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Page 1: Poverty and Social Exclusion ADIVASIs

Maitreyi Bordia Das, Gillette Hall, Soumya Kapoorand Denis Nikitin

Presentation at the Indigenous Peoples Research Dissemination Workshop

December 20, 2010, Washington DC

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How did this chapter come about?

India Poverty and Social Exclusion report is a companion volume to the India Poverty assessment

Asks “was anyone left out during a period of rapid growth”? Who? Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, women.

Grounded in national discourse - Planning Commission advisory group and other national partners

Global study on IPs coincided with this work and provided the opportunity to do more in-depth analytical work to strengthen the hands of government and activists

Growing insurgency in tribal areas has brought the issue of tribal deprivation center-stage

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Who are the Scheduled Tribes? Adivasi is their self-preferred term - ‘Adi’ = beginning of

time; ‘vasi’ = resident of

State discourse rejects the term “indigenous peoples”

State uses instead the Constitutional term “ScheduledTribes”

8.1 percent of population, or 84.3 million people (2001census)

Outside the caste hierarchy - do not face ritual exclusionlike the Scheduled Castes, but physical and social isolation

Almost 90% are rural residents Distinct cultural and religious practices - very

heterogeneous – over 600 recognized tribes

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Government policy of affirmative action and special status

Constitution (1950) identifies Scheduled Tribes, providesfor quotas in public employment and publicly-fundededucation

73rd amendment to the Constitution reserves seats for STsin local governments

Recent legislation has attempted to accord greater voice toSTs in their own development

STs enjoy special privileges in states where they are amajority and in the Northeast

But larger part of STs live as minorities in other states

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There has been a systemic failure in giving thetribals a stake in the modern economic processesthat inexorably intrude into their living spaces.The alienation built over decades is now taking adangerous turn in some parts of our country.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh addressing Chief Ministers at a Conference on Implementation of the Forest Rights Act, November 2009

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Our analysis Poverty levels analyzed along three dimensions -

absolute levels, change over time and comparison with other groups, notably Dalits.

Labor market outcomes

Child mortality

Data:

NFHS 1998 and 2005

NSS – several rounds

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Poverty

Indian success story in poverty reduction - in two decades, the national poverty rate cut almost in half (46 percent in 1983 to 27 percent in 2004-5).

While poverty rates have declined for Scheduled Tribes since 1983 - at a slower rate than for the rest of the population.

1983 to 2004/05, poverty rate among Scheduled Tribes fell by 31 percent, while Scheduled Castes registered a decline of 35 percent and the average decline for India was 40 percent.

STs in urban areas fared better than those in rural areas

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India: ST poverty during a period of rapid growth

Relatively slower declines in poverty among the Scheduled Tribes have meant an increase in their concentration in the poorest deciles of the population.

Nearly 25% of those in the poorest wealth decile were STsin 2005

Heterogeneity across tribe andstate, with the NE stateslooking completely different

In most states with high tribal populations, poverty rates for them higher than the average tribal poverty rate (2004-05)

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STs lag 20 years behind in terms of poverty

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-2

-1

0

1

2

3

4

Ann

ual g

row

th r

ate

%

1 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100

Expenditure percentiles

Growth-incidence 95% confidence bounds

Growth in mean Mean growth rate

Total (years 1994 and 2005)

-2

-1

0

1

2

3

4

Ann

ual g

row

th r

ate

%

1 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100

Expenditure percentiles

Urban

-2

-1

0

1

2

3

4

Ann

ual g

row

th r

ate

%

1 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100

Expenditure percentiles

Rural

Source: ‘Consumption Expenditure Survey’ (CES) of respective NSS rounds.

Intra-group variation in poverty for STsover time

•Growth Incidence Curves (GIC) -expenditures grew more rapidly at the higher end of the expenditure distribution•Particularly true in urban areas, •May in part be explained by large income gains among those with access to and benefits from reserved jobs. This may also explain why poverty rates among STs in urban areas have fallen relatively quickly.

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Most ST men in rural India are self-employed subsistence farmers

Source: NSS, Das (2008) based on NSS 2004/05

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STs earn more than non-STs in regular urban jobs

Source: NSS

0.2

.4.6

2 4 6 8 10 2 4 6 8 10 2 4 6 8 10

Rural Urban Total

Non-ST ST

Ker

nel

den

sity

Log real monthly earnings from regular employment, 2004-05

Graphs by Urban

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Source: NSS

Educational attainment has improved for STs but still a substantial a differential

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Source: Estimates based on NFHS 2005-06

Tribal women are worst off

Average educational achievement by age group, NFHS 2005-2006

Men ST

Men Non-ST

Women ST

Women Non-ST

0

1

2

3

4

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7

8

9

15-21 22-31 32-41 42-51 52-61 >61

Age group

Yea

s of

sch

oolin

g

Men ST Men Non-ST Women ST Women Non-ST

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But the starkest marker of tribal exclusion is the excess mortality

of children

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How many deaths will it take till we know…..that too many children have died?

Breaking down under-5 mortality by age,….….tribal children start on par, but fall

behind by the time they are five Higher child mortalityrates than the rest of thepopulation - nearly 96tribal children dying forevery 1000, compared to anunder-five mortality of 74per 1000 for the averageIndian child

Adivasi children’smortality far exceeds theirshare of the population inrural areas i.e. adisproportionate numberof children dying are tribalchildren

Child mortality rates havenearly stagnated amongrural Adivasis and urbanDalits

0

20

40

60

80

100

120

pe

r 1

00

0Rural SC

Rural ST

Rural OBC

Rural Other

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If you control for poverty, does the “tribal effect” on mortality go away? No… Earlier studies that looked at U5MR found that poverty

level accounted for higher child mortality among adivasis But we disaggregate age-specific mortality rates and find

that: Even in the presence of controls, the disparity between ST

and non-STs in terms of mortality rates is robust at older ages (1-4 and under five).

During the neonatal, post-neonatal, and infant periods, ST and non-ST children have more or less similar odds of dying.

Yet between the age of one and four and overall under age five, mortality trends among the tribal and non-tribal children diverge: ST children face much higher (more than two times higher) odds of dying than general caste children.

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What are the trends over time? While there was no increase in child mortality among

Scheduled Tribes overall, there was a definite stagnation in rural areas.

Significant declines (44 percent) were recorded in child mortality rates for tribal children in urban areas but very small numbers of tribals live in cities and towns.

On the other hand, there is stagnation in child mortality among the urban SCs and rural STs in spite of the state’s focused attempts to reduce it.

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Are tribal children more likely to get sick as they get older and so more of them die?

No!

Contrary to expectations, tribal babies are not more likely to get sick from diarrhea or respiratory disease, but are much less likely to get treated than other children.

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Tribal children are less likely to fall sick from fever/cough, but are also

much less likely to be treated if they are sick

Source: Das et al, 2010 based on NFHS-3

24.926.9

22.8

41.5

24.1

27.828.2

24.8

0

5

10

15

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Had fever/cough over last two weeks Received no medical treatment for fever/cough

P r

op

ort

ion

of

child

ren

<3

6 m

on

ths

old

Scheduled Castes Scheduled Tribes Other Backward Classes Other

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Figure 5. Mothers of tribal children are less likely to get health care

44.341.2

63.1

40.5

32.2

54.8

48.2 47

61.963.1 64.2

72.3

0

10

20

30

40

50

60

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80

Three or more antenatal visits Pre-natal care provided by doctor Ever used contraceptionPro

po

rtio

n o

f mar

rie

d w

om

en

wh

o g

ave

bir

th

in la

st 3

ye

ars

Scheduled Castes Scheduled Tribes Other Backward Classes Other

Source: NFHS-3

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Remoteness and serious institutional constraints exclude them both spatially and

socially

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“Metalled roads penetrated only the fringe, as far as the foot of the hills. All communication beyond that point

was by earth roads.

There was no wheeled traffic, except for a few bicycles owned by some prosperous residents.”

These words seem to describe many of today’s tribal hamlets, but are from officers of British India, based in the “Agency Tracts” (British officers in tribal areas were

known as agents and reported directly to the Governor-General) of Madras in early 20th century

(Hunt and Harrison, 1980).

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“I was compelled to become a kind of witch doctor or medicine man. These villages were several days’ march from the nearest hospital or dispensary and wherever I

camped, the villagers brought their sick for me to cure”.

W.H Christie (Imperial Civil Service Officer 1928-47) writing while he was DC Chittagong Hill Tracts

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Institutional factors Dispersed - many tribal areas have hamlets have

population below 250

Even where health centers exist, absenteeism is very high

Health surveillance in tribal areas is not easy for other reasons as well (eg: migration)

Overall administration of tribal areas suffers from the same problems as the health system, so monitoring is weak

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Tribal lands “alienated” for a variety of reasons.

Large infrastructure has led to large scale displacement and discontent

Between 1951 and 1990, 21.3 million people were displaced, of which 40 percent, or 8.5 million, were tribals. Only a little under one fourth of those displaced were resettled (GOI, 2002: 458).

Tribal indebtedness means lands are mortgaged

Tribal land is also vulnerable to private transactions and fraud

Example: Over the past few years, Orissa has been rife with allegations of non-STs having got ST certificates and usurped ST lands and other advantages.

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Legislation is strong but difficult to enforce Legislation prevents Adivasi land from being

alienated, but this can act as a double edged sword

New legislation fundamentally questions power relations between Adivasi and non-Adivasi areas ….but has been difficult to implement

With large scale mining becoming more pervasive, the tripartite relationship between tribals, the government and mining companies has also become tenser

Adivasi deprivation is tied up with limited voice

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Conclusions

Slow decline in poverty

Health and education outcomes still very poor

Excess mortality of tribal children continues to be the starkest marker of tribal disadvantage.

A number of laws and programs are in place but implementation is poor.

Low voice of tribals in decision-making and their alienation from land and forests are central to their continued exclusion from progress and development.

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