'Productivity increase will improve tribal ryots' lot' - The New Indian Express

'Productivity increase will improve tribal ryots' lot'

Published: 31st August 2013 08:19 AM

Last Updated: 31st August 2013 11:50 AM

Stressing the need to improve agricultural productivity in tribal areas, former member of the Planning Commission Ch Hanumantha Rao has said that the increase in agricultural productivity will help in bringing down poverty levels in tribal areas.

Addressing a one-day workshop on ‘Agriculture in tribal areas: A study on seven states in India” organised by the Centre for Economic and Social Studies (CESS) here on Friday, Hanumantha Rao said “There is strong correlation between agricultural productivity and poverty. Where agricultural productivity is more there is less poverty.’’

He said land productivity has been a major concern in the tribal areas. The agricultural production of tribal areas is less than 1/3rd of the total agricultural production in the country and if the productivity of the area is brought at least to the present average of the agricultural production of the country there will be a tremendous change in the lives of the tribal population.

Tribal farmers in particular have an intuitive understanding of natural farming techniques and are quite responsive to modern agricultural methods as well, he said and added that the government machineries should work in this direction and help them in increasing productivity.

Tribal women engaged in farming are very adoptive. More women should be encouraged to take up farming, he suggested.

Restoration of land base in the tribal areas is a major challenge and despite various laws to protect them, forest lands are vanishing at a great pace, he  said. Most of the tribal farmers have less than one acre of land and they are losing them due to acute poverty and debts, he said.

Former IAS office BN Yugandar expressing concern about the land alienation in the tribal areas said that the major cause for land alienation is indebteness of the tribal population. Another reason for land alienation is the opening of the tribal areas in the wake of development process.

Despite having stringent provisions under the Andhra Pradesh Schedule Areas Land Transfer Regulation of 1959 to protect the lands of the tribals in the Scheduled Areas, the tribals face alienation of their lands. The rate of alienation of tribal land is alarming in Andhra Pradesh. Non-tribals presently hold as much as 48 per cent of the land in Scheduled Areas of the state, he informed.

Of the 86 million tribals, 80 percent live in the middle belt of Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, northern Maharashtra and southern Gujarat. Around 10.2 million live in the Northeast. The rest are spread over the remaining states.

Director of CESS S Galab was also present.

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