Leh (Ladakh): In a bid to give a fillip to the tribal economy in Ladakh, Union minister Arjun Munda and Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik will inaugurate the "Aadi Mahotsav" or the national tribal festival on Saturday (August 17).

Earlier, home minister Amit Shah was supposedly said to be inaugurating the festival, but he could not come as he is pre-occupied.

In a message, Shah said, "I am happy that the Tribal Affairs Ministry is organising Aadi Mahotsav in Leh, Ladakh, which will showcase tribal culture, cuisine, art, craft, and herbal medicines. The event will help spread these in other parts of the country and provide opportunities to tribals for economic growth and prosperity." 

Aimed at scaling up business opportunities for tribals, it is the first such event in Ladakh since the central government announced the decision of making Ladakh a Union Territory. 

Ladakh is currently a part of Jammu and Kashmir, and the new UT will come into effect on October 31.

The nine-day "Aadi Mahotsav", a joint initiative of the ministry of Tribal Affairs and Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India (TRIFED), will be organised at the Polo Ground, Leh, till August 25.

Around 160 tribal artisans from more than 20 states across the country will participate and showcase their craft. 

The major attraction will be the tribal textiles from Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Odisha and West Bengal. Jewellery from Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and the Northeast; Gond and Warli art, metal craft from Chhattisgarh and black pottery from Manipur. 

Managing director of TRIFED Praveer Krishna said the changes in the Union Territory status of Ladakh had provided an opportunity to scale up business opportunities for tribals in Ladakh.

"We will register tribal groups from Ladakh. At present, we have a small number of them empanelled with TRIFED," he said.

Ladakh is known for pashmina shawls and apricots. The idea is to provide tribal cultivators with a big market across the country. Through a collaboration of TRIFED and online marketplace Amazon, these products will be sold in 190 countries across the world, Krishna said.