Kolkata, Aug 24 :
Lamenting the displacement of tribal communities due to the need to exploit mineral and forest resources, President Pranab Mukherjee Sunday said the communities are yet to receive the full benefits of development.
The path of development was faced with dichotomy, he told people after inaugurating the Daya Duar Mini Hospital at a function held in the Catholic Church of Palsanda in West Bengal’s Murshidabad district.
“Our path of development faces a dichotomy. We need to exploit our mineral and forest resources but often that results in displacement and uprooting of our tribals, who are the best protectors of these resources,” he said.
“Tribal communities lag behind the general population in maternal and child mortality, access to education and size of agricultural holdings. They are yet to receive full benefits of development despite tribal sub plans under our Five Year Plans and allocation of substantial funds.
“This is because of problems in our delivery mechanisms. Lack of development leads to discontent, extremism and resort to violence. Such violence is against the spirit of our constitution and desire of god,” he said.
The tribal population in India is 104 million as per the 2011 census and accounts for 8.6 percent of the country’s total population.
He said land belonging to the tribals were “alienated” from them due to ignorance of the community and greed of non-tribals.
“Law and order problems arise when there is a feeling that proper compensation has not been paid and rehabilitation packages provided.
“The constitution guarantees that land belonging to the tribals should not be alienated but sadly it still happens due to the ignorance of the tribals and greed of non tribals,” he said
Lauding the efforts of the Church at Palsanda, which is working for the upliftment of tribals in the area, he said: “It is good that missionaries are working to spread all round development and not just education.”
“Christian teachings such as ‘Service of humanity is God’s service’ and ‘Love the neighbour’ reinforce India’s core civilisational values,” he said.