Guwahati, Sep 12 (PTI) Four hundred 'Van Dhan Vikas Kendras' will be set up in Assam to focus on livelihood creation for the tribal population in Assam, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Sunday.

A typical 'Van Dhan Vikas Kendra' includes 20 tribal members and 15 such 'Van Dhan Vikas Kendras' form one 'Van Dhan Vikas Kendra' cluster.

'Van Dhan Vikas Kendra' clusters provide economies of scale, livelihood, and market linkages, as well as entrepreneurship opportunities to the kendras.

After a meeting with Union Tribal Affairs Minister Arjun Munda here, Sarma tweeted “Glad that @VanDhanSeVikas will set up 400 Van Dhan Vikas Kendras to promote tribal art & craft, providing livelihood impetus to our tribal population.” The chief minister further said the Central government has also decided to set up seven more Ekalavya Vidyalayas as well as five Tribal Food Parks, TRIFOOD, in the state.

Talking to reporters after the meeting, Munda said his two-day visit which began Sunday is intended to review the progress of the tribal areas and the schemes implemented for the development of the tribal population of the state and the North East region, an official statement said.

“Van Dhan Kendras can be a game-changer for promoting tribal livelihoods and enterprises in Assam while Ekalavya Vidyalayas will impart uniform and high-quality education to tribal children,” the statement quoted him as saying.

The chief minister had met a TRIFED team in New Delhi in August to chalk out plans for expanding tribal development in the state and defining the steps for the way forward. These plans were also discussed during this meeting.

“There should be a development programme through which the entire Northeast region can progress. It has to be in a way that the entire region can be presented as a development model. The gateway to Northeast is Assam and this is a very important state,” Munda said.

He further said his ministry is trying to add value to the existing traditional system and lifestyle of the tribal people and taking the artisans and their work to the national and global levels.

The Tribal Affairs Ministry has awarded the Van Dhan National Award 2021-22 to TRISSAM of Assam in the category of Collaborative Initiative for co-branding in Van Dhan Yojana, which was formally presented by the Union minister to the chief minister at the meeting.

Assam has a substantial tribal population, with 3,308,570 forest dwellers who constitute 12.4 per cent of the total population, the statement added.