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The Uttarakhand government is all set to give scheduled tribe status to the nomadic community of Van Gujjars.The decision to accord scheduled tribe status to Van Gujjars was taken at a meeting chaired by state chief secretary Alok Kumar Jain yesterday.

 A proposal to include Gujjars in the ST category would be forwarded to the Centre after a resolution will be passed in the state Assembly and a concrete programme would be chalked out by the Social Welfare Department for their social and economic development, an official statement said.

 The state government is also planning to initiate several new schemes for the tribe, a move that would give them jobs in the government sector among other privileges.”Several initiatives will be taken to bring the Van Gujjars to the main stream of the society,” an official statement said.

 The Gujjars of Rajaji National Park and Corbett National Park will be rehabilitated in other places and smart cards for their identity will also be made.The smart cards would consist of their finger prints and other personal details so that they could open bank accounts, voters ID cards and ration cards.

 Out of 1,390 Gujjar families from Rajaji National Park, 1,228 had been rehabilitated in Pathri and Gaindi Khata areas in Haridwar district. “Very soon the remaining 162 Gujjar families will also be rehabilitated,” Jain said, adding that 160 acre reserve forest land in Haridwar had been sanctioned for 181 Gujjar families of Corbett National Park.

 Under the rehabilitation process, the tribe will also be provided facilities of electricity, water, hospitals, schools and other basic amenities.

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