by Md Tabrez Alam & Achchhe Lal Prajapati

 COVID Cartoon

ABSTRACT

Jharkhand is a state rich in natural resources consisting of plateaus, small hills and forests located in the eastern part of India. Despite being a prosperous state, it faces challenges such as malnutrition, hunger, unemployment, illiteracy, corruption, poor health services and controversial politics. Even though Jharkhand is considered one of the wealthiest states in India, most of the people here are poor. Because the state’s indigenous people are continuously suffering in the name of industrial development, they are being forced to migrate from their Jal, Jungle, and Zameen. Their means of livelihood are being disrupted, and they are being denied social, economic, educational and political rights. Due to the above problems, the marginalized people face twofold challenges at the socio-economic level. Recently, Covid 19 hit these marginalized groups so severely that they do not have enough resources to survive their daily lives.

DEMOGRAPHIC PROFILE

India is the second-most populous country in the world. According to the 2011 census, the total population of India was 121.08 crores. Is. At the same time, the population of Jharkhand is 3.29 crores out of the total population of India. According to the 2011 census, 67.83% Hindus, 14.53% Muslims, 4.30% Christians, 0.22% Sikhs, 0.21% no religion, 0.08% Jains and Buddhists, and 12.84% other religions live in Jharkhand on religious grounds. About 75 lakh tribal populations of 32 tribal groups reside here. Out of which eight tribal groups, Asur, Birhor, Birjia, Korwa, Mal Paharia, Parahiya, Sauria Paharia, and Savar, have been identified as “Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups” (PVTGs). Whose population is about 2.92 lakhs & it is about 1% of the state’s population. As of the 2011 India census, Palamu has a population of 1,939,869. Palamu constitutes sixth place among 24 districts of Jharkhand. Scheduled Castes (27.65%) and Scheduled Tribes (9.34%) make up 36.99% of the population. The religious population of the district, as per the 2011 census, is 86.77 % Hindu and 12.28 % Muslim. Linguistically in Palamu, 65.49% of the population speaks Hindi, 24.44% Magahi and 6.87% Urdu. The total literacy rate of the district is 65.5%. Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) are one of the most marginalized and excluded tribes in Jharkhand. Their population is significantly less.

The situation is more or less the same as that of Palamu, a district located in the north-west part of Jharkhand. PVTGs derive their livelihood from forests and land resources. They are of primit ive and archaic nature. Their literacy level is shallow, and they suffer from poor health conditions. During field observation, it has been observed that they are deprived of formal education, housing, health, transport and drinking water. PVTGs have not become a part of the mainstream economy because their traditions, cultures, beliefs and practices are all tied to nature, from which they derive everything, so they respect nature outside, which reflects their strong legacy of respecting the natural world. The socio-economic condition of PVTGs in the district is pathetic, and this can be analyzed from their standard of living and struggles in daily life. This research paper is based on field visits and interactions with PVTGs residents in the Palamu district. In this, an attempt has been made to find out the post-pandemic status of PVTG families.

They were initially identified as Primitive Tribal Groups (PTGs). These were later named Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs). These communities have not yet achieved socio-economic development even in the race of contemporary developed society and, for various reasons, live segregated in settlements without infrastructure due to a lack of administrative support. However, these communities benefit from some schemes run by the government like Dakiya Yojna, Tribal Pension Scheme, Awas Yojna etc. The first step in the significant issues of PVTGs is to give them legal recognition, and the Dhebar Commission took this step in 1961. Again in 1969, the Shilu AO team realized the need for separate central schemes for all-round development and upliftment of PVTG. It was also necessary to lay down some guidelines for characterizing PVTGs. After the workshops and conferences organized on the primitive tribal communities, some guidelines were decided in 1975. The Center has been assisting them with their planned development since the 5th Five Year Plan.

POST-COVID IMPACT

The impact of the pandemic crisis has gradually started affecting the largely poor and marginalized communities of the society socio-economically. Corona has deeply affected the income standards of rural or remote areas. The pandemic has badly affected the functioning of many industrial units and construction sites. As a result majority of the people have become unemployed. The skilled workers employed there are compelled to work as unskilled labour. In this way, Corona has made a double attack on the people. Since PVTG is already working as unskilled labour, it has become even more difficult for the tribal community to find work when the mainstream majority is forced to work as unskilled labour. Special attention is needed for their employment generation.

GOVERNMENT MESURES

Several schemes have been implemented by the State and Central Governments for the economic development of Primitive Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs). In which emphasis has been laid on the development of infrastructure. They are providing funds for activities such as housing, land distribution, land development, agricultural development, animal husbandry, and establishment of non-traditional sources of livelihood, energy, and social security, including Janashree Bima Yojana or comprehensive socio-economic development of PVTGs. Particular Preference is assigned to PVTGs under Special Central Assistance (SCA) schemes to the Tribal Sub-Scheme (TSS), as per Article 275(1) of the Constitution, and Grants-in-aid to Voluntary Organizations working for the development of Scheduled Tribes. Asper guidelines, each state/territories administration needs to prepare an extensive Conservation-cum-Development (CCD) plan, around five years for each PVTG within their territory. Outlining the initiatives would cover financial planning and the agencies charged with the responsibility of undertaking the plan. The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act 2006 (FRA) provide the forest and habitat rights of the PVTGs families.

For the protection and conservation of Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs), the Jharkhand government has also started many new schemes. Under which basic facilities are being made available to the families of the primitive tribes through the Primitive Tribes Food Scheme (Postman Scheme), Birsa Munda Awas Yojana, Birsa Pension Scheme etc. One of those schemes is the Postman Scheme. Prior to this scheme, PVTGS families had to make rounds of the PDS dealer’s shop to get ration. But through this scheme, free food grains are being delivered regularly to their homes every month. However, the plan is facing several challenges at the ground level. With the participation of various stakeholders, these problems can be reduced, which will help achieve the mission objective.

Concluding Remark

Corona has shaken the whole world mentally and economically weak and socially isolated. Although the entire world is now recovering from Corona, marginalized communities still struggle to live everyday lives. However, conditions are still not normal for the most vulnerable marginalized people. In that too, especially the vulnerable tribal group (PVTG) families face many problems like struggling to get a job. As social and economic activities are returning to normal in the state of Jharkhand, now marginalized people also started moving to find their means of livelihood. However, the hesitancy among PVTGs is still high that needs special attention from government and non-government agencies for their upliftment. PVTGs have a seamless relationship with their land and habitat and are linked to Jal, Jungle, and Zameen. Therefore, protecting their water, forest and land should be at the heart of any policy formulation or development initiative related to PVTGs. Otherwise, all development initiatives may cause their downfall instead of their rise, as seen in respect of tribes like Shompens and Jarawa of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Abhuj Maria of Chhattisgarh etc. These tribes are on the verge of extinction today; thus, PVTGs need special and undivided attention to prioritize their protection and support. Fragile living conditions; Prevailing socio-economic vulnerability and declining numbers.

About Authors

MD Tabrez Alam, Doctoral Scholar @ Indian Institute of Dalit Studies, New Delhi. As a researcher, the quest for knowledge begins from the fieldwork. Currently, he is working on Urban inequality and housing segregations in newly developed township India.

For more info

ktabrezshams@gmail.com
Follow @ktabrezshams

 

Achchhe Lal Prajapati MA in Geography from BHU and now teaches Geography at RK +2 High School Harinamar, Chainpur & currently associated with District Covid Control Room Palamu, Jharkhand.

Email: alprajapatibhu@gmail.com

Follow @ACHCHHE28206718

 


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