Tribal poverty in India

The World Bank early this year released a note about the incidence of Tribal (Adivasi) Poverty in India. The brief note is authored by Maitreyi Bordia Das, Gillette Hall, Soumya Kapoor, and Denis Nikitin. It can be downloaded at the link below :

Tribal poverty in India

Download World Bank Note on Tribal Poverty in India

Tribal Poverty in India 2011-pdf-2-pages-1MB


India is widely considered a success story in terms of growth and poverty reduction. In just over two decades, national poverty rates have fallen by more than 20 percentage points, from 45.6 percent in 1983 to 27.5 percent in 2004-05. However, it is widely acknowledged that growth has not touched everyone equitably and that many groups are left behind amid improving living standards. Among them are tribal groups identified by the constitution as scheduled tribes, though their self-preferred term is Adivasi (literally ‘original inhabitants’).


Comprising about 8 percent of India’s population, they account for a fourth of the population living in the poorest wealth decile. The starkest marker of tribal deprivation is child mortality. Under-five mortality rates among tribal children in rural areas remain startlingly high (at about 100 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2005 compared with 82 among all children). Unlike other excluded groups in India, such as scheduled castes, tribal groups do not face any ritually endorsed exclusion say, in the form of untouchability.

Instead, they lag behind in the development process because of their physical location, practicing mostly subsistence hill cultivation and collecting minor forest produce.

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