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Of 85 lakh tribals, not one up for Pune’s tribal centre

Monday, 7 April 2014 - 7:02am IST | Place: Pune | Agency: dna

Pune: Here’s an example of a big plan that went horribly wrong. 
Of the 85 lakh tribals in the state (figures as per the last census data), not even 15 are interested to come to the Pune-based Tribal Research and Training Institute for a course that could help improve their financial condition.
The course, which was started amidst much fanfare with the nobel mission of preserving tribal community’s arts and improving their economic conditions is now staring at a gloomy future. 
Merely four months after its inception, the course is struggling to get tribals to enroll themselves. The course imparts special training on making tribal arts such as Warli paintings, paper masks and bamboo products more commercially viable and suitable to newer markets. 
However, after the first batch of 15 tribals completed the two-month long course, the centre struggled to get even a dozen people for their second batch. The reason – the remuneration paid is so less, that even the tribals are refusing to leave their families struggling for daily expenses while they learn in these hallowed halls.
The centre pays Rs200 per day to tribals undertaking the course and provides lodging. All other expenses including food and travel are expected to be borne by programme participants, apart from their own household expenses.
In December 2013, TRTI which is the first training centre in the state for tribal arts completed its golden jubilee, and was inaugurated by President Pranab Mukherjee. 
Interestingly, he had at the function said, “As we have to learn from the tribal society, we also have a duty to empower rural and tribal communities and contribute to the guiding spirit of the Indian Constitution.”

Speaking to dna, Santosh Nanaware, a museum curator of the centre, said, “In our first batch, we received a good response as 15 people attended the training session. However, we do not have a single person to train in the second batch as people say that they cannot afford to spend money on food and manage house expenses simultaneously.” 
He added, “According to them, they are the breadwinner of their house and have responsibility to look after other family members. And thus they cannot stay here.” 
On being asked how the centre will get the students in future, Nanaware said, “We have sent new proposal to the government where we have demanded that attending persons should be given meals and Rs300 remuneration along with accommodation.” The other reason for the low appeal for the course could be that most of the tribal communities stay in Nandurbar, Gadchiroli, Nashik, Thane and other parts of the state. 
As a result, it is not easy for them to come here for training at Pune. 
“The government is planning to start a new training centre in tribal districts as well,” added Nanaware.

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