2021 Status of Adivasi Livelihoods Report – Jharkhand and Odisha


Professional Assistance for Development Action (PRADAN), a non-governmental organisation based out of New Delhi, published this report on April 18, 2022. The report focuses on the livelihood of Adivasi communities in the states of Jharkhand and Odisha. It is the first report in a series planned to study the livelihoods of Adivasis across the country.

The report is based on a survey of 4,994 households (4,135 Adivasi and 859 non-Adivasi), conducted between March and May 2021 across 16 districts in Jharkhand and Odisha. Focus group discussions with Adivasi communities in 28 villages, and interviews with 40 intellectuals familiar with issues concerning Adivasi communities also form the basis of the report.

The displacement and dispossession of Adivasis is a result of the ‘modern development paradigm’ forced on them, the report notes. It also identifies areas like access to public services, income, food security and diet, in which households belonging to the Adivasi community and Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTG) are considerably deprived. PVTGs are those tribal groups which have a stagnant or declining population, forest-based livelihoods and extremely low literacy rates.

The 196-page report contains eight sections: Method of the study (Section 1); Social and cultural ethos in which livelihoods are practiced (Section 2); The resource base within which livelihoods are practiced (Section 3); Infrastructure and resource development (Section 4); Attributes of households surveyed (Section 5); Adivasi livelihood practices (Section 6); Livelihood outcomes (Section 7); and Women and livelihoods in Adivasi society (Section 8).


  1. The survey found that 95 per cent of Adivasi households in Jharkhand and Odisha comprised of either landless, marginal or small farmers. Of the total Adivasi households surveyed in Jharkhand, 11.7 per cent were landless and 77.1 per cent owned a marginal amount of land – defined as up to 2.47 acres in the report. Among Adivasi households surveyed in Odisha, 14.5 per cent were recorded as landless and 69.7 per cent as marginal.

  2. A test conducted to measure functional literacy found that 45 per cent of males and 63 per cent of females in the sampled Adivasi households in Jharkhand could not read or write at all. For non-Adivasi households in the state, the figures were 30 and 52 per cent for men and women, respectively.

  3. A gap in functional literacy between Adivasi and non-Adivasi households was also observed in Odisha where 55 per cent of males and 75 per cent of females from Adivasi households could not read or write. The corresponding figures for non-Adivasi households in the state were 38 per cent for males and 55 per cent for females. Among PVTG households, 42 per cent and 73 per cent of men and women respectively could not read or write.

  4. The report highlights the inequality faced by Adivasi villages while accessing the Public Distribution System (PDS) outlets. In Jharkhand, 58 per cent of Adivasi villages had PDS outlets compared to 67 per cent of non-Adivasi villages. Similarly, in Odisha, only 31 per cent of Adivasi and 40 per cent of PVTG villages had PDS outlets compared to 45 per cent of non-Adivasi villages.

  5. Of the Adivasi villages surveyed in Jharkhand, only 10 per cent of the villages had a secondary school.

  6. In Odisha, only five per cent of Adivasi villages had a secondary school. The number was higher in PVTG villages, 40 per cent of which had secondary schools.

  7. In Jharkhand, only one per cent of Adivasi villages (of the seven per cent that had applied) were granted their community forest resources (CFR) rights under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006. On the other hand, all three per cent of the non-Adivasi villages that had applied were granted these rights.

  8. A similar gap was noted in Odisha where 30 per cent of Adivasi villages, 35 per cent of non-Adivasi villages and 40 per cent of PVTG villages had applied for CFR rights. As per the report, only six per cent of Adivasi, 10 per cent of non-Adivasi and 20 per cent of PVTG villages had these rights granted.

  9. The average annual income of the surveyed Adivasi households was Rs. 75,378 in Jharkhand and Rs. 61,263 in Odisha. Annual household income among PVTGs in Odisha was even lower at Rs. 36,491.

  10. The survey measured the ‘dietary diversity’ – “food consumption that reflects household access to a variety of foods, and is also a proxy for nutrient adequacy of the diet of individuals”, as per the Food and Agriculture Organization, United Nations – among Adivasis and non-Adivasis. In Jharkhand, ‘acceptable dietary diversity’ was found in 54 per cent of Adivasi households compared to 77 per cent of non-Adivasi households. Around 43 per cent of Adivasi households in the state had ‘borderline dietary diversity’ and three per cent had ‘poor dietary diversity’.

  11. About 69 per cent of Adivasi households and 90 per cent of non-Adivasi households in Odisha had ‘acceptable dietary diversity’. The number, at 48 per cent, was much lower for PVTG households. ‘Poor dietary diversity’ was recorded in four per cent Adivasi, one per cent non-Adivasi and eight per cent PVTG households in the state.

  12. The report states the three factors that have immense impact on the livelihoods of Adivasis: the extent of land they own, the location of their homes in relation to the forests, and the household income. The economic status of Adivasis has stayed lower than the status of other social groups, the report concludes.

    Focus and Factoids by Shruti Chakraborty.

    PARI Library's health archive project is part of an initiative supported by the Azim Premji University to develop a free-access repository of health-related reports relevant to rural India.


Professional Assistance for Development Action (PRADAN), New Delhi


Professional Assistance for Development Action (PRADAN), New Delhi


18 Apr, 2022