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15. Relative socio-economic and human development profile of scheduled tribes in India
Abusaleh Shariff
[22], Prabir K. Ghosh[23] and Abhilasha Sharma[24]


ABSTRACT

The central and state governments and planners have formulated and implemented various policies aiming at raising the social and economic conditions of the communities such as the Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) who had remained traditionally backward for historical reasons. Few comprehensive studies based on primary data collected with the specific purpose of assessing the social and economic conditions of the SCs and STs have, thus far, been undertaken. The present study attempts an analysis of the household level data collected by the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) in its Human Development Indicator survey from a sample of 33 230 rural households - 7943 belonging to the SCs and 4220 belonging to the STs, to assess their level of development. The results of the study show that the number of STs has grown at a faster rate than others, increasing their share in total population over the decades. Among the major states in India, Madhya Pradesh has the highest percentage (23.3 percent) of ST population. Other states where the proportion of ST population is higher are Orissa (22.2 percent), Gujarat (14.9 percent) and Rajasthan (12.4 percent). Every alternate person belonging to SCs and STs is poor while every third person not belonging to SCs and STs is poor. Higher incidence and intensity of poverty between SCs and STs is perhaps a consequence of lower access to productive assets. Keeping in view the proportion of STs in rural population, proportion of landless households among them is quite high. However, there has been a decrease in the incidence of landlessness between STs. Regarding the availability of amenities STs are in much better position than SC population. As regards to the development of education STs clearly are not the better performers if the output parameters like literacy rate, ever enrolment rate, discontinuation rate and percentage of population (aged 15+ years) completing middle level are considered. Interstate variation in literacy between both STs and SCs as measured by coefficient of variation also shows a decreasing trend over time. This means that the backward castes are improving at a faster rate. On coming to some of the health and demography-related parameters, STs are better off than SCs as well as total population as far as major morbidity rates are concerned. Crude birth rate and total fertility rate are high and the contraceptive prevalence rate is also high among STs as compared to SCs.

INTRODUCTION

India is a vast country, inhabited by a large number of communities. Quite a few of these communities remained backward in several aspects of life. Since the inception of planning era, making the society more egalitarian, both in economic and other social aspects has remained one of the major objectives of state policies. The central and state governments and the planners have formulated and implemented various policies aimed at raising the social and economic conditions of the communities such as the Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) who had remained traditionally backward for historical reasons. Institutions and individual scholars have occasionally assessed the impact of these policies. Most of the studies, made so far, are either based on secondary data available from the census National Sample Survey (NSS) and other sources or localised when some primary data have been collected. These studies pertain to different time periods and different regions covering limited aspects of development. The results are therefore not comparable over time or space. Findings of these studies are, consequently, of limited use. Very few comprehensive studies based on primary data collected with the specific purpose of assessing the social and economic conditions of the SCs and STs have, thus far, been undertaken.

Comprehensive data on various aspects of development disaggregated by population groups such as the SCs and STs are rare. The National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) in its efforts to compile Human Development Profiles of India and its states conducted a nation wide sample survey (HDI Survey) of about 33 000 rural households to elicit data on various aspects of development. Sampling has been done independently in 16 major states with households as the ultimate sampling units. The households belonging to SCs and STs often formed separate strata in the sample design. Valid estimates of various development parameters pertaining to SCs and STs could be derived out of these data. The present study attempts an analysis of the household level data collected by the NCAER in its HDI survey from a sample of 33 230 rural households - 7943 belonging to SCs, 4220 belonging to STs, to assess their level of development, both in absolute terms and relative to that of the total population. The analysis is supplemented by data from some secondary sources such as NSSO and Census and findings of other researchers.

GROWTH OF POPULATION

Of the 846 million Indian population enumerated in the 1991 census about 8 percent or 68 million are Scheduled Tribes and another 16 percent or 138 million belong to Scheduled Castes (Table 1). Faster growth of population among these two communities is reflected in a rising trend in their proportion in total population. The ST population grew at the decadal rate of 27.7, 35.8 and 31.4 percent respectively during the past three decades. Comparatively, SC population grew at a lower rate of 24.2, 30.9 and 32.0 percent during the same period. In 1961 the Scheduled Tribes constituted 6.9 percent of the population, while in 1991 it is up to 8.1 percent. During the same period the proportion of Scheduled Castes has gone up to 16.5 percent from 14.7 percent.

Table 1. Distribution and growth of population, 1951-1991 (in million)

Census
years

Total
population

Scheduled tribes
(STs)

Scheduled castes
(SCs)

1951

361.1

-

-

1961

428.4
(21.5)

29.9

64.4

1971

533.5
(24.8)

38.0
(27.7)

80.0
(24.2)

1981

665.3
(24.7)

51.6
(35.8)

104.7
(30.9)

1991

838.6
(26.0)

67.8
(31.4)

138.2
(32.0)

Notes:

* Excludes the population of Jammu and Kashmir
** Excludes the population of Assam
1. Figures in parenthesis are percentage changes over previous counts.
2. The percentage change is computed after necessary adjustments by the Registrar General for 1951-61 and 1961-71.

Sources:Census of India, 1981 Series 1, paper 4 of 1984; 1971 Series 1 part II-c (i); 1961, Volume 1, Part II-c (i).

The distribution of scheduled tribe population for the states in India for 1991 is shown in Table 2. Majority of (83 percent) the scheduled tribe population in the country numbering about 68 million lives in the so called central tribal belt running through the hilly terrains of Maharastra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh.

Table 2. Distribution of ST population for major states, 1991 population

('000)

India/States

Total
population

Scheduled tribes

Population

% of Total Population

India *

838 584

67 758

8.1

Andhra Pradesh

66 508

4200

6.3

Arunachal Pradesh

865

550

63.7

Assam

22 414

2874

12.8

Bihar

86 374

6617

7.7

Gujarat

41 310

6162

14.9

Haryana

16 464

-

-

Himachal Pradesh

5171

218

4.2

Karnataka

44 977

1916

4.3

Kerala

29 099

321

1.1

Madhya Pradesh

66 181

15 399

23.3

Maharastra

78 937

7318

9.3

Manipur

1837

632

34.4

Meghalaya

1775

1518

85.5

Mizoram

690

654

94.8

Nagaland

1210

1061

87.7

Orissa

31 660

7032

22.2

Punjab

20 282

-

-

Rajasthan

44 006

5475

12.4

Tamil Nadu

55 859

574

1.0

Tripura

2757

853

31.0

Uttar Pradesh

139 112

288

0.2

West Bengal

68 078

3809

5.6

Note (*): Excludes figures of Jammu and Kashmir where 1991 census was not taken. No ST population.

Source: Union Primary Census Abstract for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, Paper 1 of 1993, Series 1, Census of India, 1991.

Among the major states in India, Madhya Pradesh has the highest percentage (23.3 percent) of ST population. Other states where the proportion of ST population is higher are Orissa (22.2 percent), Gujarat (14.9 percent) and Rajasthan (12.4 percent). In the northeastern states of Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram, and Nagaland, 90 percent of the population is tribal. However, in the remaining northeast states of Assam, Manipur, Sikkim, and Tripura, tribal population varies between 20 to 30 percent.

Tribal groups inhabit widely varying ecological and geo-climatic conditions (hilly, forest, desert etc) in different concentrations throughout the country with different cultural and socio-economic backgrounds. The economic life of the tribals is specific in nature. They are generally involved in food gathering and hunting, shifting cultivation, agriculture, artisanship, as pastoralists and cattle herders, folk artists and wage labourers.

Table 3. Percentage of forest area by state and percentage of tribal households by distance from the nearest forest

States

% forest area to
geographical area

Distance (km)

Less than 1

1-5

6-10

Arunachal Pradesh

61.6

15.7

57.7

12.7

Assam

39.2

10.8

26.5

8.2

Gujarat

9.9

14.1

31.2

9.3

Madhya Pradesh

34.8

15.1

50.0

18.8

Maharashtra

20.8

15.7

57.7

12.7

Manipur

67.9

18.8

68.7

0.7

Meghalaya

42.3

57.1

37.5

1.6

Mizoram

75.6

19.3

70.8

1.7

Nagaland

52.1

-

-

-

Orissa

36.7

13.9

55.5

18.8

Rajasthan

9.3

16.9

33.3

20.0

Tripura

60.0

19.8

51.2

10.8

All India

23.3

15.7

47.1

15.1

Note: The table presents data for only those states where ST concentration is high.

Source: Statistical Abstract, 2001; Sarvekshana, April-June 1994

Historically, the economy of most tribes was subsistence agriculture or hunting and gathering. A large number of tribals in rural areas are still dependent on forests for their livelihood. In the forest based tribal economy provisions for basic necessities like food, fuel, housing material etc. is made from the forest produce. Table 3 shows that around 16 percent of tribal households live within a distance of one km from a forest. The proportion is higher in the northeastern states. Meghalaya reported the largest proportion of its tribal households living within 1 km of a forest. In almost all the northeastern states over 95 percent of the tribal households reside within 5 km of a forest. In most of the states more than 60 percent of the tribal population resides within that distance from the forest. Thus, out of 68 million tribal people, a large percentage of whom live close to forest areas constitute the most disadvantaged section of society based on Per Capita income, literacy rate, health status and lack of access to basic amenities. In the following sections we have discussed the socio-economic profile of ST's using the NCAER-HDI survey data. In the paper, a state wise analysis of only ST concentrated states namely Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharastra and Northeastern region is presented.

ECONOMIC CONDITION

The survey shows that there is a higher incidence of poverty among the ST population. Overall, the Head Count Poverty and Capability Poverty ratios are considerably higher for the STs compared with the all India average and the SCs. More than half of the ST population is reported to be below poverty line. Similarly, capability poverty ratio is also 68 percent for STs compared to 60 percent for SCs and 52 percent for the whole population.

The survey also provides distribution of household income for various caste categories for rural areas. The household income of STs is Rs.19 556 and the per capita income is Rs. 3504, which is higher than that of SC population (Table 4), but much lower than that of the national average. This brings to fore the lack of access to asset and other types of employment and wage stability for the STs and SCs as compared to general population.

The data suggest that the share of income from agriculture is relatively high among STs in comparison with SCs. ST households also report a higher percentage of landholdings. The work participation rate of STs, especially that of females is higher than that of SCs whereas in the case of males there is no variation. Interestingly, it is observed that about 15 percent of the total incomes of all the three groups are from salaried occupations.

Table 4. Levels on income and material well-being


Scheduled tribes
(STs)

Scheduled castes
(SCs)

All

Household income (Rs.)

19556

17465

25653

Per capita income (Rs.)

3504

3237

4485

Work participation rate

Male

51.6

52.8

51.9


Female

27.7

23.0

18.4

Source of income:

Agriculture+allied

55.6

37.7

55.0


Salaried

14.8

15.2

16.5


Agricultural wage

11.7

19.7

7.9


Others

17.9

27.4

20.6

% households reporting land holdings

69.0

46.6

63.4

Poverty head count ratio %

51.0

50.0

39.0

*Capability poverty %

68.0

60.0

52.0

* CPM is a simple average of percentage of births unattended by trained health personnel, percentage of stunted children andfemale illiteracy rate.

Source: NCAER-HDI Survey, 1994.

Table 5. Levels on income and material well-being for selected states among STs

States

Per
capita
income

Head
count
ratio

HH
income

Source of income

% HHs
reporting land
holdings

Agri +
allied

Salaries

Agri
wage

Others

Gujarat

3720

53.7

21952

54.6

14.9

23.8

6.7

52.8

Madhya Pradesh

3158

50.7

18123

64.0

6.9

13.1

16.0

76.0

Maharashtra

3496

51.7

18863

55.8

10.5

19.6

14.1

57.2

*North Eastern Region

4684

-

26214

41.2

31.5

1.4

25.9

79.8

Orissa

2306

64.5

11615

62.8

6.8

9.2

21.2

72.0

Note: North Eastern Region includes Assam, Nagaland and Tripura
Source: NCAER-HDI Survey, 1994

In all the states more than half of the ST population is living below poverty line (Table 5). Among the states, the highest per capita income of tribals is found in the northeastern region. Similarly, among the states household income is also high in the northeastern region of the country. Data show that the main source of income for ST's is allied agriculture activities. In Madhya Pradesh around two-thirds of income of ST's is from allied agricultural activities. Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharastra also report agricultural wage as a source of income for ST's. A large number of ST's in the northeastern region are working as salaried employees. In all the states, more than half of the ST's have reported possession of landholdings.

SIZE OF LANDHOLDINGS AMONG STs AND SCs BY STATES

In rural India land is the most important productive asset and is also a symbol of power and privilege. Its possession enhances one's economic and social status. A look into the ownership pattern of land among STs, SCs and others may therefore be revealing in the context of their relative social and economic position.

Following the recommendations of several committees and commissions, many states with sizeable STs in their population have enacted laws prohibiting alienation of tribal land and also restoration of alienated land. Some of the states like Karnataka, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal enacted similar laws for the SCs as well.

Since Independence, comprehensive agrarian reform measures have been launched to reduce the glaring inequality in land distribution and to ensure land to the tiller. These measures constituted the largest body of agrarian legislation in the country. Several scholars have studied the impact of these measures on agrarian relations (Appu 1975, Bandopadhyay 1986). Researchers have also studied the trends in the distribution of landholdings in rural India (Sanyal 1977, 1988, Vyas 1979, Nair 1990, Sharma 1994). These studies, however, fail to throw much light on the changing access of SCs, STs and others to land and also the distribution of land among these communities separately. Again, not many studies are available which exclusively focus on the land distribution between SC and ST households. These two communities, particularly SCs, have been the target group of the numerous land reform legislations in the country since the 1950s. For example, it has been routinely reiterated in plan and other policy documents that while distributing surplus land, priority shall be given to landless SC and ST households.

The pertinent questions to be answered in this context include:

We make an attempt to answer these on the basis of data collected by the NSSO. The data on land distribution among all households are available since 1953-54 (8th Round), but that on SCs and STs are available since 1982 in the Report on landholdings (37th Round, NSS Report No. 300) and Report on some aspects of household ownership holdings (1) (48th Round, NSS Report No. 399). The percentage share of SCs, STs and other households separately in the total population and their share of land in the selected states or obtained from the NSSO data are presented in Table 7.

In rural India as a whole the share of land owned by other households declined from 82 percent to 78 percent. These changes, pari passu, imply an increase in the share of land owned by SC and ST households. And in fact the share of SC households increased from 7.89 percent to 10.34 percent and that of ST households from 10.10 percent to 11.72 percent for the country as a whole (Table 6). The proportion of land owned by ST households also increased in most of the states.

Table 6. Percentage of SCs, STs and others in total rural population and their share of land, 1982 to 1992

Year

Scheduled tribes (STs)

Scheduled castes (SCs)

Others

Population

Land

Population

Land

Population

Land

1982

9.2

10.1

16.8

7.9

74.8

82.0

1992

10.0

11.7

17.9

10.3

72.1

78.0

The ST households constitute nearly one-fourth of the rural population in Orissa and Madhya Pradesh and one-fifth in Gujarat (Table 7). During the decade 1982-92, the proportion of STs in rural population did not change substantially in any of the states. However, their share in land increased markedly in Maharashtra, Orissa and Rajasthan. In 1992, the percentage of total land owned by ST households was higher in relation to their share in rural population in Orissa.

Table 7. Percentage of STs in rural population and their share of land, 1982 to 1992

States

Year

Scheduled tribes (STs)

Population

Land

Assam

1982

-

11.6


1992

14.1

15.7

Gujarat

1982

19.1

10.4


1992

21.0

10.2

Madhya Pradesh

1982

27.8

23.8


1992

28.9

23.8

Maharashtra

1982

12.7

8.9


1992

13.3

11.4

Orissa

1982

24.3

26.0


1992

24.5

36.1

Rajasthan

1982

14.9

6.4


1992

15.4

9.4

Sources:

(i) Report on landholdings (1); 37th Round, NSS Report No. 330.
(ii) Report on some aspects of ownership holdings (1), 48th Round, NSS Report No. 399.

INCIDENCE OF LANDLESSNESS

The proportion of STs and SCs in rural population, as well as proportion of landless households among them, is quite high. However, overall there has been a decrease in the incidence of landlessness among all population groups except STs (Table 8). The incidence of landlessness among ST, SC and other households, along with the changes, during 1982-92 for selected states is shown in Table 9. It can be seen that the incidence of landlessness declined between STs in most of the states except in Madhya Pradesh and Orissa.

Table 8. Trends in incidence of landless households between the SCs and STs, 1982 to 1992

States

Year

Scheduled tribes (STs)

Scheduled castes (SCs)

Others

All India

1982

12.6

17.1

10.2


1992

13.3

11.5

10.5

Table 9. Trends in incidence of landless households between STs for states 1982 to 1992

States

Year

Scheduled tribes (STs)

Assam

1982

13.6


1992

5.7

Gujarat

1982

25.6


1992

10.9

Madhya Pradesh

1982

14.0


1992

16.6

Maharashtra

1982

28.8


1992

25.2

Orissa

1982

10.1


1992

11.0

Rajasthan

1982

8.7


1992

5.5

Sources:

(i) Report on landholdings (1); 37th Round, NSS Report No. 330.
(ii) Report on some aspects of ownership holdings (1); 48th Round, NSS Report No. 399.

The proportion of landless households declined in Gujarat, from 25.6 to 10.9 percent, in Assam from 13.6 to 5.7 percent and in Rajasthan from 8.7 to 5.5 percent. This may be perhaps due to the fact that many states with a sizeable ST population have enacted laws prohibiting alienation of and restoration of alienated tribal land. However, there is no such law for the SCs. SCs and STs have been the target group of the numerous land reform legislations in this country since the 1950s. Despite this the majority of SCs and STs still work as agricultural labourers. In 1987-88 the proportion of agricultural labourers was 52 percent among SCs, 42 per cent among STs and only 23 percent among other households.

Table 10. Average days worked per adult wage earner


STs

SCs

All

Agricultural wage work

Male days

133

143

145

Female days

115

119

124

Total days

125

133

137

Non-Agricultural wage work

Male days

131

155

157

Female days

95

127

133

Total days

120

149

152

All wage work

Male days

157

172

172

Female days

128

130

137

Total days

145

158

160

Source: NCAER-HDI Survey, 1994.

Table 10 shows average person days of wage employment in agricultural and non-agricultural work. Overall, access to wage employment is only 145 days for STs and 158 days for SCs respectively. Average no. of days worked per adult wage earner is less for STs both in agricultural as well as non-agricultural work.

Table 11. Adult wage rate for agricultural and non-agricultural wage work


STs

SCs

All

Agricultural wage work

All

16.8

21.8

20.9

Male

18.6

23.9

23.4

Female

14.5

17.8

16.4

F/M Ratio

0.78

0.74

0.7

Non-agricultural wage work

All

23.0

28.6

28.4

Male

24.6

30.5

30.5

Female

18.1

18.5

18.7

F/M Ratio

0.74

0.61

0.61

All wage work

All

18.9

24.2

23.6

Male

21.0

26.6

26.4

Female

15.3

17.9

16.9

F/M Ratio

0.73

0.67

0.64

Source: NCAER-HDI Survey, 1994.

Wage rates in both agricultural and non-agricultural sectors are also lower for STs (Table 11). The average daily wage rate for agricultural and non-agricultural work for STs is only Rs. 16.8 and Rs. 23 compared to 21.8 and 28.6 for SCs respectively. Similarly, the total wage rates for STs are also as low as Rs, 18.9 as against Rs.

24.2 for SCs. But gender differences in the wage rates are lower for STs as compared to SCs or total population. The f/m ratio for wages is high among the STs with respect to the total, agricultural and non-agricultural work.

ACCESS TO BASIC AMENITIES

As regards the availability of amenities such as percentage living in pucca houses, percentage having toilet facilities and percentage using PDS, STs are in much better position than the SC population. They are relatively disadvantaged when the access to protected water and electric connection are concerned (Table 12). Overall, however STs who are at the lowest levels in many spheres of economic indicators are worse off compared with the all India average.

Table 12. Access to basic amenities among ST, SC and total population (in percent)


Scheduled tribes
(STs)

Scheduled castes
(SCs)

All

Kutcha houses

47.0

66.6

55.4

Electric connections

29.7

30.7

42.9

Protected water

61.6

72.8

72.0

Having toilet

12.2

8.3

15.3

Using PDS

37.5

32.1

33.2

Source: NCAER-HDI Survey, 1994.

Among the states more than 70 percent of ST population in Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and Maharastra lives in kutcha houses (Table 13). Such houses generally lack adequate ventilation or natural lighting. A sizable population of tribes shares living rooms with cattle (Basu 1999). Only 5 percent of the ST population in Orissa reports electric connections. Similarly, use of PDS is also very low in Orissa. Data show that the STs have better access to protected water except in Madhya Pradesh and Orissa.

Table 13. Percentage of access to basic amenities for selected states among STs (in percent)

States

Kutcha
houses

Electric
connections

Protected
water

Using
PDS

Gujarat

48.2

43.6

71.9

46.9

Madhya Pradesh

70.7

35.6

55.1

37.6

Maharashtra

79.6

30.8

81.0

62.0

North Eastern Region

61.4

46.4

84.9

33.2

Orissa

89.8

4.9

41.5

5.3

Source: NCAER-HDI Survey, 1994.

EDUCATIONAL LEVELS AND SCHOOLING

Educationally, STs are worse off than the SC population and much worse off than the total population (Table 14). Literacy is a stock measure and it changes slowly over time. But a matter of concern is that the enrolment rate between the STs is only 60 percent compared with about 72 percent for all India and 63 percent for the Scheduled Castes. The enrolment is a flow variable and can be improved within a relatively shorter period of time. But a lager disparity in enrolment among the STs compared with the disparity in levels of literacy suggests that the STs female enrolment rate in elementary schooling have been falling in the immediate past. This also suggest that some sections of the STs are unable to utilize the schooling and educational opportunities provided by the respective state governments.

Another important fact to highlight is the onset of private schooling across India, more so in northern Indian states such as Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala. STs send their children relatively less to the private elementary schools compared with SCs as well as total population. Since, schooling and education is a state subject, important policy initiatives have to be taken by the states to set right this anomaly in providing equal opportunities and appropriate education at least at the primary and elementary levels. Considering education as one of the main parameter of human development, clearly the STs are lagers in most of the output indicators such as the literacy rate, enrolment rate, discontinuation rate and percentage of population (aged 17+ years) completing matriculation.

Table 14. Levels of literacy and schooling among ST, SC and total population



Scheduled
tribes
(STs)

Scheduled
castes
(SCs)

All

Literacy rate 7+ age

Total

39.9

41.5

53.5


Male

51.4

53.4

65.6


Female

26.0

28.2

40.1

Enrolment rate

Total

60.3

62.5

71.4


Male

67.6

69.6

77.1


Female

51.5

54.7

64.8

Discontinuation rate (Average for 6 - 14 years)

Total

7.2

7.0

6.0


Male

6.6

5.7

4.8


Female

8.0

8.8

7.6

% matriculates 15+ years

Total

4.9

4.9

8.6

Percent students aged 6 - 14

Total

3.2

5.8

9.8

years in private schools

Male

3.8

6.9

10.8


Female

2.3

4.2

8.3

Annual household expenditure on schooling

Govt. schools

397

450

539


Ailed schools

664

544

665


Private schools

869

832

1262

Source: NCAER-HDI Survey, 1994.

Table 15. Level of schooling for selected states among STs

States

Literacy rate 7+ age

Ever enrolment rate

Discontinuation rate
(Average for 6-14 years)

Total

Male

Female

Total

Male

Female

Total

Male

Female

Gujarat

38.5

49.2

27.3

65.4

72.8

56.4

10.7

10.5

11.1

Madhya Pradesh

30.3

42.8

16.8

50.4

57.1

42.9

9.6

9.6

9.6

Maharashtra

39.1

52.9

25.6

75.4

79.7

70.7

10.5

8.3

13.3

North Eastern Region

75.3

82.0

66.1

90.2

90.2

60.2

0.3

-

1.0

Orissa

28.1

40.8

15.5

42.9

54.7

31.9

7.3

7.4

7.1

Source: NCAER-HDI Survey, 1994.

Among the states, northeastern region has an exceptionally high literacy rate between the STs. Madhya Pradesh and Orissa have very low literacy rate especially among the females where only 15-16 percent of female above the age of 7 years are literate. As in the case of literacy rate, ever enrolment rate is also highest in the northeastern region where more than 90 percent of the children were ever enrolled. Discontinuation rates, especially among the females, are high in the states of Gujarat and Maharastra.

VARIATION IN LITERACY ACROSS STATES

Coefficients of variation in general literacy rates across states are shown in Table 16 separately for each of the population groups. Variation across states has diminished over time among each of the population groups as is evident from the falling trend in the coefficient of variation. The decrease is more in rural areas, among females as also between SCs and STs. Literacy in the states lagging behind is rising at a faster rate among each of the communities.

Table 16. Coefficient of variation across states in literacy rates, 1961-91


Scheduled tribes (STs)

Scheduled castes (SCs)

All population

1961

1971

1981

1991

1961

1971

1981

1991

1961

1971

1981

1991

Total

Person

68.6

61.1

64.9

54.8

55.9

47.0

43.2

37.0

41.8

31.9

28.3

23.7

Male

61.9

53.0

48.4

47.7

46.7

36.4

31.9

27.0

35.0

23.1

19.8

17.4

Female

117.0

98.5

82.3

75.3

113.1

85.8

75.5

59.0

62.0

52.9

46.0

39.0

Rural

Person

69.7

61.4

55.6

56.3

60.0

51.3

47.9

40.5

50.9

38.9

35.2

30.4

Male

63.2

53.3

48.9

48.7

49.2

39.1

35.1

29.2

41.1

26.8

24.0

20.6

Female

120.6

102.1

86.1

79.4

117.2

98.7

87.6

66.6

92.6

70.8

61.3

49.8

Urban

Person

74.9

57.6

53.1

48.0

39.0

29.7

28.3

24.2

28.8

11.9

12.6

11.9

Male

65.0

52.3

46.8

43.7

34.1

21.9

20.2

17.4

27.5

8.3

9.1

8.6

Female

103.8

74.6

67.0

57.1

64.6

52.6

47.6

37.2

33.6

18.9

19.4

17.3

Source: Computed from data presented in Census of India 1961-91.

Interstate variation is the lowest among urban males while it is the highest among rural females in each of the three population groups, viz. SCs, STs and all population.

HEALTH AND DEMOGRAPHICS

The health problems need special attention in the context of tribal communities. Studies have shown that tribals have distinctive health problems governed by their habitat, difficult terrains and ecological conditions (Basu 1999). When aspects of health and demographic rates are discussed a contrasting picture emerges. Both the fertility rates as well as infant mortality rates have been lower between the STs. Similarly, the morbidity and the disability rates are generally also lower between the STs compared with SCs and total population (Table 17) except the short duration morbidity rate, which is high among ST population. The contraceptive practice is high between the STs as compared to SC population. However, a dynamic look at the changes in all these factors over time suggests that relative differentials in fertility, mortality and family planning practice are declining over the past four decades and the differentials found recently are the lowest. Research has also conclusively proved that as the human development parameters improve the rate both of fertility and mortality falls. Thus there is a great prospect of India reaching the third and fourth level of demographic transition in the early decades of the next century and STs will be not lacking in contributing to important achievement.

The utilization of government provided health care services is relatively low between the STs. For example the percentage of women receiving ANC (5.7 percent), the numbers of deliveries conducted under the care of trained professionals such as the ANMs (31.9 percent) and the child immunization rates (39.5 percent) among the STs are low compared to SCs and the total population.

Table 17. Indicators of health and demographics among STs, SCs and total population


Scheduled tribes
(STs)

Scheduled castes
(SCs)

All

Short duration morbidity ('000)

130

124

122

Major morbidity (Per 100 000)

3377

4527

4578

% receiving ANC care

5.7

11.6

9.8

% delivery attended trained person

31.9

37.6

40.0

% children immunized (8 doses)

39.5

42.6

48.5

Immunized (All 8 doses)




Disabilities:

0 - 4 years/100 000

1881

40.3

37.2


5 - 12 years/100 000

2406

30.3

29.0

Severe malnutrition

0 - 4 years %

38.0

35

32


5 - 12 years %

30.2

4.7

4.3

Crude birth rate

35

35

32

Total fertility rate

4.4

4.7

4.3

Infant mortality rate

98

99

84

Contraception

33.9

31.4

35.7

% spacing methods

4.4

4.7

5.6

Source: NCAER-HDI Survey, 1994.

Scheduled Tribes generally report high infant and maternal mortality due to unhygienic and primitive practices for parturition. Moreover, expectant mothers are not immunized against tetanus. From the beginning of the pregnancy, no specific nutritious diet is consumed by women. On the other hand, some pregnant women start eating less to ensure that the baby remains small and the delivery may be easier. Also, the habit of alcohol consumption is also prevalent among the tribal women. They also continue with their hard labour during pregnancy. Deliveries are generally conducted at home, which also increases the susceptibility to various infections (Basu 1999).

Table 18. Health and demography indicators for selected states among STs

States

Short
duration
morbidity
('000)

Major
morbidity
(per 100 000)

%
delivery
attended
trained
person

%
children
immunized
(All 8
doses)

Crude
birth
rate

Total
fertility
rate

% EMW
using
family
planning
methods

Madhya Pradesh

225

4681

35.9

37.0

35

4.5

29.6

Gujarat

52

1445

48.2

72.2

36

4.2

46.1

Maharastra

91

3082

37.8

81.6

32

4.6

50.0

North Eastern Region

85

5773

35.4

24.3

24

5.0

35.9

Orissa

176

4430

7.6

33.2

32

4.1

24.8

Source: NCAER-HDI Survey, 1994.

Among the states, lowest short duration as well as major morbidity between STs is found in Gujarat (Table 18). On the other hand, Madhya Pradesh records the short duration morbidity rate of as high as 225 per 1000 population. Similarly, major morbidity in Madhya Pradesh between STs is also as high as 4681 per 100 000 population. As regards the utilization of MCH services, delivery attended by trained personnel and full immunization between STs is lowest in Orissa. Utilization of family planning services is high in Maharastra where at least half of the ST population has ever used any method of family planning. This percentage is lowest in Orissa.

SUMMING UP

Widespread poverty, illiteracy, malnutrition, absence of safe drinking water and sanitary conditions, poor maternal and child health services and ineffective coverage of national health and nutritional services are the factors responsible for the dismal health conditions prevailing among the tribal population in India (Basu 1999).

The number of STs has grown at a faster rate than others increasing their share in total population over the decades. The ST population in India has remained traditionally backward, in both economic and other social aspects, for historical reasons. Various policies of protective discrimination in favour of STs have been formulated and implemented. As a consequence both economic and social conditions of this community have improved. The impact of these policies has been in the desired direction but falls far short of the desired magnitude.

There is a higher proportion of poor among the ST population. Every alternate person belonging to SCs and STs is poor while every third person not belonging to SCs and STs is poor. Higher incidence and intensity of poverty between SCs and STs is perhaps a consequence of lower access to productive assets. In rural India land is the most important productive asset. Analysis of data on land ownership pertaining to the years 1982 and 1992 collected by NSS indicates that proportion of land owned by ST households also increased in most of the states. The STs had a higher share in land relative to their share in population in five states (Bihar, Karnataka, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal). It was nearly equal in Andhra Pradesh, Assam and Tamil Nadu. At the all India level the share of STs in population was 10.0 percent who had a share of 11.7 percent in land in 1992. Keeping in view the proportion of STs in rural population, proportion of landless households among them is quite high. However, there has been a decrease in the incidence of landlessness between STs. For instance in Gujarat the proportion declined from 25.6 percent to 10.9 percent during the same period.

Many states with sizeable ST population have enacted laws prohibiting alienation of and restoration of alienated tribal land. However, there is no such law for the Scheduled Castes. Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes constituted the target group of the numerous land reform legislations in this country since the fifties.

As regards the availability of amenities such as percentage living in pucca houses, percentage having toilet facilities and percentage of using PDS, STs are in much better position than SC population. They are relatively disadvantaged when the access to protected water and electric connection are concerned. Overall, however STs who are at the lowest levels in many spheres of economic indicators are worse off compared with the all India average.

Taking education as one of the dimensions in the determination of the level of human development, STs clearly are not the better performers if the output parameters like literacy rate, ever enrolment rate, discontinuation rate and percentage of population (aged 15+ years) completing middle level are considered. Data on literacy disaggregated at the level of states and social groups analyzed here indicate that literacy among population groups who were lagging behind initially (1961) such as the females, those living in rural areas, those belonging to SCs and STs, has been rising at a faster rate. Consequently, disparity in literacy among population groups has reduced over time. Interstate variation in literacy as measured by Coefficient of variation also shows a decreasing trend over time. This means that the backward states are improving at a faster rate. The population groups with still awfully low levels of literacy include ST females in rural areas of Andhra Pradesh (5.8 percent), Madhya Pradesh (7.6 percent), Orissa (7.6 percent) and Rajasthan (2.9 percent). Even after prolonged efforts we have failed to make satisfactory progress in raising literacy among such population groups. This is despite the claim of adequate infrastructure to ensure access to primary education and other incentives. The reason perhaps, lies deeper into the economic and social fabric including basic attitudes to education among certain socio-economic groups. Planners, administrators and academicians should pay serious attention to such deplorable conditions. A comprehensive evaluation study of various incentive schemes currently being implemented should be undertaken and necessary changes made on the basis of the findings of the study.

On coming to some of the health and demography related parameters, the following picture emerges. While as far as major morbidity rates are concerned, STs are better off than the rest. However, it is for variables like percentage of currently pregnant women receiving ante-natal care, percentage of married women having delivered last year with delivery being attended by a trained person, percentage of children immunized that the ST population loses out. Crude birth rate and total fertility rate are high and the contraceptive prevalence rate is also high between STs as compared to SCs.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Appu, P.S. 1975. Tenancy reform in India. Economic and Political Weekly 10(3, 4 & 5).

Bandopadhyay, D. 1986. Land reforms in India: an analysis. Economic and Political Weekly 21(25 & 26).

Basu, Salil. 1999. Dimensions of tribal health in India. A lecture delivered at National Institute of Health and Family Welfare. New Delhi.

Chakrabarty, G. & Ghosh, P.K. Human development profile of scheduled castes and tribes in rural India - a bench mark survey. Report No. 4. NCAER, New Delhi.

Nair, K.N. 1990. Structural changes in landholdings in India: a study based on NSS data. Working Paper No. 237. Trivandrum, Centre for Development Studies.

Sanyal, S.K. 1977. Trends in some characteristics of landholdings: an analysis. Sarvekshna 1(13).

Sanyal, S.K. 1988. Trends in landholdings and poverty in India. In T.N. Srinivasan & P.K. Bardhan, eds. Poverty in rural Asia. New Delhi, Oxford University Press.

Sharma, H.R. 1994. Distribution of landholdings in rural India, 1953 to 1981-82, implications for land reforms. Economic and Political Weekly 29(13).

Vyas, V.S. 1979. Some aspects of agrarian structure in Indian Agriculture. Indian Journal of Agricultural Economics 34(1).

Annex

SAMPLE DESIGN OF THE HUMAN DEVELOPMENT INDICATOR SURVEY

The rural sample of the Human Development Indicator (HDI) Survey covered 16 major states. The sample consists of 35130 rural households spread over 1765 villages in 195 districts. Out of these 33230 sample households could be successfully contacted to elicit data for analysis. The non-response rate, about 5 percent, is within tolerable limit for such a large-scale survey.

Sampling unit

The units of observation and analysis of this study are households. Many of the attributes of interest in this study pertain to individuals in the households such as currently pregnant women and children aged 5-12 years. However, preparation of a sampling frame of individuals would be prohibitively costly both in terms of time and money. As a compromise households have been selected as the final stage of sampling in this survey. Even the sampling frame in the form of a list of all households is neither available nor easily prepared. Therefore, a multistage sampling design had to be adopted for this survey. Multistage designs are generally less efficient from the viewpoint of sampling variability than sampling of individual units directly in a uni-stage sample. Utilizing some auxiliary information for stratification and varying probabilities of selection of sampling units at various stages could more than recover this loss of efficiency. The multistage sample design adopted here has been chosen on considerations of cost, both in terms of money and time, operational feasibility and precision of the estimates to be derived for various population groups of interest.

Stratification

Sampling error of the estimates derived from survey data depends on the design adopted and the sample size. This also depends on the variability in the universe from which the sample is drawn. The wider the variability in the universe the less precise will be the estimates derived from a sample. The stratification technique is to divide the universe into several strata with lower variability within each stratum and consequently more variability between strata. Since variability within strata is reduced the relevant parameter within a stratum can be estimated with more precision. These estimates pertaining to each stratum can then be suitably aggregated to arrive at the estimate pertaining to the universe. The ideal criterion for stratification is the same variable for which an estimate is sought. This, however, is not feasible to follow in practice. The second best way is to stratify the universe according to some other variable(s) highly correlated to the variable of interest. Stratification variables are chosen depending on availability of data and at times such data are collected before selecting the sample. In a certain situation a stratum itself may be of special interest for which separate estimates may be needed. A stratified sample readily provides such estimates. Technique of stratification has been used here at the stage of selecting sample districts and sample households from selected villages.

Varying probabilities of selection

It is sometimes advantageous to select sampling units with unequal probabilities instead of drawing a simple random sample. Simple averages as estimates turn out to be biased in such cases. However, the bias can be estimated and general for to get an unbiased estimate of the parameter. Such unbiased estimates often have lower sampling errors compared to the corresponding estimate obtained from a simple random sample. The technique has been used for selection of districts only by making the probability of selection proportional to the size of rural population in the district obtained from 1991 census.

The sample size

For any scientifically selected sample, sampling errors of the estimates will decrease as the sample size increases. This will be zeroing for the largest sample size such as in the case of census. Non-sampling error generally increase as the sample size increases due to various reasons such as involvement of a large number of persons and consequent difficulty in administration. Total errors in the estimates derived will be the sum of sampling and non-sampling errors. If one increases the sample size sampling error decreases while the non-sampling error increases. Sampling error also depends on the actual value of the parameter being estimated. If the actual value is small, as in the case of child mortality, we shall need a larger sample size to estimate the parameter with tolerable precision. However, in this study the absolute magnitude of such estimates is not so important.

The real objective is rank various population groups according to these estimated parameters. In this also one will feel really concerned only where the differences are large. A moderately large sample may be adequate for such purposes. A large sample, however, will tend to increase non-sampling error. Further, in a multipurpose survey like this different parameters will dictate different sample size. One has to choose a sample size taking account of these variations so that the total error in the estimate is minimized.

Selection of the rural sample

Selection of districts

Most of the parameters to be estimated out of the data collected through this survey are known to be correlated with income and female literacy. Data on female literacy are available in census publications. Detailed data on income are not easily available. However, in rural areas crop cultivation accounts for a major part of income for the majority of the households. Income from agriculture will thus be a good proxy for total income. Data on income from agriculture are available in publications of Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy. Keeping these and data availability in view rural female literacy and income from agriculture were chosen as stratification variables for the districts. In each state, districts were cross classified by income from agriculture and rural female literacy rate to form homogeneous strata in terms of these two variables. The number of such strata in a state was determined on considerations of the range of the stratification variables and the resulting frequency in each stratum. From each of these strata a preassigned number of districts depending on the size of the stratum were selected with probability proportional to rural population in the district.

Selection of villages

List of all villages in the selected districts was obtained from census records. A preassigned number of sample villages were, then selected linear systematically after arranging the villages in a tahsil alternately in ascending and descending order of rural female literacy. Sampling interval in each district was suitably chosen to make the design partially self weighting.

Selection of households

The households in the sample villages were listed along with some auxiliary information such as religion, caste, major source of income, cultivable land operated where major source of income was cultivation and other social and demographic attributes of the households. For large villages only a part of the village, selected at random, was listed and sample households selected out of these. These attributes of the listed households were used for stratification of the listed households.

Composition of population in terms of attributes like religion, caste, occupation are different in different states. Also population groups of interest are different in different states. The nature and number of strata of households formed in the states were therefore different. Two groups of listed households were separated as stratum 1 and stratum 2 in each of the states. These are:

Stratum 1: Households containing at least one pregnant woman.
Stratum 2: Households containing at least one child aged less than 12 months but no pregnant women.

The remaining households were stratified according to religion, ethnic group and occupation of the head of the households. The strata thus formed in various states along with allocation of sample households are shown in the following tables. Sample households from each of the non-empty strata, so formed, have been selected linear systematically. Sampling intervals were suitably chosen to make the design partially self weighting. Allocation of sample households in states and various strata are shown in the tables 1 to 6.

Name of state

Total number of districts

Number of sample

Households surveyed

Districts

Villages

Households

Haryana

16

11

90

1808

1722

Himachal Pradesh

12

8

65

1260

1225

Punjab

12

8

70

1373

1303

Bihar

42

12

116

2338

2155

Uttar Pradesh

63

23

217

4251

4036

Madhya Pradesh

45

25

217

4320

4162

Orissa

13

11

102

2040

1971

Rajasthan

27

12

106

2102

1984

Gujarat

19

10

88

1768

1606

Maharashtra

30

16

151

2998

2765

West Bengal

17

8

78

1560

1515

N.E States

60

8

66

1276

1233

Andhra Pradesh

22

12

113

2244

2100

Karnataka

20

15

135

2747

2523

Kerala

14

8

75

1500

1474

Tamil Nadu

20

8

76

1545

1456

All States

433

195

1765

35130

33230


[22] National Council of Applied Economic Research, New Delhi, India; E-mail: ashariff@ncaer.org
[23] National Council of Applied Economic Research, New Delhi, India; E-mail: ashariff@ncaer.org
[24] National Council of Applied Economic Research, New Delhi, India; E-mail: ashariff@ncaer.org

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