Adivasi impoverishment accelerates under NDA II

Written by Archana Prasad | Published on: December 8, 2015
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)
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