eBook | Globalization and other challenges to customary, civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights of tribal communities: Government report – Kerala

Photo: Tribal elder in Wayanad © Arun VC >>


1.1 Background

The Scheduled Tribes (STs) in the country are the groupings of historically disadvantaged people that are given express recognition in the Constitution of India. | To read the full police report to the Government of Kerala, click here >>

The Scheduled Tribes in the state of Kerala is largely heterogeneous and each community has different traditions, social custom, beliefs, rules, and practices. Census (2011) identifies 35 tribal communities in Kerala with 1.20 percent of the state’s total population. Wayanad has the highest number of tribes with 37.36 percent, followed by Idukki and Palakkad (14 percent and 10.89 percent, respectively) which constitutes for more than 60 percent of STs in the State (KSPB, 2013). A socio-economic survey conducted by the Scheduled Tribes Development Department during 2008-10 in association with Kerala Institute of Local Administration and local bodies revealed that the total families of Scheduled Tribes in Kerala are enumerated as 1,07,965 spread over in all the 14 districts of the State.

Wayanad District has 36,135 Scheduled Tribe families (33.47%) followed by 14,315 families (13.26%) in Idukki, 13,223 families (12.25%) in Palakkad and 11598 families (10.74%) in Kasaragod. Seventy eight per cent of Scheduled Tribe families in the State are located in five districts, namely; Wayanad, Idukki, Palakkad, Kasaragod and Kannur. (Scheduled Tribe Development Department, Govt. of Kerala)

The tribal communities in Kerala have been historically marginalized and oppressed by various development factors and forces. The policies and schemes implemented by successive governments at the Centre and the state have further worsened the situation. The challenges to their civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights have been critical today, insofar as they perpetuate extreme form of deprivation in many ways. Their customary rights over natural resources such as forests, cultural identity, and traditional knowledge, including intellectual property rights, cultural heritage and traditional wisdom have been continuously at stake due to the interplay of various factors and forces. (Nithya, 2014)

Many studies show that, even after sixty years of formation of the state, tribals continue as one of the most marginalized community within the state, the post globalized developmental projects and developmental dreams of the state has again made the deprivation of the tribals of Kerala and the developmental divide has increased between the tribal and non-tribal in the state. Despite government initiatives, the existing socio-economic profile of the tribal communities is low compared to the mainstream population. The instruments of globalization have not rendered any positive impact in achieving the intended objectives of social security to the indigenous people. […]

Source: Impact of Janamaithri Suraksha Project on the Safety/Security of the Tribal People in Kerala: Submitted to: Home Department, Govt. of Kerala by Dr. Celine Sunny (Executive Director)
URL: https://keralapolice.gov.in/media/pdf/publishing/janamaithri/study-reports/security-of-the-tribal-people-in-kerala.pdf
Date visited: 4 July 2019

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