Adivasis at bottom rung of India’s development pyramid, finds Tribal Development Report 2022

Source: The post is based on the article “Adivasis at bottom rung of India’s development pyramid, finds Tribal Development Report 2022” published in Down To Earth on 2nd December 2022

What is the News?

Bharat Rural Livelihood Foundation(BRLF) has released the Tribal Development Report 2022. It is claimed to be the first of its kind report since 1947.

Note: BRLF was set up by the Government of India in 2013 as an independent society under the Union Ministry of Rural Development to scale up civil society action in partnership with central and state governments.

What is the Tribal Development Report 2022?

The report focuses on the status of tribal communities at an all-India level and central India in particular.

Note: Central India is home to 80% of the tribal communities in the country.

What are the key findings of the report?

Tribal Population: India’s tribal communities form 8.6% of the country’s population according to the 2011 Census.

– Of the 257 Scheduled Tribe districts, 230 (90%) are either forested or hilly or dry. But they account for 80% of India’s tribal population.

Tribals most deprived: Tribals are at the bottom of the country’s development pyramid even after 75 years of independence.

Be it sanitation, education, nutrition, or access to drinking water and education, despite 70 years of independence, they are the most deprived.

Reason for deprivation: Tribal areas are areas that have faced a lot of disturbance and conflict. This is one of the reasons why many government welfare schemes and policies are unable to take off in these areas.

Tribal rights and environment: During British colonial rule, the bond between Adivasis and their relation of symbiosis with their immediate environment was ruptured.

– After the enactment of the Forest Conservation Act in 1980, the conflict came to be seen as between environmental protection and the needs of local Adivasi communities, driving a wedge between people and forests.

– It was in the National Forest Policy of 1988 that domestic requirements of local people were explicitly recognised for the very first time.

– The Policy emphasized safeguarding their customary rights and closely associating Adivasis in the protection of forests. But the movement towards a people-oriented perspective has not been matched by reality on the ground.

What is the way forward suggested by the report?

It is important to understand the special characteristics of tribal communities to frame policies for them.

There are many tribal communities that prefer isolation and silence. They are shy and are not going to reach out to the outside world on their own. 

Hence, policymakers and leaders of the country need to understand this trait and then work towards the welfare of Adivasis so that they connect with them in a better way.

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