Less than 3 percent population in 177 tribal-dominated districts in the county has been detected as positive for coronavirus, the government told the Rajya Sabha on Thursday. Union Tribal Affairs Minister Arjun Munda also told the Upper House that so far, there has been "no report of major outbreak of the disease in tribal areas".
Citing a recent study conducted by IIT Delhi, the minister said, Less than 3 percent of the population in 177 districts with 25 percent tribal population or more has been detected as corona positive. The minister also said the COVID response team of his ministry has formulated a pandemic response plan to protect the livelihoods and health of Scheduled Tribes. The same has been approved by the Secretary, Tribal Affairs, and circulated among various stakeholders for necessary action. States and Union Territories have been asked to utilize funds from state tribal sub plans and submit a comprehensive proposal on these lines under various schemes of the ministry, he said.
Measures in the response plan include provision of community kitchens in tribal areas, ensuring supply of ration, basic financial support through direct benefit transfer, improving village-level water availability, and support towards creation of isolation and quarantine facilities in areas with ST population. The Ministry of Tribal Affairs has also done mapping of sectoral gaps down to the level of gram panchayats and villages in collaboration with the Ministry of Rural Development, Munda said.
The data has been shared with all states, who have been asked to work out strategies for mitigating sectoral gaps at the village-level including in the field of healthcare. This ministry has also prepared a Tribal Health Action Plan which was shared with NITI Aayog, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, AYUSH and the states in November 2019, he said.