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Use digital technology, change approch to empower tribals

Published: 17th November 2020 04:56 PM  |   Last Updated: 17th November 2020 04:58 PM  

Supreme Court Advocate Sanjay Upadhyay pushed for digitally empowering India’s tribal population and said unless we are serious about including tribals in the decision-making process, we will not get there.

Agreeing with him, Professor SB Roy, Chairman, Indian Institute of Bio-Social Research and Development, Kolkata, called for a change in approach in reaching out to the tribals. They were in conversation with senior journalist and author Kaveree Bamzai at TNIE Expressions, a series of live webcasts with prominent people. 

The digital empowerment of tribes will really happen when the right provisions of laws governing them are taken to each one of them via smartphones and internet, said Upadhyay. “The real crux is not digital information but digital empowerment and how you use technology in this day and age to really empower these communities with the correct information and provisions in a simplified form. That’s where we have lacked,” he said.

Roy added that more emphasis should be given on implementing the laws and integrating the framework that exists. “The tribals are located in remote areas, reaching them has been a problem. Digital technology is one of the devices through which we can reach them. Such technology can make a difference. Our own mental blocks have been an obstacle in the way of their development.

We often design training programmes following the school syllabus or pedagogy but for tribals, the approach should be andragogy,” he said. “We have the fast-growing approach, but a tribal’s learning is at a slow pace; they move with the ecological system. We need to think upside down. Our approach has been treating them as beneficiaries, instead of learning from them. We have got mechanical thinking, which needs to shift to organic thinking. A 360-degree turnaround in the way we think is what we need for their sustainable development,” Roy added.


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