Bhubaneswar: The Capacity Building Programme for Tribal Panchyati Raj Institution (PRI) members begins, here on Thursday.

The Odisha chief minister, Naveen Patnaik, union tribal affairs minister Arjun Munda and minister of state Renuka Singh Saruta graced the inaugural ceremony.

Speaking on the occasion, the chief minister said that Odisha is number one State in the country in the implementation of the Forest Right Act by giving titles to more than 4.36 lakh persons dwelling in forest areas.

Stating that the tribal population in Odisha is close to 1 crore, Patnaik said that the State government is taking various steps for socio-economic and education empowerment of tribal community. As many as 6700 hostels and 1731 schools have been established to provide quality education to six lakh students. Mission Suvidya has been initiated to ensure quality standards in all the hostels thereby setting high benchmarks.

“Mission Jeebika has been successful in promoting livelihoods and already about 23,000 tribal households have been covered to provide sustainable economic upliftment.”

The chief minister said, the Special Development Council is playing a critical role in promotion and preservation of tribal culture and heritage.

The SC & ST Development department will take up series of training programmes for over 30,000 scheduled tribe PRI members in a period of six to nine months.