IIT (ISM) rolls out special interventions to transform tribal farmers in Jamtara


Dhanbad: A team of faculty members of the Department of Management Studies of IIT (ISM) Dhanbad led by Rashmi Singh, assistant professor has embarked on a mission to transform the lives of scheduled tribe people of remote Jamtara district through tailor made interventions to help them evolve as farm based entrepreneurs.

Singh along with Niladri Das, associate professor of her department on Saturday heralded the intervention in Kundit block, a community development block of Jamtara, where 32.72% of population is of agricultural labourer, by organizing a workshop as part of Rs 60.75 lakh project of Department of Science and Technology (SEED division) titled “Improving the well being of Schedule Tribe Communities (ST) using Game Theoretic and Operations Research Techniques in Jamtara district of Jharkhand”.

The workshop was attended by over 130 Schedule Tribe farmers of block besides local officials and people’s representatives including, Sriram Marandi, block development officer (Kundhit) and different mukhiyas of adjoining villages.

“We dwelt at length about the different tribal welfare schemes, including, special Central Assistance to Tribal Sub Scheme; Institutional support for development and marketing of tribal products (produce); Mechanism for Marketing of Minor Forest Produce (MFP) through minimum support price and development of value chain for MFP as a measure of social safety for MFP gatherers etc and the beneficiaries of programme took keen interest about the intricacies of the scheme during the workshop” said Singh and added that they will be organizing similar workshop in all six blocks of Jamtara till August 31.

She added, “The idea is to improve the economic well-being of the scheduled tribes (ST) communities of Jamtara and primary focus is on the agriculture sector as it is the main source of income for the people of here as per the census data (2011). Moreover in the prevailing scenario the agriculture sector of India, which accounts for 42 percent of total employment is on the verge of a deepening crisis as it susceptible to uncertainties due to dependence on weather, traditional farming techniques and poor financial planning.”

The experts stressed that as the lockdown period worsened the economic outlook for agricultural commodities, it is expected that the demand for agricultural goods will be further compressed due to fall in incomes. “Furthermore, reverse migration will aggravate the economic situation and government’s target of doubling farmer’s income cannot be achieved in the absence of innovative solutions’,” said Das, adding that their study, which is the first of its kind proposes that farmers should be viewed as an “investor” of valuable resources — time, land, labour, and capital as farmers are the key functionaries of agricultural sector but they have ignored as decision makers.