Status of Adivasi Livelihoods 2022: Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh


Status of Adivasi Livelihoods is the second instalment in the series of reports on the lives of Scheduled Tribes (ST) and Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTG), prepared by the non-governmental organisation, Professional Assistance for Development Action (PRADAN). Published in August 2023, the report focuses on the livelihoods of Adivasis in the Central Indian states of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. The first instalment of this series focused on Jharkhand and Odisha and was published in the year 2021.

The data for this report was sourced from a survey of 6,019 households from 55 blocks across 22 districts of the two states covered. Of these, 4,745 households were Adivasi, 393 were PVTG, and the rest 881 were non-Adivasi households. The survey spanned two time periods: May to July 2022 for Madhya Pradesh, and May to August 2022 for Chhattisgarh. Focus group discussions were conducted with Adivasi communities in 50 villages, alongside interviews of 28 Adivasi and non-Adivasi experts in the field.

Despite the abundance of resources in the geographical terrain inhabited by Adivasis, they have not been able to access development, the report notes. The report associates such deprivation with multiple factors, the most important being “continuous dispossession and displacement”. The report notes the lack of consideration of the specific socio-economic context of Adivasis while implementing developmental policies.

This 336-document is divided into 8 main sections: Methodology of the study (Section 1); Social and cultural ethos in which livelihoods are practised (Section 2); The resource base within which livelihoods are practised (Section 3); Infrastructure and resource development (Section 4); Household attributes (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 about 86 percent of the Adivasi households in both Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh were either landless or small marginal farmers. Among these,  36.1 per cent of the Adivasi households in Madhya Pradesh and 15.2 per cent in Chhattisgarh were landless. 

  2. The PRADAN group conducted a functional literacy test in the surveyed households across villages in Madhya Pradesh. The outcome of the test revealed that 34 percent of males and 52 percent of the females in the Adivasi households did not know how to read or write and do basic calculations. In non-Adivasi households in the state, this share was 20 per cent for males, and 39 per cent for females

  3. In Chhattisgarh, the functional literacy test revealed the relative disparity between Adivasi and non-Adivasi households, as well the gender disparity within households. Here, 38 per cent of males, and 54 per cent of females in Adivasi households could not read or write at all. The corresponding figures for non-Adivasi households were 29 per cent for males and 46 per cent for females.

  4. In Madhya Pradesh, 9.1 per cent of the Adivasi households did not have any Public Distribution System cards to access facilities as compared to 24.1 per cent of the non-Adivasi households. In Chhattisgarh, 1.9 per cent of the Adivasi households and 0.8 per cent of the non-Adivasi households did not possess PDS cards.

  5. Of the Adivasi villages surveyed in Madhya Pradesh, only 11 per cent had secondary schools as compared to PVTG villages of which 30 per cent had secondary institutions. In Chhattisgarh, only 21 percent of the surveyed Adivasi villages had secondary schools.

  6. In Madhya Pradesh, only three per cent of the Adivasi villages (of the seven per cent that had applied), received their community forest resources (CFR) rights.

  7. The percentage of CFR rights being granted was notably higher in Chhattisgarh, where, out of the 29 per cent of Adivasi villages that had applied for the rights, 22 per cent’s appeals were sanctioned.

  8. The average annual income in Adivasi households was Rs. 73,900 in Madhya Pradesh, while in Chhattisgarh the figure was Rs. 53, 610. In Chhattisgarh, the average annual income of PVTG’s was particularly low at Rs. 43, 012.

  9. One of the metrics used for sampling in this survey was the measurement of food security and dietary diversity. In Madhya Pradesh, 58.7 per cent of the Adivasi households were reported to have “acceptable dietary diversity” as compared to 72.2 per cent of the non-Adivasi households. About 4.2 per cent of the Adivasi households had poor dietary diversity.

  10. In Chhattisgarh, the percentage of acceptable dietary diversity in Adivasi households was much lower as compared to Madhya Pradesh. About 36.3 per cent of Adivasi households, as compared to 46.9 percent of non-Adivasi households reported “acceptable dietary diversity”. The dietary diversity for PVTG households was particularly low, with only 16.8 per cent reporting an acceptable outcome.

  11. The report states that the poverty of Adivasis could be attributed to three main factors: lack of access to resources such as land and water, inability to harness capital and investment, and inaccessibility of government schemes, especially irrigation systems. Consequently, the financial condition of Adivasis is poor as compared to the non-Adivasi households, which have had better access to these amenities and resources, the report notes.

    Focus and Factoids by Debadrita Saha.

    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


Aug, 2023