protect tribal resources and promote responsible resource management.
●One of TRIFED's roles is to protect tribal communities from middlemen who buy MFP at low prices and sell them to end-users at higher rates. TRIFED helps tribal communities receive fair compensation for their products.
Initiatives and Programs
●Van Dhan Yojna: Launched in 2018, this initiative aims to set up Van Dhan Vikas Kendras in tribal areas to provide skill development, capacity building, and market access to tribal gatherers. The goal is to establish 30,000 such centres across the country.
●MSP for MFP Scheme: The Minimum Support Price (MSP) for Minor Forest Produce (MFP) scheme was launched to provide a fair price for non-timber forest products gathered by tribal communities. The list of MFPs covered under this scheme has been expanded.
●TRIFOOD Project: Launched in 2020, the TRIFOOD project focuses on setting up value-addition units for forest products in specific regions to enhance tribal income.
●Van Dhan Samajik Doori Jagrookta Abhiyaan: This initiative, launched during the COVID-19 crisis, aims to educate tribal communities about COVID-related safety measures. It also encourages door-to-door procurement and sale through mobile vans.
●Tech for Tribals Scheme: This scheme, launched in partnership with the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, provides training to tribal forest product gatherers through courses developed by institutions like IITs. The goal is to empower tribal entrepreneurs with skills and marketable products.
●TRIFED also plays a significant role in promoting tribal art and craft through initiatives like the "Aadi Mahotsav" exhibition, which showcases tribal craft products from across India.
'Promotion of Tribal Products for North East Region' (PTP-NER) scheme
- The 'Promotion of Tribal Products for North East Region' (PTP-NER) scheme is a significant initiative aimed at fostering the development and promotion of tribal products in the North East Region of India.
- The PTP-NER scheme was launched by the Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs in response to the unique challenges faced by tribal communities in the North-East Region. This region is known for its diverse tribal cultures and traditional craftsmanship, but tribal artisans often struggle with limited access to markets and modern technology, hindering their economic progress.
Features of the 'Promotion of Tribal Products for North East Region' (PTP-NER) scheme
- This feature underscores the scheme's primary objective of improving market access for tribal artisans. It achieves this by focusing on two key elements:
- Enhancing Production Capacity: Tribal artisans are provided with training and support to enhance their production capabilities. This includes improving the quality, quantity, and efficiency of their products.
- Marketing and Packaging Techniques: The scheme offers guidance and resources to tribal artisans for better marketing and attractive packaging. This helps their products stand out in the market.
- PTP-NER recognizes the importance of modern technology in increasing productivity and maintaining product quality.
- Tribal artisans are introduced to modern techniques and tools through training programs. This integration of technology empowers them to create higher-quality products and produce them more efficiently.
Empanelment of Artisans
- Artisans from various tribal communities are empanelled within the scheme.
- Empanelment provides tribal artisans with official recognition and access to the benefits and resources offered by the scheme. It serves as a means of formal inclusion and support.
Tribal Artisans Melas
- The organization of Tribal Artisans Empanelment Melas (TAeM) is a pivotal aspect of the scheme.
- These meals are events or exhibitions where tribal artisans can showcase their products to a broader audience, including potential buyers. They serve as a platform for artisans to display their craftsmanship and connect with consumers.
- The scheme encompasses a diverse range of tribal products, showcasing the rich cultural heritage of the tribal communities.
- The product categories covered include textiles, forest produce, bamboo items, jewellery, pottery, paintings, and various other indigenous crafts and items. This wide array of products helps preserve and promote the unique traditions and skills of tribal artisans.
These features collectively contribute to the holistic development and empowerment of tribal communities in the North-East Region. By enhancing their skills, providing access to markets, and preserving their cultural heritage, the PTP-NER scheme aims to improve the socio-economic well-being of tribal artisans while promoting their distinct identity and craftsmanship.
Significance of the 'Promotion of Tribal Products for North East Region (PTP-NER) scheme
Economic Empowerment of Tribal Communities
- The scheme aims to empower tribal communities economically by providing them with sustainable livelihood opportunities. It achieves this by improving its production capacity and facilitating market access.
- Economic empowerment enhances the income and standard of living of tribal artisans and reduces their dependence on traditional, often subsistence-based, livelihoods.
Preservation and Promotion of Cultural Heritage
- By promoting tribal craftsmanship and traditional art forms, the scheme contributes to the preservation and promotion of the rich cultural heritage of tribal communities.
- Tribal products often embody centuries-old traditions, and their promotion ensures that these unique cultural elements are passed down to future generations.
Inclusive Growth and Development
- The scheme promotes inclusive growth by ensuring that tribal communities in the North-East Region benefit from economic development initiatives.
- It helps reduce socio-economic disparities by providing opportunities for tribal artisans to participate in the broader economy, thus fostering more equitable development.
Market Access and Expansion
- PTP-NER facilitates better market access for tribal products, both at the national and international levels. This exposure to wider markets increases the visibility and demand for tribal products.
- The scheme enables tribal artisans to showcase their craftsmanship to a broader audience, potentially leading to increased sales and income.
Skill Enhancement and Capacity Building
- Skill development and capacity building are integral parts of the scheme. Tribal artisans receive training in modern techniques and tools, enabling them to produce higher-quality products efficiently.
- This skill enhancement not only improves the quality of tribal products but also enhances the overall productivity and competitiveness of tribal artisans.
Empowerment through Entrepreneurship
- PTP-NER encourages tribal artisans to become entrepreneurs by providing them with the necessary support and resources.
- Empowering tribal artisans as entrepreneurs helps them take ownership of their businesses and foster a spirit of self-reliance.
- The scheme emphasizes sustainable practices, ensuring that tribal artisans engage in eco-friendly production methods. This focus on environmental sustainability aligns with global trends and contributes to the responsible use of natural resources.
National and International Recognition
- The promotion of tribal products through the scheme helps these products gain recognition not only within India but also on the global stage.
- It positions tribal artisans as cultural ambassadors and showcases their craftsmanship to a wider international audience.
Challenges which can impact its effectiveness and outcomes
Geographical and Infrastructure Challenges
- Remote Locations: Many tribal communities in the Northeast region reside in remote and hilly areas, which can be difficult to access. This remoteness can pose challenges in terms of transportation, logistics, and reaching artisans.
- Inadequate Infrastructure: Limited road connectivity, lack of proper storage facilities, and insufficient transportation infrastructure can hinder the movement of tribal products to markets, both within and outside the region.
Cultural and Language Diversity
- Diverse Tribal Communities: The Northeast Region is home to numerous distinct tribal communities, each with its cultural traditions, languages, and artisanal practices. Tailoring the scheme to the specific needs and preferences of these diverse groups can be challenging.
- Language Barriers: Communication barriers arising from the linguistic diversity of the region can make it challenging to provide training, convey information, and understand the needs of tribal artisans effectively.
Limited Awareness and Skill Gaps
- Lack of Awareness: Many tribal artisans may lack awareness of modern production techniques, quality standards, and market dynamics. This can hinder their ability to adapt to changing consumer preferences and compete effectively.
- Skill Gaps: Skill development and training are crucial for enhancing the quality and marketability of tribal products. Identifying and addressing skill gaps among artisans can be a time-consuming process.
- Mass-Produced Goods: Tribal products often face stiff competition from mass-produced and cheaper alternatives in mainstream markets. This competition can make it challenging for tribal products to gain a competitive edge solely on price.
- Marketing and Branding: Building a strong brand presence for tribal products and effective marketing strategies are essential but can be challenging, especially for traditional artisans.
Access to Finance and Resources
- Limited Access to Finance: Tribal artisans may struggle to access financial resources to invest in their production and marketing efforts. Lack of capital can limit their capacity to scale up their businesses.
- Resource Constraints: Limited access to raw materials, modern tools, and technology can hinder the production and quality improvement efforts of tribal artisans.
Sustainability and Environmental Concerns
- Sustainable Practices: Ensuring that tribal artisans adopt sustainable and eco-friendly production practices can be a challenge, especially in industries that rely on natural resources.
- Environmental Regulations: Compliance with environmental regulations and standards, while maintaining traditional practices, can be complex.
Way Forward to ensure the success of the PTP-NER scheme
- Roads and Transportation: Invest in improving road infrastructure and transportation networks in tribal regions. This will facilitate the smooth and cost-effective movement of tribal products to markets.
- Storage Facilities: Construct storage facilities to prevent spoilage or damage to products and ensure their quality upon reaching the market.
- Ongoing Training: Continue providing regular training and skill enhancement programs to tribal artisans. These programs should cover not only traditional craftsmanship but also modern production techniques and quality standards.
- Entrepreneurship Skills: Include entrepreneurship and business management training to help tribal artisans manage their businesses effectively.
- Brand Promotion: Develop and promote a strong brand identity for tribal products. This can help create a niche market and attract consumers who appreciate the cultural and artistic value of tribal products.
- Market Access: Expand market access efforts by participating in trade fairs, exhibitions, and online marketplaces. Establish partnerships with retailers and export agencies to reach a broader customer base, both nationally and internationally.
- Environmental Awareness: Raise awareness among tribal artisans about the importance of sustainable and eco-friendly production practices. Encourage the use of renewable resources and eco-conscious techniques in their craftwork.
- Certification and Standards: Develop and implement certification standards for sustainable tribal products to meet global environmental and ethical standards.
Research and Development
- Innovation: Invest in research and development to foster innovation in tribal products. Encourage artisans to experiment with new designs, materials, and product categories while preserving their cultural authenticity.
- Market Research: Conduct market research to identify evolving consumer preferences and trends. Adapt tribal products to cater to modern consumer demands while maintaining their unique appeal.
Government and Institutional Support
- Policy Initiatives: Continue to support the PTP-NER scheme through favourable policies and funding mechanisms.
- Interagency Collaboration: Strengthen collaboration among government agencies, TRIFED, NEHHDC, and other relevant organizations to ensure effective implementation and coordination.
- Digital Literacy: Enhance digital literacy among tribal artisans to enable them to utilize online platforms for marketing and selling their products.
- E-commerce Training: Provide training in e-commerce and online sales strategies to tap into the growing digital market.
- Quality Control: Establish quality control mechanisms to ensure that tribal products consistently meet high-quality standards.
- Product Certification: Explore opportunities for product certification that can enhance the marketability of tribal products.
- Community Engagement: Engage tribal communities in decision-making processes and the implementation of the scheme. Their active participation can lead to better outcomes and a sense of ownership.
- The PTP-NER scheme has the potential to transform the lives of tribal communities in the Northeast Region by providing them with opportunities for economic growth while preserving their unique cultural heritage. Through continued commitment and strategic implementation, India can overcome the challenges and realize the full potential of this initiative.
Must Read Articles:
TRIBAL EMPOWERMENT: https://www.iasgyan.in/ias-gazette-magazine/perspective-tribal-empowerment
PTP-NER SCHEME: https://www.iasgyan.in/daily-current-affairs/ptp-ner-scheme
Q. What challenges does the 'Promotion of Tribal Products for North East Region' (PTP-NER) scheme face in its implementation, and what steps can be taken to ensure its success in empowering tribal communities and preserving their cultural heritage in the North East Region of India?