Bhubaneswar:20/1 1/2 3: By nominating senior BJD leader and MLA Saluga Pradhan for the post of Deputy Speaker of Odisha Legislative Assembly, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has once again reiterated his commitment towards the empowerment of tribal communities of the State.
Saluga Pradhan, a two-time MLA from the tribal-dominated G. Udayagiri constituency of Kandhamal district, has filed his nomination for the prestigious post. Given the absolute majority that the BJD holds in the House, Pradhan’s win in the Deputy Speaker election is almost certain. He is all set to become the next Deputy Speaker of the Assembly.
Pradhan has expressed his gratitude to the Chief Minister and Party Supremo Naveen Patnaik for considering him eligible for the Deputy Speaker’s post.
With the nomination of Saluga Pradhan, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has given a clear message that his government is always commitment for the empowerment and development of tribals of the State.
Earlier, the Chief Minister had picked up three tribal leaders – Jagannath Saraka, Sudam Marndi, and Basanti Hembram for ministerial posts.
Jagannath Saraka, who represents Bissamcuttack Assembly Constituency, is the Minister of S.T. & S.C. Development, Minorities & Backward Classes Welfare and Law. Similarly, Sudam Marndi who has been elected from Mayurbhanj constituency to the Assembly, holds two major portfolios in the State Cabinet – School & Mass Education and Revenue & Disaster Management. Basanti Hembram, an MLA from Karanjia, is the Women and Child Development, and Mission Shakti Minister.
Odisha is home to 62 Scheduled Tribe communities, including 13 designated Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) that are primarily rural, with about 95 percent of them living in villages. It has the third-highest tribal population in the country. The tribal communities constitute the lower strata of the informal economy and are at various stages of empowerment and development. Preservation of their unique culture, traditions, and empowerment has always been a priority of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.
The holistic and inclusive development of tribal communities through the participatory and community-driven initiatives of the Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik-led Government has been instrumental in empowering the tribal communities.
Over the last two decades, the Chief Minister has introduced a slew of flagship programmes and schemes to improve the socio-economic status of the tribal communities.
The formation of Special Development Council (SDC) in nine tribal-dominated districts for the protection, conservation and propagation of tribal culture has been a watershed moment in the tribal empowerment. Recently, the State Government has expanded the jurisdiction of the SDC to 23 districts intending to directly touch the lives of 84 lakh indigenous people.
Under the Naveen era, Odisha has been witnessing positive trends in tribal empowerment and development in the State.