Odisha LABHA Scheme: MSP Scheme for Minor Forest Produce

The Odisha government has launched an innovative program called the LABHA Scheme, short for ‘Laghu Bana Jatya Drabya Kraya’ Yojana. Unveiled on January 29, the state entirely funded this scheme and introduced a minimum support price (MSP) for minor forest produce (MFP). The LABHA Scheme is a significant step towards supporting the livelihoods of those living in forested areas, ensuring they receive fair compensation for their produce. Continue reading to explore more about how the Odisha LABHA Scheme is making a difference.

Odisha LABHA Scheme 2024: A New Dawn for Tribal Communities

The Odisha government has rolled out the LABHA Yojana in 2024, a groundbreaking initiative entirely financed by the state. This scheme introduces a minimum support price (MSP) for minor forest produce (MFP), ensuring fair pricing and support for tribal communities. Each year, the state will determine the MSP, allowing primary collectors, mainly tribals, to sell their forest produce at these set prices. The Tribal Development Co-operative Corporation of Odisha Ltd (TDCCOL) will facilitate these transactions at designated procurement centres.

This initiative, spearheaded by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s Cabinet, is being celebrated as a historic decision. It’s expected to significantly impact Odisha’s tribal population, which comprises nearly one crore people, or about 23% of the state’s total population. The LABHA Scheme is seen as a strategic move by the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) to deepen its connection with tribal and forest fringe communities, promising a brighter future for these vital but often overlooked segments of society.

Key Highlights of the Odisha LABHA Scheme

  • Scheme Name: Odisha LABHA Scheme
  • Initiated By: Government of Odisha
  • Launch Date: January 29
  • Primary Goal: To foster the development and upliftment of Odisha’s tribal communities
  • Key Benefits: The scheme empowers primary collectors, predominantly tribal individuals, to sell minor forest produce at a government-fixed Minimum Support Price (MSP). These transactions are facilitated through procurement centres operated by the Tribal Development Co-operative Corporation of Odisha Ltd. (TDCCOL).
  • Operational State: Odisha
  • Target Beneficiaries: Tribal communities within Odisha

Purpose and Mechanism of the Odisha LABHA Scheme

The core objective of the Odisha LABHA Scheme is to ensure fair pricing and consistent income for tribal communities involved in collecting minor forest produce (MFP). Under this scheme, the State government will actively set the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for MFP every year. This move aims to stabilize the incomes of tribal collectors by guaranteeing a set price for their produce.

The Tribal Development Cooperative Corporation Limited of Odisha (TDCCOL) will manage the collection of MFP at various procurement centres. Here, the primary collectors, who are members of the tribal community, will have the opportunity to sell their produce at the government-determined MSP. This system is in contrast to the previous one, where the Tribal Cooperative Marketing Federation of India established the MSP for MFP, but it did not always result in real benefits for the tribal collectors in Odisha. The new approach by the Odisha government is expected to bridge this gap and ensure that the tribals receive the due benefits.

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Advantages of the Odisha LABHA Scheme: Strengthening Tribal and Women Collectors

The Odisha LABHA Scheme, funded entirely by the state, brings significant benefits to tribal communities and women involved in collecting minor forest produce (MFP). Here’s a breakdown of the key benefits:

  • Annual MSP Setting: The government commits to setting a minimum support price for MFPs annually, ensuring stable and fair pricing for tribal collectors.
  • Empowering Tribal Collectors: With tribal members constituting 99% of primary MFP collectors, the Tribal Development Cooperative Corporation of Odisha Limited (TDCCOL) collection centres will play a pivotal role in enabling them to market their produce effectively.
  • Integration of Women’s SHGs: A major feature of the LABHA Yojana is the inclusion of Mission Shakti’s Women Self-Help Groups (SHGs), who form the majority of these tribal primary collectors. This integration aims to strengthen the financial independence and empowerment of women collectors.
  • Management of Procurement Centres: SHGs and other designated organisations will collaborate with TDCCOL to manage the procurement centres, ensuring a smooth and efficient collection process.
  • Financial Allocation and Distribution: The state government has allocated an initial fund of ₹100 crore, out of which 2% is designated for SHGs or other managing bodies. Payments for the collected MFPs will be made directly to the beneficiaries’ accounts through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT), ensuring transparency and promptness.
  • Expanding Beneficiary Base: While the initial goal is to include 30,000 indigenous members in the program, expectations are high for this number to soon reach around one lakh, vastly expanding the scheme’s impact.

Enhancing Tribal Livelihoods: The Benefits of Odisha Laghu Bana Jatya Drabya Kraya Yojana

The Odisha Laghu Bana Jatya Drabya Kraya Yojana is set to revolutionise the way minor forest produce (MFP) is collected and processed, bringing a host of benefits:

  • Streamlined Procurement Process: The scheme introduces an automated system for procurement. This system will meticulously record details such as the procurement point, information about the primary collectors, and the quantity of MFPs collected. By leveraging technology, the process is made more efficient and transparent.
  • Alignment with ‘Vision 5T’ Framework: The automation aligns perfectly with Odisha’s ‘Vision 5T’ framework, which emphasizes teamwork, technology, transparency, transformation, and timeliness. This approach ensures that the tribal communities reap more significant benefits from the scheme.
  • Value Addition and Increased Sales: The Tribal Development Cooperative Corporation of Odisha Limited (TDCCOL) is exploring avenues for value addition and processing of MFPs. E-tendering is also on the cards to boost sales.
  • Investment in Tamarind Processing: The State government is channelling approximately ₹25 crore towards establishing a tamarind processing unit in Rayagada. This facility is not just a business venture but a means to enhance the economic wellbeing of the tribal community, as it will process tamarind collected through the LABHA Yojana.
  • Preventing Distress Sales: One of the critical objectives of the LABHA Yojana is to eliminate the need for tribal communities to sell their produce to middlemen at low prices. By ensuring fair pricing and proper channels for sale, the scheme protects the interests of the primary collectors.

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Odisha’s Rich Tribal Heritage and Progressive Initiatives

Odisha stands out for its diverse tribal composition, home to 62 distinct tribes, including 13 Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTG). Ranking third in India, after Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, in terms of tribal population density, it presents a vibrant cultural mosaic. Notably, 68.09% of the State’s total tribal population resides in Scheduled Areas, with 121 out of 314 blocks in Odisha designated as such. These Scheduled Areas cover about 44.70% of the State’s geographical expanse.

The linguistic diversity in Odisha is equally remarkable, with twenty-one tribal languages spoken across the state. The government, through various commissions, is committed to protecting and promoting these languages. Efforts include supporting multilingual education, documenting and preserving tribal languages, encouraging their usage, and safeguarding linguistic rights.

The Multilingual Education (MLE) initiative integrates all 21 government-recognized tribal languages into the educational framework. Furthermore, the Commission is collaborating with the Central Government to include languages like Ho, Mundari, Kui, and Saora in the Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution. Despite persistent efforts, these languages have not yet been included in the Eighth Schedule.

In line with supporting tribal communities, the State Government also plays a crucial role in ensuring economic stability. Through initiatives like the LABHA Yojana, it sets the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for minor forest produce annually. This scheme empowers primary collectors, predominantly from tribal backgrounds, to sell their produce at MSPs at TDCCOL-operated procurement centres, ensuring fair trade and income security.

Steps to Apply for the Odisha LABHA Scheme

As of now, the Odisha Government hasn’t launched an official website for the LABHA Scheme. However, once the website is up and running, all eligible applicants will be able to access it for application purposes. Here’s what you’ll need to do:

  • Visit the Official Website: Keep an eye out for the announcement of the official website for the Odisha LABHA Scheme.
  • Fill Out the Application Form: Once the website is launched, navigate to the application section. There, you’ll find a form specifically for the LABHA Scheme.
  • Submit Your Application: Complete the form with all the required details and submit it as per the instructions provided on the website.

Remember to check for updates regarding the launch of the official website, so you can apply as soon as it becomes available.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Odisha LABHA Scheme

What is the Odisha LABHA Scheme?

The LABHA Scheme is an initiative fully funded by the State Government, designed to offer a Minimum Support Price (MSP) for minor forest produce (MFP). This scheme aims to ensure fair pricing and economic support for tribal communities engaged in collecting MFP.

How will tribal individuals benefit from the Odisha LABHA Scheme?

Under this scheme, tribal primary collectors are empowered to sell their minor forest produce at predetermined Minimum Support Prices. These transactions are facilitated at various procurement centres managed by the Tribal Development Cooperative Corporation of Odisha Limited (TDCCOL), guaranteeing fair compensation for their produce.

What is the official website for the Odisha LABHA Scheme?

As of now, the official website for the Odisha LABHA Scheme has not been announced. Interested individuals are advised to stay updated for the official notification regarding the website launch.