Perpetual poverty condition in India's tribal regions has been explained through structural factors like breaking down of the forest-based livelihood systems, social as well as political alienation, and physical remoteness. The developmental processes tried to mitigate these disadvantages rather than correcting the basic discrimination faced by the communities. Notwithstanding these structural constraints, tribals have also experienced certain changes in the socio-economic milieu. These pertain to literacy, mortality, crops and markets, transport and mobility, and people's perceptions about their well-being. Ideally, these should have resulted in a substantial reduction in poverty, which however, is defied by the recent evidence. In fact, incidence of poverty is found to be significantly high in some of the backward regions like South-West Madhya Pradesh (MP), with more than 60 per cent of its people in poverty.
Does this imply that developmental processes in these regions have
almost no links with poverty reduction? And, that the incidence of poverty continues to be largely explained by the structural factors like access to means of production, growth of population, adoption of crop-technology, and indebtedness? Whether developmental changes have led to further marginalisation and polarisation within the community? These questions have been examined in the context of South-West MP, characterized by predominantly tribal population and perpetually high incidence of poverty. The proposed paper will examine (a) correlates of poverty and changes over time across regions in the state; and (b) interface between development and poverty, especially long duration poverty within a micro-setting in South-West MP. Whereas the former will use secondary data for 1983 and 1993-94, the later will be based on primary data from two villages.
Poverty among tribals in South West Madhya Pradesh:has anything changed over time?[Draft], presented at Staying Poor: Chronic Poverty and Development Policy, Institute for Development Policy and Management, University of Manchester, 7-9 April 2003. Chronic Poverty Research Centre (CPRC), Manchester, UK, 33 pp.