‘Odisha making significant strides in tribal development’

‘Odisha making significant strides in tribal development’

It was possible due to innovative schemes and special measures, says research institute

Odisha has made significant strides in tribal empowerment and development during the past couple of decades, according to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Research and Training Institute, a premier State-run institute on tribes.

“A comparative analysis between two reference periods such as 2001-02 and 2011-12 in 13 tribal-dominated districts indicates that seven districts have climbed up, two districts have remained constant and four districts have climbed down in their respective rankings,” said SCSTRTI director A.B. Ota here on Thursday.

Mr. Ota said the composite index has been studied based on three broad economic sectors — agriculture, industry and services, via 31 indicators.

Literacy rate

The tribal literacy rate of Odisha was 37.37% with tribal female literacy at 23.37%, but it increased to 52.24% with female literacy at 41.20 % in the 2011 Census. “In order to make the educational indicators better, multipronged strategies have been adopted by the State. Multilingual education teachers have been appointed. Despite geographical barriers, schools have been opened where a certain minimum number of children are there,” he pointed out.

To facilitate good governance, development and conservation of tribal culture, the State government has empowered the statutory Tribal Advisory Council and taken special initiatives like Special Development Councils in the nine most thickly concentrated tribal districts of the State, the research institute noted.

“It has happened because the State implemented innovative schemes and special measures along with other ongoing schemes and programmes of the Centre and the State, and professed a heterogeneous and area-specific planned approach considering real-time indicators of tribal development,” said Mr. Ota, who is a leading researcher on indigenous people.

Odisha has the second highest percentage of tribal population in the country. The State has 62 Scheduled Tribes, of which 13 have been identified as particularly vulnerable groups. The scheduled area of Odisha comprises 13 districts and 119 tribal sub-plan blocks. About 60% of the total tribal population of Odisha lives within the scheduled area and the remaining 40% live outside.

The tribal population is predominantly rural, with about 95% residing in villages. Geographically the major tribal population in the State is distributed in the Northern Plateau and Eastern Ghats falling in the north-western and south-western parts of the State.