There is Development Deficit in Tribal Areas: PM

New Delhi, Jul 24 (IANS): Admitting a "development deficit" in backward areas, particularly those inhabited by tribals, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Saturday said a "holistic development programme" was needed for these areas as government sponsored schemes "have not worked" in bridging the alienation of the tribal people who were being exploited by Maoists.

"The problems of marginalised sections of our country, many of whom live in areas which are affected by Left-wing extremism, call out for special attention," Manmohan Singh said, addressing the National Development Council meeting here.

Calling for "a concerted effort to bridge the development deficit in these backward areas", the prime minister said: "Our development schemes have not worked well in these backward and impoverished parts of our country, particularly the areas inhabited by the adivasi population."

He said the government would "reduce whatever sense of alienation that may exist among the adivasis living in these areas. As the word 'adivasi' implies, they were the original inhabitants and their rights must be fully protected".

At the same time he said there should be no doubt that Maoist insurgency needed to be "met with and it will be met with the centre and the states cooperating fully with one another".

But this, he said, "must be supplemented by action on two other fronts.

"We must recognise that good governance alone gives people a sense of participation and empowerment. Failure to implement (Forest Rights Act and Panchayati Raj Act) laws in letter and spirit reduces the credibility of our commitment to bring development to these neglected regions."

He exhorted that these areas "must be provided with additional resources for development and the development programmes must be aligned to the special circumstances of these areas".

"I have asked the Planning Commission to design a holistic development programme for these areas in consultation with the states and other stakeholders," he said.


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