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Lopsided policies of earlier governments have caused tribals to lag behind in development, BJP chief Amit Shah said today, asserting that the time has come for them to attain "self-rule" in its true sense under the Modi government. In a blog, he said the BJP government started a welfare scheme for tribals in 2014 and later brought in a law to ensure that 10 per cent of royalty on the income made from minerals, which are mostly in areas inhabited by scheduled tribes, is spent on developing these places. Over Rs 9,100 crore has been deposited in District Mineral Foundation constituted for this purpose, he said, adding the money will be spent on local area development. In his home state of Gujarat, where the BJP has been in power for over two decades, 14.75 per cent of budget is spent on the development of tribals, who are in considerable numbers in 14 districts, he said. "It is due to the efforts of BJP governments that Gujarat's tribal areas are not behind other regions in any criterion of development," Shah said. Gujarat is going to polls later this year. "Tribals, like the rest of the country, got self-rule in 1947 when the British left, but the time has come for them to attain self-rule in the true sense and the BJP and the Modi government are fully committed in this direction," he said. In this context, Shah mentioned his recent three-day stay in Jharkhand, where he visited the village of tribal legend and freedom fighter Birsa Munda. The BJP government in the state has prepared a programme for all-round development of villages of martyrs, he said.
It is paying tributes to them with its work and not just flowers, he said. Tribals had been left behind in development as they lived in remote areas and also due to apathy of governments which exploited mines and minerals but did not work to develop those places, he said. The previous NDA government under Atal Bihari Vajpayee had formed a ministry for the development of tribals, he noted. The way the Modi government is working, all regions with tribal population, including the Northeast, will have all- round development and they will complete their journey from 'swaraj' (self-rule) to 'suraj' (good governance), he said.
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