1st Edition

Tribal Development Report Livelihoods

    336 Pages 46 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge India

    336 Pages 46 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge India

    336 Pages 46 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge India

    This book sheds light on the status of tribal communities in Central India with respect to livelihoods, agriculture, natural resources, economy, and migration. Written by noted academics, thematic experts, and activists, this first-of-its-kind report by the Bharat Rural Livelihoods Foundation brings together case studies, archival research, and exhaustive data on key facets of the lives of Adivasis, the various programs meant for their development, and the policy and systems challenges, to build a better understanding of the Adivasi predicament.

    This volume,

    • Provides a broad overview of the contemporary macro-economic situation of Adivasi communities, with a special focus on the challenges of agriculture, land, energy, and water use, especially groundwater;
    • Highlights the need to move into a new paradigm of agro-ecology based, nature-positive farming, and sustainable water use, driven by local institutions;
    • Examines the neglect faced by tribal areas in the development of infrastructure in various dimensions, from irrigation to energy;
    • Shares insights on the invisibility of tribal voices in the policy processes, and how political empowerment will enable socio-economic changes for the Adivasis at grassroot levels;
    • Discusses the Adivasi informal sector and the state of migrant workers, whose plight drew national attention during the recent Covid pandemic.

    Companion to Tribal Development Report: Human Development and Governance, this book will be of great interest to scholars and researchers of indigenous studies, development studies, and South Asian studies.


    Mihir Shah and P.S. Vijayshankar

    1. Macro-Economic Situation of Scheduled Tribes in India with a Focus on Central Indian Tribal Belt    

    Sayantani Sathpathi

    2. Tribal Agriculture: Context and Challenges          

    P.S. Vijayshankar

    3. Managing Groundwater Across the Diverse Central Indian Drylands: The Need For A Nuanced Approach           

    Siddharth Patil, Neha Bhave, P.S. Vijaysankar, and Himanshu Kulkarni

    4. Urban Underclasses and Industrial Serfs of Transforming Tribal Central India: Survival Realities of Footloose Tribal Migrants     

    Ajay Dandekar, Rahul Ghai and Pramathesh Ambasta

    5. Improving Adivasi Access to Energy and Infrastructure  

    Pramathesh Ambasta

    6. Land and Tribal Human Development: Part I          

    Pradip Prabhu

    7. Land and Tribal Human Development: Part II         

    Pradip Prabhu


    Mihir Shah has co-founded the Samaj Pragati Sahayog in 1990 and has spent the past three decades living and working in remote, central tribal India, forging a new paradigm of inclusive and sustainable development. From 2009 to 2014, he was Member, Planning Commission, Government of India, chiefly responsible for drafting the paradigm shift in water enunciated in the 12th Five Year Plan, as also a makeover of MGNREGA, with a renewed emphasis on rural livelihoods, based on construction of productive assets. In 2019, the Government of India invited him to chair a Committee to draft the new National Water Policy.

    P.S. Vijayshankar is co-founder of Samaj Pragati Sahayog, one of the largest civil society initiatives in water and agriculture based in Central India. He has lived and worked among the tribal communities for over 30 years. He was a Visiting Scholar at the Centre for Advanced Study of India (CASI), University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA, (2011) and is currently Adjunct Faculty at Centre for Public Affairs and Critical Theory (C-PACT), Shiv Nadar University, Delhi. He is the Founding Director of Nature Positive Farming and Wholesome Foods Foundation (N+3F), a company engaged in the promotion of sustainable agriculture.

    Bharat Rural Livelihoods Foundation (BRLF: http://brlf.in) was set up by the Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India as an independent society with the aim of upscaling civil society action in partnership with government, with a focus on the Central Indian tribal region. Together with its civil society partners and several state governments, BRLF is working with hundreds of thousands of, mostly tribal, households, to eliminate poverty and deprivation, develop climate resilient sustainable livelihoods, create empowered community institutions led by women, and build capacities and tribal leadership at the grassroots. This Tribal Development Report has been anchored by BRLF’s research vertical.