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     Raipur/New Delhi, February 04, 2012: Government of India has announced new projects to provide sustainable livelihood to the tribals in Maoist violence affected districts of Chhattisgarh.

     The Government of India has announced creation of six projects in Non-Timber Forest Produce (NTFP) covering around 60 Maoist-affected districts of Chhattisgarh and other states in the country.

     The projects, to be executed within six months, would be in the Public Private Partnership mode and cover the states like Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, officials said.

     Addressing a National Conference on the NTFP at the national capital, Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh yesterday said, the projects in Lac, Gum, Medicinal Plants, Tasar, Bamboo and Non-edible oil seeds like Neem and Mahua would maximise the return for the tribal engaged in collection of these forest products.

     Expansion of market and regeneration of NTFP in a sustainable manner are the other two challenges facing this sector, he said adding the projects would be part of the National Rural Livelihood Mission and would focus primarily on livelihood generation and value additional in the non-timber forest products in Maoist affected areas and called for cooperative arrangement between forest departments and the local self help groups and other such organisations.

     The Minister underlined the need for involvement of Panchayats in the execution of projects and stressed for large scale intervention to improve the livelihood security of the people depending on the collection of NTFP.

    Ramesh said his Ministry would also explore whether MGNREGA could be used as a convergence in the implementation of the projects.

     The National Rural Livelihoods Mission, Ministry of Rural Development was planning a special intervention to promote NTFP collectives to increase the income of tribal NTFP collectors through sustainable harvest and scientific post-harvest practices for higher returns, negotiate better with market forces while also take up various value addition activities at appropriate levels. The intervention envisages strengthening the NTFP value chain on end-to-end basis and creating strategic public-private partnerships for the benefit of all stakeholders, officials said.

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