TRIBAL LIVELIHOODS IN ODISHA
By Bidyadhar Maharana
Adibasi Fair is consistently being organized at Bhubaneswar from the 26th January every year and tribal districts are also organizing such fairs at different occasions.
The State level fair was organized at Adibashi ground of Unit VI from 1960’s and it has been shifted to Exhibition ground of Unit III since last 3 years.
The purpose of such fair is to focus on tribal living conditions, livelihoods, ethnic culture, tradition, arts, and various products produced by tribes, SHGs, government organizations etc. The tribal housing patterns of major tribes are exhibited in prototype form.
There are 62 tribes in Odisha and tribal population of the state which speak as many as 74 dialects. The Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups ( 13 PVTG) in Odisha include Bonda, Chuktia, Bhunjia, Didayi, Dongaria Kandha, Juang, Hill-Kharia, Kutia Kandha, Lanjia Saora, Lodha, Mankadia, Paudi Bhuyan and Bihor.
Odisha has 9.17% of tribes in India next to MP and Maharashtra. About 44.7% of State’s geographical area extended in 114 blocks in tribal belts and ST population is 22.85% of total population of the state.
Many projects have been launched for development of STs such as TSP, Article 275(1), FADP, MADA, Clusters, Micro-projects, DTDP, OSFDC, OPELIP, FRA 2006, OTELP, ATLC, TDCCOL, Millet Mission, PKVY etc with an appreciable budget. But there has not been substantial improvement in the livelihoods pattern of tribals and the major problems like land and indebtedness, collection of NTFP from forests, problems in settled cultivation, animal husbandry, wage earning, migration and marketing at many areas are matters of concern. The Adibashi Fair has not been successful in reflecting such issues .
There are many Indigenous Technical Knowledges (ITK) in tribal areas and ethnic cultures. One can learn cleanliness from the tribes which is well reflected in the housing pattern of various tribals and there has been an attempt to display such housing patterns in the Fair by Micro-project authorities.
The tribal products have attracted many urbanites. There is a need to apply for Geographic Indicator (GI) tags for many tribal products which are unique to the State. Wood crafts, brass works, jhuna (rexin), Palua, Honey, Turmeric and fabrics can come under such categories.