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Sabrang

Adivasi impoverishment accelerates under NDA II

Archana Prasad 08 Dec 2015


As the juggernaut of the Modi Government’s unfettered Hindutva led corporate capitalism rolls, the adivasis of the country are feeling its intense impact. The adivasis form about 8.8% of India’s population and a large majority of the adivasi population is concentrated in the Central Indian region which has been a stronghold of the sangh parivar and the BJP. Even in states like Jharkhand and Odisha where the BJP has not been in government for many years, the grassroots presence of the sangh parivar in adivasi-dominated regions cannot be denied. Through long years of the work the sangh has established a base and also achieved limited success in the objective of polarizing adivasis along religious lines. The participation of the adivasis in the 2002 Gujarat riots, the Kandhamal riots of 2008 and the concerted campaign of the Bodo community against Assamese Muslims reflects the long term impact of the penetration of the sangh parivar in these regions.

But this is not the only impact of the BJP on adivasi societies. The natural alliance between the sangh organisations and main oppressors of adivasi people, i.e., the big traders and corporates has created an atmosphere of confrontation and perpetual conflict in the adivasi regions. The long-term and historical relative backwardness of these regions was used by the sangh parivar to establish its strong presence. The parivar used a combination of ideological indoctrination and constructive work to develop and expand its social base in order to build up an RSS and BJP cadre in these areas. However, the promises of integrated and equitable development that the BJP has been making to the adivasis have been broken and remain unfulfilled. Ever since the NDA II has come to power, the neo-liberal assault on adivasis has only intensified and expenditures on the welfare of backward classes have been slashed ever since the Modi government came to power. This trend and its impact needs to be understood if people are to be mobilised against the march of Hindutva amongst the adivasi people of Central and Eastern India.

Public expenditure on Dalit and Adivasi development cut
An analysis of the trends of the last four years shows that there has been a steady decline in the public expenditure for the welfare of scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and other backward classes. The budget figures show that in 2012-13 the public expenditure for the welfare of these classes was 3.06% of the total expenditure which went up to 3.48% in the next year i.e., 2013-14. This was also the last year of the UPA government and it is possible that the government tried to show that it was increasing the expenditure for the welfare of historically oppressed classes. However during the last two years, i.e. the first and second budgets of the present Modi led government, the public expenditure on the welfare of these classes decreased substantially to 2.98% of total expenditure in 2014-15 and to 2.88% in the budget estimates of 2015-16. As far as the tribal sub plan is concerned, the following picture emerges in the last three years. The tribal sub-plan is meant to allocate resources in proportion to the percentage of schedule tribes in the entire country, i.e. 8.8% of the total population. Yet the allocations show an abysmal picture with an allotment of 4.8% of the planned expenditure in 2013-14. This ratio has come further down under Modi’s regime to 4.3% of the planned expenditure in 2014-15 and 4.2% of the planned expenditure in 2015-16.

The main argument of the Modi government is that Central allocations have declined because it has transferred resources to the state governments in the name of “cooperative federalism. However the figures of state public expenditure show that the track record of BJP ruled governments  (especially in Gujarat, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh where the BJP has been in been in power for more than a decade) is not very good. In each of the long-term BJP ruled states the expenditure on the welfare of scheduled tribes, castes and backward classes had been in a decline even before the Modi Government came into power in the center. This decline shows the lack of commitment of these BJP governments towards removing historical inequities. This has had its own long-term impacts. The table below explains the patterns of public expenditure on the welfare of scheduled tribes, castes and backward classes in BJP ruled states:
STATE 2013-14 (Budget Estimates) 2013-14 (Revised Estimates) 2014-15 (Budget Estimates)
PLAN NON-PLAN TOTAL PLAN NON-PLAN TOTAL PLAN NON-PLAN TOTAL
CHHATTISGARH 2.62 1.86 2.19 2.71 1.80 2.21 0.73 0.25 0.53
GUJARAT 7.33 0.74 2.67 7.91 0.93 2.87 6.88 0.36 2.70
MADHYA PRADESH 10.87 0.86 4.03 11.43 0.89 4.25 7.94 0.84 3.50
Source, State Finances: An Analysis of Budget, RBI 2015.
 
Adivasis and Landlessness in BJP Ruled States
The lack of public spending in social services has been accompanied by pro-corporate policies in the resource rich regions that have led to the displacement of adivasis from their own lands. An analysis of the percentage changes in access to cultivated land for scheduled tribes between 2004-2010 shows a bleak picture. While the increase in landlessness for scheduled tribes is lower than the national average in all long-term BJP ruled states except Gujarat, the percentage of marginal holdings below one hectare has registered a significant rise in both Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. This clearly indicates that although the loss of land amongst the adivasis may not be absolute in its character, medium size land holdings are getting fragmented. Adivasis with larger land holdings are loosing a significant part of their land but not all their land so as to be classed Landless. Chhattisgarh is especially significant in this regard since there seems to be an unusual increase in medium adivasi land holders, a phenomena that has possibly arisen out of the Chhattisgarh government's contract farming initiative where adivasi peasants are directly linked to corporate houses. This rise in marginal and medium land holdings at the same time indicates a fundamental change within the class structure of the Chhattisgarh adivasis and can explain the spurt in urban growth rates of adivasis in the state. The unusually high rise in landlessness in Gujarat shows the growing dispossession amongst the adivasis in the state. The growing inequities within the adivasis are visible from the fact that the number of marginal land holdings registered a significant decline whereas the decline in large and medium size holdings was negligible. Small and marginal farmers in Gujarat are being rendered landless.

Percentage Changes in Access to Cultivated Land by Scheduled Tribes, 2004-2010
State Class and Size of Holdings (Hectare)
  0.00 0.01-0.40 0.41-1 1-2 2-4 Above 4
Chhattisgarh -0.8 16.5 6.7 -3.2 15.8 -1.5
Madhya Pradesh 1.4 6.3 -2.8 -4.1 -0.1 -0.6
Gujarat 9.2 -7.9 -2.5 1.2 -0.1 0
All India 3.6 2.1 -1.7 -2.7 -0.6 -0.1
Calculated from NSSO Report 516, 2004-05,  p.70 and NSSO Report 543, 2010-2011,  p.74.

Impact on the Adivasi occupational structure in BJP rules states
The secular rise in marginal land holdings has to be seen as a part of the larger proletarisation of the adivasi people. While it is true that land has been a prized possession of the adivasis, the marginal adivasi peasant has always been forced to work on the lands of larger landowners in order to fulfill their subsistence requirements. In this situation some part of adivasi livelihood has always depended on agricultural and migrant casual labour for meeting a significant part of their subsistence. The class position of the adivasi as a rural worker rather than as a peasant has been further reinforced since the green revolution period. But today, most adivasis are unable to find gainful employment opportunities in agriculture. This is also accompanied by the falling rates of scheduled tribe employment in MNREGS. The labour force participation of rural adivasis has declined by almost 8% in the last decade. By contrast the urban labour force participation rate of adivasis has increased by 0.5% in the same period. Paid work in urban areas for adivasi women increased by 8.4% in the period between 2007-2010 alone.

An analysis of data from the Census of India for the years 2001 to 2011 shows a secular decline in the number of main workers (workers getting more than 180 days of regular work in one year) in all three long-term BJP ruled states while there is only a marginal decline in the total work participation rates.[i] The reason why the full magnitude of the decline in main workers or workers with regular work is not reflected in the total work participation rates is a secular increase in marginal adivasi workforce (people working for less than six months a year). However, both the decrease in the main workforce and the increase in the marginal workforce are much higher in the rural regions than in the urban regions. This trend indicates that increasing number of rural adivasi workers have less work available during the year. This is reflective of the larger rural crisis that has fundamentally impacted adivasi livelihoods. Another trend that emerges from the data is that while there is decline in the main male urban workforce, there is a generalised increase in the main female urban workforce in all states except Chhattisgarh[si1] . This trend highlights the gendered nature of the changes in the occupational structure. Significantly the decline in marginal female urban workers is replaced by a corresponding increase in the main female urban workers. Once again this indicates that schedule tribe women are shouldering greater responsibility to meet the daily needs of urban survival. ​
 
This picture contrasts with the decedal changes in the character of marginal work. The data shows that though the number of tribal marginal other workers have gone up in both urban and rural areas the increase is much higher in the case of male worker participation rates (7.33%) as compared with female work participation rates (0.69%). The pattern of this trend is more evident in the rural areas where work participation rates of marginal work have increased by 4.72% overall and for male workers they have risen by 8.02%. In two out of the three states under consideration the rural marginal work for male workers has risen more than the national average (8%). In Chhattisgarh the increase is more than 10% and in Madhya Pradesh it is close to 10 percent. In the case of Gujarat there has been a rise in all types of marginal employment highlighting the jobless growth in the state. This reflected in the fact that there is there is a decrease in urban main work and increase in marginal work for male workers resulting in a total decrease in work participation rates. This decrease in work participation rate is largely due to growth in unemployment and decrease in main workers.​ In contrast there is an increase in female urban main work force and decrease in the marginal workforce. This clearly indicates that women are being pushed out of agriculture and are forced to migrate for low paid wage labour in peri-urban and urban areas.

The experience of the BJP ruled states also shows that programmes of conversion, reconversions and the inculcation of caste Hindu values go hand in hand with the process of proletarianisation of adivasis.

This shows that the much-touted BJP record of development is a false propaganda and needs to be demystified.

Adivasi cultivators on the decline
In this context a further probe into the nature of occupational changes reveals a rather interesting scenario of working class formation and consolidation amongst the adivasis. The decedal changes in the industrial classification of main workers reflect the land dispossession that is taking place amongst the tribals. Given the figures for increasing landlessness amongst this social group, it is not surprising that the number of adivasi cultivators or peasants have declined by more than 10% in all least developed states except for Odisha where the rate of decline is less than the all India average of 10.31%. As expected most of this decline is amongst the tribal farmers of rural areas, but this decrease is also gendered in its character. The rate of decline in female cultivators is higher than that of male cultivators in the rural regions indicating that female farmers and female-headed households face a greater degree of vulnerability. An interesting aspect of changes in work patterns relate to the category of "other workers".  In this category the rate of increase in female work participation rate is higher than that in male work participation rate. Although there is a secular decline in the category of “other workers” in urban areas, the female urban work participation rates in the decade under consideration (2001-2011)  seem to be increasing nationally as well as in at least two of the four least developed states. However the case of Gujarat is a little different where the rise in employment is largely in marginal agricultural work because of the penetration of contract farming in adivasi regions. Typically adivasi women are impacted by it much more than men. Hence the proletarianisation of adivasis is driven by transformations in the female workforce.

The BJP’s model of adivasi development shows that the adivasis are becoming a part of a large reserve army of mobile labour which is sustaining the current corporate capitalist system. Such a system brings about adverse inclusion of the adivasi people into the labour market which in turn is structured by the regional integration of the ‘least developed states’ into the larger political economy. Such a phenomena is epitomised by the policies of the regional ruling classes who think that neoliberalism is the best answer to their problems. In return they hope to perpetuate themselves and get a share of the corporate profits. They also support the weakening of social protection and welfare spending by the state. In this situation the adivasi worker’s consciousness needs to be built around complex demands for access to productive forces and social protection which promote class unity amongst all workers and petty producers. Hence the democratic movement faces the challenge of expanding its social base amongst the adivasis by focusing on their sectional interests through class based mass organisations and strategically linking them to the fight against contemporary corporate capitalism. The experience of the BJP ruled states also shows that programmes of conversion, reconversions and the inculcation of caste Hindu values go hand in hand with the process of proletarianisation of adivasis. Hence any effort to mobilise against the RSS in adivasi regions must be accompanied by the demystification of Modi and BJP model of adivasi development.

(The author is professor and chairperson, Centre for Informal Sector and Labour Studies Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi)
 
 
Appendix 1
Decedal Changes in Adivasi Work Participation Rates, 2001-2011
TOTAL Total Total Main Workers Total Marginal Workers
  Person Male Female Person Male Female Person Male Female
INDIA -0.39 0.68 -1.31 -4.16 -7.33 -0.69 4.16 7.33 0.69
CHHATTISGARH -0.58 0.49 -1.57 -7.13 -10.40 -3.98 7.13 10.40 3.98
MADHYA PRADESH -0.52 -0.01 -1.08 -4.14 -9.19 1.51 4.14 9.19 -1.51
 GUJARAT -1.89 0.89 -4.91 -1.65 -3.47 -1.71 1.65 3.47 1.71
RURAL Total Total Main Workers Total Marginal Workers
  Person Male Female Person Male Female Person Male Female
INDIA -0.40 0.53 -1.28 -4.72 -8.02 -1.17 4.72 8.02 1.17
CHHATTISGARH -0.12 0.53 -1.29 -7.73 -11.09 -4.52 7.73 11.09 4.52
MADHYA PRADESH -0.73 -0.13 -1.26 -4.46 -9.76 1.29 4.46 9.76 -1.29
 GUJARAT -2.15 1.54 -5.04 -1.99 -3.66 -2.29 1.99 3.66 2.29
URBAN Total Total Main Workers Total Marginal Workers
  Person Male Female Person Male Female Person Male Female
INDIA 2.58 3.04 2.66 -1.04 -1.97 1.83 1.04 1.97 -1.83
CHHATTISGARH 4.31 3.97 5.63 -3.45 -3.34 -0.68 3.45 3.34 0.68
MADHYA PRADESH 2.73 2.72 3.31 0.29 -1.15 4.96 -0.29 1.15 -4.96
GUJARAT 2.19 3.14 1.71 -2.99 -3.17 -2.18 2.99 3.17 2.18
Data Computed from  Census of India, 2001 ST01 and ST02; Census of India, 2011, ST Tables Online data.
Appendix 2
Table 2: Decadal Changes in Industrial Classification of Main Adivasi Workers, 2001-2011
STATE CULTIVATORS AGRICULTURAL labourers OTHER WORKERS  
TOTAL PERSON MALE FEMALE PERSON MALE FEMALE PERSON MALE FEMALE  
INDIA -10.31 -8.84 -12.83 7.80 6.38 9.99 2.89 2.74 3.40  
CHHATTISGARH -13.67 -11.72 -17.26 10.27 8.76 12.98 3.74 3.31 4.59  
MADHYA PRADESH -14.05 -12.79 -15.83 13.42 12.33 14.46 0.97 0.81 1.73  
GUJARAT -7.65 -4.34 -16.01 8.71 6.29 15.43 -0.09 -0.11 -0.04 -0.96 -1.83 0.62
RURAL                    
INDIA -9.92 -8.29 -12.56 9.09 7.57 11.37 4.04 1.05 1.75  
CHHATTISGARH -12.86 -10.82 -16.50 11.25 9.67 14.02 1.97 1.54 2.80  
MADHYA PRADESH -14.26 -12.97 -15.89 14.35 13.34 15.26 0.23 -0.02 0.94  
GUJARAT -7.39 -3.82 -16.41 10.17 7.34 17.83 -0.13 -0.15 -0.07 -2.66 -3.37 -1.35
URBAN                    
INDIA -0.67 -0.25 -1.91 1.41 1.45 0.61 -0.42 -1.20 2.63  
CHHATTISGARH 2.24 2.83 0.25 4.24 3.91 3.58 -6.00 -6.71 -1.41  
MADHYA PRADESH -1.29 -0.77 -2.90 2.96 2.85 1.37 -0.84 -1.62 3.59  
GUJARAT 0.75 1.15 -0.31 2.85 2.82 2.72 0.22 0.22 0.21 -3.82 -4.19 -2.62
Source: Calculated from the Census of India 2001, ST01 and STO2 and Census of India, 2011
 
 
[i] Data calculated from the Census of India 2001, ST01 and STO2 and Census of India, 2011. Available from http://censusindia.gov.in/

 [si1]Both Chhattisgarh and Gujarat show a decline in the main female urban workforce, but the orginal copy only mentions Chattisgarh in this regard.

Adivasi impoverishment accelerates under NDA II



As the juggernaut of the Modi Government’s unfettered Hindutva led corporate capitalism rolls, the adivasis of the country are feeling its intense impact. The adivasis form about 8.8% of India’s population and a large majority of the adivasi population is concentrated in the Central Indian region which has been a stronghold of the sangh parivar and the BJP. Even in states like Jharkhand and Odisha where the BJP has not been in government for many years, the grassroots presence of the sangh parivar in adivasi-dominated regions cannot be denied. Through long years of the work the sangh has established a base and also achieved limited success in the objective of polarizing adivasis along religious lines. The participation of the adivasis in the 2002 Gujarat riots, the Kandhamal riots of 2008 and the concerted campaign of the Bodo community against Assamese Muslims reflects the long term impact of the penetration of the sangh parivar in these regions.

But this is not the only impact of the BJP on adivasi societies. The natural alliance between the sangh organisations and main oppressors of adivasi people, i.e., the big traders and corporates has created an atmosphere of confrontation and perpetual conflict in the adivasi regions. The long-term and historical relative backwardness of these regions was used by the sangh parivar to establish its strong presence. The parivar used a combination of ideological indoctrination and constructive work to develop and expand its social base in order to build up an RSS and BJP cadre in these areas. However, the promises of integrated and equitable development that the BJP has been making to the adivasis have been broken and remain unfulfilled. Ever since the NDA II has come to power, the neo-liberal assault on adivasis has only intensified and expenditures on the welfare of backward classes have been slashed ever since the Modi government came to power. This trend and its impact needs to be understood if people are to be mobilised against the march of Hindutva amongst the adivasi people of Central and Eastern India.

Public expenditure on Dalit and Adivasi development cut
An analysis of the trends of the last four years shows that there has been a steady decline in the public expenditure for the welfare of scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and other backward classes. The budget figures show that in 2012-13 the public expenditure for the welfare of these classes was 3.06% of the total expenditure which went up to 3.48% in the next year i.e., 2013-14. This was also the last year of the UPA government and it is possible that the government tried to show that it was increasing the expenditure for the welfare of historically oppressed classes. However during the last two years, i.e. the first and second budgets of the present Modi led government, the public expenditure on the welfare of these classes decreased substantially to 2.98% of total expenditure in 2014-15 and to 2.88% in the budget estimates of 2015-16. As far as the tribal sub plan is concerned, the following picture emerges in the last three years. The tribal sub-plan is meant to allocate resources in proportion to the percentage of schedule tribes in the entire country, i.e. 8.8% of the total population. Yet the allocations show an abysmal picture with an allotment of 4.8% of the planned expenditure in 2013-14. This ratio has come further down under Modi’s regime to 4.3% of the planned expenditure in 2014-15 and 4.2% of the planned expenditure in 2015-16.

The main argument of the Modi government is that Central allocations have declined because it has transferred resources to the state governments in the name of “cooperative federalism. However the figures of state public expenditure show that the track record of BJP ruled governments  (especially in Gujarat, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh where the BJP has been in been in power for more than a decade) is not very good. In each of the long-term BJP ruled states the expenditure on the welfare of scheduled tribes, castes and backward classes had been in a decline even before the Modi Government came into power in the center. This decline shows the lack of commitment of these BJP governments towards removing historical inequities. This has had its own long-term impacts. The table below explains the patterns of public expenditure on the welfare of scheduled tribes, castes and backward classes in BJP ruled states:
STATE 2013-14 (Budget Estimates) 2013-14 (Revised Estimates) 2014-15 (Budget Estimates)
PLAN NON-PLAN TOTAL PLAN NON-PLAN TOTAL PLAN NON-PLAN TOTAL
CHHATTISGARH 2.62 1.86 2.19 2.71 1.80 2.21 0.73 0.25 0.53
GUJARAT 7.33 0.74 2.67 7.91 0.93 2.87 6.88 0.36 2.70
MADHYA PRADESH 10.87 0.86 4.03 11.43 0.89 4.25 7.94 0.84 3.50
Source, State Finances: An Analysis of Budget, RBI 2015.
 
Adivasis and Landlessness in BJP Ruled States
The lack of public spending in social services has been accompanied by pro-corporate policies in the resource rich regions that have led to the displacement of adivasis from their own lands. An analysis of the percentage changes in access to cultivated land for scheduled tribes between 2004-2010 shows a bleak picture. While the increase in landlessness for scheduled tribes is lower than the national average in all long-term BJP ruled states except Gujarat, the percentage of marginal holdings below one hectare has registered a significant rise in both Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. This clearly indicates that although the loss of land amongst the adivasis may not be absolute in its character, medium size land holdings are getting fragmented. Adivasis with larger land holdings are loosing a significant part of their land but not all their land so as to be classed Landless. Chhattisgarh is especially significant in this regard since there seems to be an unusual increase in medium adivasi land holders, a phenomena that has possibly arisen out of the Chhattisgarh government's contract farming initiative where adivasi peasants are directly linked to corporate houses. This rise in marginal and medium land holdings at the same time indicates a fundamental change within the class structure of the Chhattisgarh adivasis and can explain the spurt in urban growth rates of adivasis in the state. The unusually high rise in landlessness in Gujarat shows the growing dispossession amongst the adivasis in the state. The growing inequities within the adivasis are visible from the fact that the number of marginal land holdings registered a significant decline whereas the decline in large and medium size holdings was negligible. Small and marginal farmers in Gujarat are being rendered landless.

Percentage Changes in Access to Cultivated Land by Scheduled Tribes, 2004-2010
State Class and Size of Holdings (Hectare)
  0.00 0.01-0.40 0.41-1 1-2 2-4 Above 4
Chhattisgarh -0.8 16.5 6.7 -3.2 15.8 -1.5
Madhya Pradesh 1.4 6.3 -2.8 -4.1 -0.1 -0.6
Gujarat 9.2 -7.9 -2.5 1.2 -0.1 0
All India 3.6 2.1 -1.7 -2.7 -0.6 -0.1
Calculated from NSSO Report 516, 2004-05,  p.70 and NSSO Report 543, 2010-2011,  p.74.

Impact on the Adivasi occupational structure in BJP rules states
The secular rise in marginal land holdings has to be seen as a part of the larger proletarisation of the adivasi people. While it is true that land has been a prized possession of the adivasis, the marginal adivasi peasant has always been forced to work on the lands of larger landowners in order to fulfill their subsistence requirements. In this situation some part of adivasi livelihood has always depended on agricultural and migrant casual labour for meeting a significant part of their subsistence. The class position of the adivasi as a rural worker rather than as a peasant has been further reinforced since the green revolution period. But today, most adivasis are unable to find gainful employment opportunities in agriculture. This is also accompanied by the falling rates of scheduled tribe employment in MNREGS. The labour force participation of rural adivasis has declined by almost 8% in the last decade. By contrast the urban labour force participation rate of adivasis has increased by 0.5% in the same period. Paid work in urban areas for adivasi women increased by 8.4% in the period between 2007-2010 alone.

An analysis of data from the Census of India for the years 2001 to 2011 shows a secular decline in the number of main workers (workers getting more than 180 days of regular work in one year) in all three long-term BJP ruled states while there is only a marginal decline in the total work participation rates.[i] The reason why the full magnitude of the decline in main workers or workers with regular work is not reflected in the total work participation rates is a secular increase in marginal adivasi workforce (people working for less than six months a year). However, both the decrease in the main workforce and the increase in the marginal workforce are much higher in the rural regions than in the urban regions. This trend indicates that increasing number of rural adivasi workers have less work available during the year. This is reflective of the larger rural crisis that has fundamentally impacted adivasi livelihoods. Another trend that emerges from the data is that while there is decline in the main male urban workforce, there is a generalised increase in the main female urban workforce in all states except Chhattisgarh[si1] . This trend highlights the gendered nature of the changes in the occupational structure. Significantly the decline in marginal female urban workers is replaced by a corresponding increase in the main female urban workers. Once again this indicates that schedule tribe women are shouldering greater responsibility to meet the daily needs of urban survival. ​
 
This picture contrasts with the decedal changes in the character of marginal work. The data shows that though the number of tribal marginal other workers have gone up in both urban and rural areas the increase is much higher in the case of male worker participation rates (7.33%) as compared with female work participation rates (0.69%). The pattern of this trend is more evident in the rural areas where work participation rates of marginal work have increased by 4.72% overall and for male workers they have risen by 8.02%. In two out of the three states under consideration the rural marginal work for male workers has risen more than the national average (8%). In Chhattisgarh the increase is more than 10% and in Madhya Pradesh it is close to 10 percent. In the case of Gujarat there has been a rise in all types of marginal employment highlighting the jobless growth in the state. This reflected in the fact that there is there is a decrease in urban main work and increase in marginal work for male workers resulting in a total decrease in work participation rates. This decrease in work participation rate is largely due to growth in unemployment and decrease in main workers.​ In contrast there is an increase in female urban main work force and decrease in the marginal workforce. This clearly indicates that women are being pushed out of agriculture and are forced to migrate for low paid wage labour in peri-urban and urban areas.

The experience of the BJP ruled states also shows that programmes of conversion, reconversions and the inculcation of caste Hindu values go hand in hand with the process of proletarianisation of adivasis.

This shows that the much-touted BJP record of development is a false propaganda and needs to be demystified.

Adivasi cultivators on the decline
In this context a further probe into the nature of occupational changes reveals a rather interesting scenario of working class formation and consolidation amongst the adivasis. The decedal changes in the industrial classification of main workers reflect the land dispossession that is taking place amongst the tribals. Given the figures for increasing landlessness amongst this social group, it is not surprising that the number of adivasi cultivators or peasants have declined by more than 10% in all least developed states except for Odisha where the rate of decline is less than the all India average of 10.31%. As expected most of this decline is amongst the tribal farmers of rural areas, but this decrease is also gendered in its character. The rate of decline in female cultivators is higher than that of male cultivators in the rural regions indicating that female farmers and female-headed households face a greater degree of vulnerability. An interesting aspect of changes in work patterns relate to the category of "other workers".  In this category the rate of increase in female work participation rate is higher than that in male work participation rate. Although there is a secular decline in the category of “other workers” in urban areas, the female urban work participation rates in the decade under consideration (2001-2011)  seem to be increasing nationally as well as in at least two of the four least developed states. However the case of Gujarat is a little different where the rise in employment is largely in marginal agricultural work because of the penetration of contract farming in adivasi regions. Typically adivasi women are impacted by it much more than men. Hence the proletarianisation of adivasis is driven by transformations in the female workforce.

The BJP’s model of adivasi development shows that the adivasis are becoming a part of a large reserve army of mobile labour which is sustaining the current corporate capitalist system. Such a system brings about adverse inclusion of the adivasi people into the labour market which in turn is structured by the regional integration of the ‘least developed states’ into the larger political economy. Such a phenomena is epitomised by the policies of the regional ruling classes who think that neoliberalism is the best answer to their problems. In return they hope to perpetuate themselves and get a share of the corporate profits. They also support the weakening of social protection and welfare spending by the state. In this situation the adivasi worker’s consciousness needs to be built around complex demands for access to productive forces and social protection which promote class unity amongst all workers and petty producers. Hence the democratic movement faces the challenge of expanding its social base amongst the adivasis by focusing on their sectional interests through class based mass organisations and strategically linking them to the fight against contemporary corporate capitalism. The experience of the BJP ruled states also shows that programmes of conversion, reconversions and the inculcation of caste Hindu values go hand in hand with the process of proletarianisation of adivasis. Hence any effort to mobilise against the RSS in adivasi regions must be accompanied by the demystification of Modi and BJP model of adivasi development.

(The author is professor and chairperson, Centre for Informal Sector and Labour Studies Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi)
 
 
Appendix 1
Decedal Changes in Adivasi Work Participation Rates, 2001-2011
TOTAL Total Total Main Workers Total Marginal Workers
  Person Male Female Person Male Female Person Male Female
INDIA -0.39 0.68 -1.31 -4.16 -7.33 -0.69 4.16 7.33 0.69
CHHATTISGARH -0.58 0.49 -1.57 -7.13 -10.40 -3.98 7.13 10.40 3.98
MADHYA PRADESH -0.52 -0.01 -1.08 -4.14 -9.19 1.51 4.14 9.19 -1.51
 GUJARAT -1.89 0.89 -4.91 -1.65 -3.47 -1.71 1.65 3.47 1.71
RURAL Total Total Main Workers Total Marginal Workers
  Person Male Female Person Male Female Person Male Female
INDIA -0.40 0.53 -1.28 -4.72 -8.02 -1.17 4.72 8.02 1.17
CHHATTISGARH -0.12 0.53 -1.29 -7.73 -11.09 -4.52 7.73 11.09 4.52
MADHYA PRADESH -0.73 -0.13 -1.26 -4.46 -9.76 1.29 4.46 9.76 -1.29
 GUJARAT -2.15 1.54 -5.04 -1.99 -3.66 -2.29 1.99 3.66 2.29
URBAN Total Total Main Workers Total Marginal Workers
  Person Male Female Person Male Female Person Male Female
INDIA 2.58 3.04 2.66 -1.04 -1.97 1.83 1.04 1.97 -1.83
CHHATTISGARH 4.31 3.97 5.63 -3.45 -3.34 -0.68 3.45 3.34 0.68
MADHYA PRADESH 2.73 2.72 3.31 0.29 -1.15 4.96 -0.29 1.15 -4.96
GUJARAT 2.19 3.14 1.71 -2.99 -3.17 -2.18 2.99 3.17 2.18
Data Computed from  Census of India, 2001 ST01 and ST02; Census of India, 2011, ST Tables Online data.
Appendix 2
Table 2: Decadal Changes in Industrial Classification of Main Adivasi Workers, 2001-2011
STATE CULTIVATORS AGRICULTURAL labourers OTHER WORKERS  
TOTAL PERSON MALE FEMALE PERSON MALE FEMALE PERSON MALE FEMALE  
INDIA -10.31 -8.84 -12.83 7.80 6.38 9.99 2.89 2.74 3.40  
CHHATTISGARH -13.67 -11.72 -17.26 10.27 8.76 12.98 3.74 3.31 4.59  
MADHYA PRADESH -14.05 -12.79 -15.83 13.42 12.33 14.46 0.97 0.81 1.73  
GUJARAT -7.65 -4.34 -16.01 8.71 6.29 15.43 -0.09 -0.11 -0.04 -0.96 -1.83 0.62
RURAL                    
INDIA -9.92 -8.29 -12.56 9.09 7.57 11.37 4.04 1.05 1.75  
CHHATTISGARH -12.86 -10.82 -16.50 11.25 9.67 14.02 1.97 1.54 2.80  
MADHYA PRADESH -14.26 -12.97 -15.89 14.35 13.34 15.26 0.23 -0.02 0.94  
GUJARAT -7.39 -3.82 -16.41 10.17 7.34 17.83 -0.13 -0.15 -0.07 -2.66 -3.37 -1.35
URBAN                    
INDIA -0.67 -0.25 -1.91 1.41 1.45 0.61 -0.42 -1.20 2.63  
CHHATTISGARH 2.24 2.83 0.25 4.24 3.91 3.58 -6.00 -6.71 -1.41  
MADHYA PRADESH -1.29 -0.77 -2.90 2.96 2.85 1.37 -0.84 -1.62 3.59  
GUJARAT 0.75 1.15 -0.31 2.85 2.82 2.72 0.22 0.22 0.21 -3.82 -4.19 -2.62
Source: Calculated from the Census of India 2001, ST01 and STO2 and Census of India, 2011
 
 
[i] Data calculated from the Census of India 2001, ST01 and STO2 and Census of India, 2011. Available from http://censusindia.gov.in/

 [si1]Both Chhattisgarh and Gujarat show a decline in the main female urban workforce, but the orginal copy only mentions Chattisgarh in this regard.

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