New Delhi: Congress President Sonia Gandhi accused the Modi government of diluting the land rights of tribals and reducing budgetary allocations for health care and other developmental programmes for them.

Gandhi said the government must adopt the recommendations of the Virginius Xaxa Committee, which was set up to assess the socio-economic status of tribals in the country, without further delay.

The committee was set up by the UPA government in 2013.

The committee recommended changes in law to prevent further alienation of tribals and give them greater control over resources.

In her statement on the occasion of International Day of World’s Indigenous People’, Gandhi said the government’s plan to dilute environmental governance and Tribal Land Rights was a serious threat to the welfare of Adivasis.

“It is also imperative that we work with them to mitigate their challenges and realize their opportunities. It is also important that the medical fraternity and government institutions recognize the unique health care challenges of our tribal population and make appropriate investments in related research and development," Gandhi said.

The Congress chief also lauded the “invaluable" role played by the tribals in the Freedom Movement and in protecting the bio-diversity.

Gandhi said India’s 104 million strong Adivasi people shared a special relationship with the Congress party.

“Tribal welfare and development have been central to the ethos of our party," she said. “Through his Panchsheel for Tribal Development, Pandit Nehru laid the framework for the upholding of Tribal Rights, after our Independence. Since then, every Congress government in the centre and the states have taken numerous pro-tribal initiatives."

Gandhi added that the Congress party remained committed to upholding the rights and dignity of “our Adivasi brothers and sisters", and working zealously for their empowerment.

In another message on the occasion of seventy-third anniversary of the Quit India Movement, Gandhi said the Congress party shall continue to champion the rights of the people and uphold the aspirations of India’s freedom fighters.

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