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Indian Journal of Spatial Science Vol - 3.0 No.

2 Winter Issue 2012 pp26 - 34

Indian Journal of Spatial Science


EISSN: 2249 4316 ISSN: 2249 3921
journal homepage: www.indiansss.org

Socio-economic Status of Scheduled Tribes in Jharkhand


Dr. Debjani Roy
Head: Department of Geography, Nirmala College, Ranchi University, Ranchi

ARTICLE INFO

ABSTRACT

Article History:

Any tribe or tribal community or part of or group within any tribe or tribal

Received on:
2 May 2012
Accepted in revised form on:
9 September 2012
Available online on and from:
13 October 2012

community as deemed under Article 342 is Scheduled Tribe for the purpose of the

Keywords:
Scheduled Tribe
Demographic Profile
Productivity
Deprivation
Level of Poverty

Indian Constitution. Like others, tribal society is not quite static, but dynamic;
however, the rate of change in tribal societies is rather slow. That is why they have
remained relatively poor and backward compared to others; hence, attempts have
been made by the Government to develop them since independence. Still, even
after so many years of numerous attempts the condition of tribals in Jharkhand
presents one of deprivation rather than development. The 2011 Human
Development Report argues that the urgent global challenges of sustainability and
equity must be addressed together and identifies policies on the national and
global level that could spur mutually reinforcing progress towards these
interlinked goals. Bold action is needed on both fronts for the sustained progress
in human development for the benefit of future generations as well as for those
living today. All these have been addressed in the present article.
Published by IJSS

Introduction
Jharkhand, the 28th state of India was carved out

The state was formed with eighteen

of the southern part of Bihar state on 15th Nov

districts eleven years ago and even after several

2000.The state is bordered by Bihar in the north,

promises and assurances for betterment the

Uttar Pradesh and Chattisgarh in the west, Orissa

situation in the state is depressing because of

in the south and West Bengal in the east.

multiplication of negative aspects of development.

Jharkhand was brought into existence by the

According to the 2001 Census total population of

Bihar reorganization Act on November15, 2000.

the state is 2.69 crore where the share of tribal

The state is famous for its rich mineral resources

population is 26.30%.

and forests which occupy more than 29% of the

Jharkhand

contributes

8.4%

ST

states area. In fact, Jharkhand is a state always

population to the total ST population of the

known in the country for its resources, distinct

country. The major concentration of tribal

culture as well as various forms of deprivation and

population is in the six districts of Ranchi,

exploitation.

Lohardaga, Gumla, West Singhbhum, Dumka and

Indian Journal of Spatial Science Vol - 3.0 No. 2 Winter Issue 2012 pp26 - 34

Pakur where more than 40% of tribal population

the states tribal population include Karmali,

of Jharkhand resides (Fig. 1).

Gond, Chick Baraik, Generic tribes, Kisan, Sauria


Paharia, Korwa, Kora, Paharia, Binjhia, Asur and
Birhor. The most marginalized tribes with less

Rationale

than 0.01% are Savar, Birjia, Gorait, Baiga,

The state is at a very slow pace of development in

Bathudi, Banjara and Khond (Fig.2).

relation to its potential and expectations. As per

Among the districts Gumla, Lohardaga

the 2001 census 46.2% of the population is below

and West Singhbhum account for more than 50%

the poverty line (some estimates put it at

tribal population. Certain tribes have been under

54%).The incidence of poverty is higher than

special scrutiny on the basis of their levels of

Bihar whose per capita income is around half of

primitiveness, backwardness and extincting status

that of Jharkhand. The state has one of the richest

like the Asur, Paharia, Sabar, Birhor, Birjia,

mineral reserves yet there is vast social and

Korwa, Mal Pahariya and Sauriya Paharia. Eight

regional disparity. It is a paradoxical situation of a

out of the thirty odd tribes of Jharkhand fall

primitive and marginalized society on the verge of

under Primitive Tribal Group (PTG). They are

extinction juxtaposed with the modern western

Asur, Birhor, Birajia, Korwa, Savar, Pahariya

world. The per capita income of the state is

(Baiga), Mal Pahariya and Souriya Pahariya.

approximately Rs.15000 which is almost equal to

Together they constitute 2.73 lakhs (2001) which

that of other states where incidence of poverty is

is a very nominal part of the total tribal

much lower. Since the state has a large tribal

population. According to the reports by the health

population it is quite obvious that they are the

department Birhor, Birajia, Baiga and Souriya

most deprived section of the society.

Pahariya are declining.


Though the population size is statistically

Objectives

not significant for the analysis of individual tribe

This paper is a modest endeavour to examine the

especially the communities with very small size of

deprived and marginalized communities in the

population, it is inevitable to examine their level

state of Jharkhand with respect to development.

of development for proper intervention and

With the help of Census and other related data the

development action plan in terms of human

paper seeks to examine the economic status of

development indicators. The sex ratio of the STs

one third of the total population of Jharkhand

in the state is 987 and Binjhia, Kharia and

with regard to the basic attributes of poverty,

Karmali have sex ratio more than 1000. Most of

education and work participation.

the other mentioned tribes have very poor sex


ratio especially the Khonds and the Banjaras.

Demographic Profile of the STs

However this is not a good measure for any

There are 32 tribes (2011) in Jharkhand of which

estimation due to very small population of some

Santhals are most numerous accounting for one

tribes and also the high degree of male migration

third of the total tribal population followed by

amongst certain tribes.

Oraon, Munda and Ho contributing more than


10% to the total tribal population. Other tribes

Levels of Poverty

such as Kharwar, Lohra, Bhumij and Kharia have

Scheduled Tribes have been known for their high

a share of less than 3% each while Mahli, Mal

level of poverty and deprivation. When compared

pahariya, Bedia and Chero have share of 1-2%

to the rest of India poverty level seems to be

each. The tribes with less than 1% contribution to

higher incase of Jharkhand as per the following

27

Indian Journal of Spatial Science Vol - 3.0 No. 2 Winter Issue 2012 pp26 34

data (Table 1).

Poverty is generally found to be

labour. According to the NSS-55th round Schedule

high in regions of ST concentration (Table 2). This

10 the poverty head count varies from 85% in

is further reiterated by the fact that Santhal

Pakur to 80% in Deogarh, 77% in Dumka, 74% in

Pargana and Palamu have shown exceptionally

Palamu, to 54-55% in Lohardaga and East

high levels of poverty. Not only are these regions

Singhbhum,

drought prone but they also have a long history of

Hazaribagh.

to

20-21%

in

Dhanbad

and

feudal system with exploitation and bonded

Population Share of Tribes, 2001


10.86
2.31
2.5
6
2.61

34.01

2.71

10.51

14.81
19.62

Fig.1: Location Map

Fig.2

Table 1: Per capita Income on 31.01.2008 (Constant Prices at 1999-00)


Year

Highest ranking state

Jharkhand

Lowest ranking state

Punjab

Bihar

2001-02

25994

10360

5972

2002-03

26065

10571

6634

2003-04

26955

11144

6158

2004-05

28119

14343

6771

2005-06

29887

14990

6610

Source: Directorate for Economics and Statistics of respective State Govt and Central Statistical Organisation

Table 2: Poverty Rates by Social Groups for Rural Jharkhand (2004-05)

State

ST(%)

SC(%)

OBC(%)

OTHERS(%)

ALL(%)

Jharkhand

54

58

40

36.9

46.2

All-India

45

37

25.8

17.5

28.1

Source: Directorate for Economics and Statistics of respective State Govt and Central Statistical Organisation

28

Indian Journal of Spatial Science Vol - 3.0 No. 2 Winter Issue 2012 pp26 - 34

Over the years poverty has declined in the state

only 12.59% literacy rate followed by Korwa,

albeit at a slow rate. The following graph reflects

Baiga, Birhor and Savar. Other tribes too have

the quantification of poverty in Jharkhand (Fig.3)

literacy rate varying between 20-40%. Literacy


rate is the highest amongst the Khond, Oraon,
Kharia and Chick Baraik i.e above50%.These
tribes show higher female literacy too. In terms of
female literacy almost all communities are
deprived with only 27.21% literacy. The poorest
amongst the poor are the Pahariya and Korwa
with only 5.47% and 6.45% literacy rate followed
closely by Baiga, Savar, Birhor, Sauriya Pahariya,
Mal Pahariya, Banjara, Kharwar and Asur having
female literacy below 15%.
It is also noticeable that the higher
percentage of literates having education level
below

Fig. 3

Higher secondary education. This implies that


there is a high dropout rate amongst the Birhors.

met without getting tribal children especially girls

The percentage of graduates amongst the Birhor

educated. Amartya Sens argument for faster

is also the lowest only 0.19%. Hence it can be

development of India has been to repeatedly

concluded that educational deprivation is the

stress the criticality of primary education. Years

highest amongst the Birhors.

of planning, budgetary allocation of funds and

Since deprivation is larger amongst minor

numerous schemes have not been able to provide

communities, it is absolutely essential to free

the basics to education to the tribal population of

them from poverty, illiteracy and darkness of

Jharkhand. Tribal children are trapped in an


cycle

of

ignorance. The following section reveals the

poverty,

quantified level of their deprivation. So the most

illiteracy and deprivation due to their primitive


and

thus

and

lowest percentage 0.47% pursuing intermediate or

The Millenium Development Goals cannot be

nature

marginalized

interesting to note that the Birhors have the

the success of democratic system of governance.

(shy)

to

Pahariya, Banjara, Chero, Birhor Baiga etc. It is

Literacy is one of the most basic parameters for

vicious

goes

underdeveloped tribes like the Korwa, Khond, Mal

Status of Education

intergenerational

primary

solated

from

deprived tribes that are to be focused are the

the

Paharia, Korwa, Baiga, Birhor , not forgetting the

mainstream of life and other strata of the society.

Santhals which account for one third of the total

The average literacy rate is 54.13% in

tribal population of Jharkhand. Percentage of

Jharkhand though amongst tribals it is as low as


40.7% and 10% amongst women (Table 3).

school going children in the age group 5-14 years

Though the literacy rate increased from 27.5%

was the highest amongst Oraon (55%) followed by

(1991) to 40.7% (2001) it is much lower than the

Kharia (53%), Munda (50.1%), Bhumij (46.6%)

national level of 47.1%.

and Lohra (44.1%).

This is particularly

evident amongst the Santhal, Bhumij, Ho, Lohra

College going students account for only

and Kharwa which are numerically the larger

5.23% of the total students/trainees of Jharkhand.

tribes. In general, tribes have low literacy rate but

The census data 2001 also reveals of only 15.90%

Pahariya is the most deprived community with

total

29

tribal

population

attend

educational

Indian Journal of Spatial Science Vol - 3.0 No. 2 Winter Issue 2012 pp26 - 34

institutions out of which 94% go to school

even fishing and hunting. Thus work participation

meaning thereby an unexpected drop out after

of tribal women in rural areas is more as womens

schooling. It is therefore necessary to provide

work is regarded as crucial for survival of tribal

incentives and protection to encourage more

households.
Work participation is more in rural areas

students to attend school as well as skill oriented

than urban maybe because of large engagements

training at vocational centres.

in agriculture and allied activities of rural

Dimension of Livelihood of the STs


(Adivasi)

population

Since deprivation is much larger among some of

unemployment also due to engagements in longer

the minor communities who are under severe

education sector of more population. Very large

threat of survival, it is inevitable to examine the

rural-urban differences are found among Binjhia,

extent of their deprivation in livelihood also. In

Asur and Birjia, Sauria Paharia, Kharia, Gond and

this case the examination has been done through

Banjara. The gaps have come down for the

work participation in various sectors. About little

communities of Bhumij, Mal Paharia, Karmali,

less than half of the tribal population constitutes

Generic Tribes, Chero, Kora Birhor and Khond

to be the working population (Fig. 4).

where Birhor and Khond have very small

indicating

unemployment.

The deprived communities also follow

Urban

the
area

disguised

reflects

more

difference.

suit. Relatively lower work participation has been

The communities with lower gaps and low

noticed among the communities of Karmali,

level

Khond, Chero and Kora. The inferences are that

opportunities in both urban and rural labour

more than half population are either engaged with

market or economic avenues. It is revealed that

some other activities like study, some are in the

only 59.43% workers get the work for at least six

non-working age-groups or do not have work

months in a year. This share goes down to 41.03%

opportunity despite seeking work, which goes very

in

high among females of urban areas though it is

opportunities/participation in the rural areas by

also considerable among urban males.

them. There is a very large difference among

In rural areas, livelihood system is


primarily

dependent

on

combinations

of

case

work

of

participation

females

largely

reflect

due

to

less

poor

various communities as far as the engagement in

of

main work (work for more than 180 days in a

agriculture, forestry and laboring. Due to very

year) is concerned. For example 92.74% total

small holding and very low productivity of land,

workers among Banjara have been recorded as

most households eke out a living by maintaining a

main workers followed by Khond with 80.82%

diversified pattern of occupations. There is

main workers.

however small artisan communities of tribals who

Most of the communities have reported to

lend out their services or engage in small scale

have more than 60% main workers. The lower

processing and marketing.

share of main workers is found among Savar,

Womens work is critical for tribal

Bhumij and Bathudi (Fig. 5). The share of main

households both in terms of provisioning food

workers is larger in urban areas than in rural area

and income as well as management of resources.

except among Banjara and Paharia. The gap is as

Amongst the PTGs such as Birhors, Pahari Korwa

large as 51.1 percentage points for Bathudi

and Sawar women play an important role on food

followed by Baiga with 45.98 percentage points. It

gathering, rope making, honey collecting, herbal

reflects that the tribals who reside in urban areas

medicinal plant collection, basket making, and

permanently or for the want of employment have

30

Indian Journal of Spatial Science Vol - 3.0 No. 2 Winter Issue 2012 pp26 - 34

better employment opportunities at least for six

six months in a year. Exceptions are there for

months a year. In the rural areas agriculture,

whatever reasons among Banjara and Paharia

allied activities and their traditional occupation

communities who find main work in rural areas

do not provide the employment even for at least

than

their

urban

counterparts.

Table 3: Literacy rate of STs in Jharkhand, 2001


Communities
Khond
Oraon
Kharia
Chic Baraik
Munda
Gorait
Karmali
Gond
Generic Tribes
Bhumij
Chero
Ho
Lohra
Binjhia
Bedia
Mahli

Rate (>40.67%)
60.76
52.46
51.01
48.93
47.91
45.86
44.02
43.68
42.48
41.51
40.17
39.16
38.94
38.78
37.89
36.43

Communities

Rate (<40.67%)

Kora
Santhal
Bathudi
Birjia
Kharwar
Asur
Kisan
Banjara
Sauria Paharia
Mal Paharia
Savar
Birhor
Baiga
Korwa
Paharia

Source: Directorate for Economics and Statistics of respective State Govt and Central Statistical Organisation

Fig. 4: Work Participation among Tribals, 2001

31

35.05
33.42
33.26
31.22
29.60
29.10
29.08
23.47
21.70
20.90
18.06
17.55
17.34
14.29
12.59

Indian Journal of Spatial Science Vol - 3.0 No. 2 Winter Issue 2012 pp26 - 34

Fig. 5: Percentage of Worker and Main Workers among STs in Jharkhand, 2001
Table 4: Occupational Pattern of Tribes, Jharkhand, 2001
Community
Asur
Baiga
Banjara
Bathudi
Bedia
Binjhia
Birhor
Birjia
Bhumij
Chero
Chik Baraik
Gond
Gorait
Ho
Karmali
Kharia
Kharwar
Khond
Kisan
Kora
Korwa
Lohra
Mahli
Mal Paharia
Munda
Oraon
Pahariya
Santhal
Saura Paharia
Savar
Generic Trib

Cultivators
76.21
47.28
40.96
9.83
66.05
86.59
10.34
53.75
45.68
53.85
67.43
62.43
32.16
59.99
23.13
78.62
67.02
1.69
76.37
29.38
41.38
32.37
15.46
47.54
73.40
69.61
33.80
58.86
63.63
2.72
42.81

Agri.
Labourers
5.22
36.10
42.17
78.98
12.45
5.86
19.42
24.72
29.93
29.09
13.44
14.53
26.39
18.98
19.48
11.19
23.63
0
13.26
33.62
44.03
20.03
8.56
32.91
10.43
10.30
36.68
24.73
18.29
60.76
17.29

HH Industry
1.28
2.94
3.61
0.68
1.17
0.66
39.55
15.36
1.81
1.78
1.95
3.37
2.74
3.19
11.23
0.83
0.87
1.69
0.94
4.11
4.41
18.82
59.90
2.40
1.21
0.84
17.00
0.98
0.38
5.77
5.39

Others
17.29
14.68
13.25
10.51
20.33
6.89
30.69
6.18
22.57
15.29
17.17
19.68
38.71
17.84
46.16
9.36
8.48
96.61
9.45
32.89
10.19
28.77
16.08
17.15
14.96
19.26
12.52
15.42
18.69
30.75
34.72

Source: Directorate for Economics and Statistics of respective State Govt and Central Statistical Organisation

32

Primary
Sector
81.43
82.38
83.13
88.81
78.50
92.44
29.76
78.46
75.61
82.94
80.88
76.96
58.55
78.98
42.61
89.81
90.65
1.69
89.62
63.00
85.41
52.40
24.02
80.45
83.83
79.90
70.48
83.59
80.92
63.48
60.10

Indian Journal of Spatial Science Vol - 3.0 No. 2 Winter Issue 2012 pp26 - 34

The industrial category of main workers

The data for population seeking job or

of each community reflects that almost all Khond

disguised unemployment by various educational

workers are engaged in non-primary sectors.

level will reveal the job requirement in various

Similarly Mahli and Birhor have also very high

sectors to some extent. In 1991 11.01 and 6.3%

level of work participation in non-primary sectors

workers among STs were engaged and cultivators

with more than 70% main workers. Industrial

and agricultural labour under Bihar regime. It

break up reveals that Savars and Bathudi are

appears that the agriculture and allied activities

primarily engaged as agricultural labour with

need to be strengthened to support the population

78.98% and 60.76% main workers, which is a

along with diversification of economic activities

serious matter of concern.

for the absorption of qualified, skilled and non-

The other communities like Banjara,


Parhaiya, Baiga, Kora, Mal Pahariya, Bhumij,

skilled labour force among these communities and


for the overall growth and development.

Chero and Gorait also needs attention for their


high percentage of main workers as agricultural

Conclusion

labourers. It is evident that the communities like

The identification of individual tribal community

Khond and Savars have the lowest share of

as well as district or pockets need to be identified

cultivators may be because of landlessness. Birhor

based on each indicator of deprivation for proper

and Bethudi may also be kept in the same group.

intervention because the type and nature of

Participation in household industries is in

deprivations are different among different tribes

general low (3.21% for all tribal communities).

and in different districts. Even if the districts are

However,

high

developed due to mining and industry for

participation due to their traditional craft works

example, some specific communities are deprived

distantly followed by Lohra, Paharia, Birjia and

in some form or other. These districts may be

Karmali among which Lohra is the tribal artisan

considered as priority districts for each tribe

community. Khonds have been engaged in other

based on the above criteria. Further, prioritization

works mainly tertiary kind of occupation with

of district may be done for individual tribe as

96.6%

other

given and within the district the primary survey

communities also with good share of workers in

will be helpful to identify the pockets in the blocks

other sector. The nature of other works however is

and villages for the area and community specific

not known whether it is highly skilled services or

action plan generation and implementation at

petty jobs.

micro level.

Mahli

workers.

and

There

Birhor

are

have

some

The other side is a very low participation


of main workers of various communities in the
other sectors, which demands of diversification of

References
Jharkhand-Data

Highlights:

The share of marginal workers also reflects some

Scheduled

(2001),

socio-economic realities where more than 90 per

Registrar General, India

economy and creation of jobs in various sectors.

cent marginal workers are engaged in primary

1.

Tribes

The

Office

of

2. Kundu, M (1990): Tribal Education in

sector only. The critical occupation is the high

India-Some Problems (pp246-254) in B.

percentage of agricultural labour. It includes

Chaudhuri (ed) Education and Literacy

those also who are marginal farmers with very

Programmes Delhi, Mittal Publication.

small land holding sizes or have land mostly less


productive or unproductive.

3. Pratham
Education

(2007):
Report

Annual

Status

(Retrieved

on

of
14

Indian Journal of Spatial Science Vol - 3.0 No. 2 Winter Issue 2012 pp26 - 34

August

2008

from

4. PROBE

http://w.w.w.pratham.org/aserrep.php

(1999):

Report

on

Basic

Education in India, New Delhi, Oxford


University Press

Dr. Debjani Roy


Head, Department of Geography, Nirmala College, Ranchi University, Ranchi.
Email: debjani65@yahoo.co.uk

34