Nabard sanctions 6 tribal development projects in West Bengal

The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard) has sanctioned six tribal development programmes in West Bengal under Wadi projects. The Wadi projects are aimed at tribal welfare through job creation. The project in West Bengal is estimated to benefit nearly 2,800 tribal families in Bankura, Birbhum, Darjeeling and Coochbehar districts, according to a press release by Nabard.

The total assistance sanctioned under project is Rs 12.61 crore, including a grant assistance of Rs 11.49 crore, and a loan component of Rs 1.12 crore. Based on the experience of the project in Gujarat, Nabard has started replicating the “Wadi” model across the country.

“Also the bank has broad based the project with the adoption of “beyond Wadi” approaches, which inter-alia, include livelihoods based on traditional arts and crafts or agro and forest based activities for illiterate or semi-literate groups and projects harnessing the core competencies of the potential tribes, like , organic cultivation; indigenous knowledge especially regarding medicinal plants and preparation of medicines; collection, extraction and usage of natural dyes,” according to a press release by Nabard.

In West Bengal, location specific activities were identified in consultation with the participant tribal families and these include development of horticulture gardens with mango, cashew, lime, guava, in combination; piggery, goat farming and bee keeping, said Mohanaia, Chief General Manager, Nabard. For the first time, total organic farming with organic certification by an accredited agency is being contemplated in the hill district of Darjeeling where cultivation of fruit crops like orange, peach, plum and vegetables will be taken up under Wadi project.

The financial assistance for Wadi is provided from Tribal Development Fund (TDF) set up by Nabard.

The initial corpus of TDF was Rs 50crore during 2003-04, and has been increased to Rs 575 core as at the end of March 2009.

At a national level, Nabard has so far sanctioned 159 tribal development projects targeting development of 1.30 lakh tribal families with a total assistance of Rs 434.61 croe.