Principal Investigators: Dr. Ajay Kumar Tannirkulam
Research Team: Deepti Kc and Samik Adhikari
Focus Area: Livelihoods
Project Geography: Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan & West Bengal
Partner: PRADAN
Status: Completed


In partnership with the leading non-government organisation PRADAN, we conducted a socioeconomic assessment of rural regions in seven districts across five Indian states, which include Chhattisgarh (Bastar, Kanker), Madhya Pradesh (Shahdol, Mandla), Odisha (Koraput), Rajasthan (Abu Road) and West Bengal (Midnapur). More than 80% of the population from all these districts reside in rural areas, predominantly inhabited by socially and economically weaker sections of the community, especially by the ST/SCs and other minor communities. In the year 2006, the Ministry of Panchayat Raj included all the seven districts mentioned above among the country’s 250 most backward districts (out of a total of 640).All these districts curently receive funds from the centrally sponsored scheme called Backward Regions Grant Fund Programme (BRGF). Additionally, four districts Bastar, Kanker, Midnapur and Koraput also come under the 83 districts that are covered under the Security Related Expenditure scheme because of their violence profile due to Naxalite movement. This research studyassessedthe prevailing socioeconomic conditions at the study sites by collecting baseline data on the economic conditions of inhabitants;their community structure and infrastructure; demographic conditions; livelihood strategies of tribal inhabitants; and howgender equality, gender roles and gender relations affect women’s role in economic development programme.

Our study revealed that almost all households were engaged in primitive agricultural practices.However, only one in three farmers reported of income generating from selling crops. Inhabitants were also earning limited income from selling wood, leaves and other forest produce. We also found that there waslow participation in non-farm enterprises; and almost all households were engaged in labour jobs in unorganized markets. In particular, the study found women to be in gravely affected by the prevalent social and economic structure. They had no decision making autonomy in matters related to agriculture despite their active engagement in farming; they faced restrictions in mobility; and furthermore, there was a significant gender-wise wage disparity wherewomen received less than the government’s standard minimum wage.

Related Resources:
WORKING PAPER – Socio-Economic and Gender Analysis of Tribal Populations in India
PROJECT SUMMARY – Livelihoods research translating research into policy and practice
JOURNAL 1 – Missing links between financial empowerment and gender based abuses
JOURNAL 2 – Engaging Self Help Groups (SHGs) in health-related awareness programs
JOURNAL 3 – Why is poverty different for men and women?
JOURNAL 4 – The staff behind the story- Power of grassroots staff in achieving India’s development goals
JOURNAL 5 – Why do business owners still prefer cash transactions