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In a global context, Liberalization, Privatization and Globalization (LPG policy) are no longer an
option but a fact. Whether one likes it or not, it is bound to influence all spheres of life and
activities. Developing countries like India may have to learn to manage the process far more
skillfully and efficiently for the development of the country.

In the broad setting of reforms in many countries in the 1980s, India was an apparent anomaly.
India was at the crossroads. She was facing a macroeconomic crisis that required immediate
attention. The macroeconomic crisis provided the opportunity and the necessity to address
meaningfully the inefficiencies in our policy framework that had altered our economic
performance and to begin constructively the task of undertaking the necessary microeconomic or
structural reforms that had long been overdue. The reform process began in India in 1991.
The reform process has affected the indigenous communities of India, particularly their culture,
languages and style of life. The indigenous people are largely the deprived section of India. They
continue to become poorer due to the impact of reform measures. The paper studies the process of
adverse impacts of reform measures on the indigenous communities of India with some case
Liberalization denotes deregulation and de-licensing of industry, relaxation of industry entry
barriers and removal of restrictions on capacity expansion. Privatization in a narrow sense
indicates transfer of ownership of a public-sector undertaking to private sector, either wholly or
Globalization is a “process of trans-nationalization of production and capital, and standardization
of consumer tastes and their legitimization with the help of international institutions like World
Bank, IMF and WTO.
The tribal population of India (67.6 million) around 7 percent of the total population is larger than
that of any other country in the world. The rural and urban male population is 3,17,55,930 and
26,07,341 respectively. The rural female population is 3,09,95,096 while the urban female
population is 24,00,013. In spite of the protection given to the tribal population by the Constitution
of India (1950), tribals still remain the most backward ethnic group in India. They rate very low
on the three most important indicators of development: health, education and income.

It is estimated that owing to construction of over 1500 major irrigation development projects since
independence, over 16 million people were displaced from their villages, of which about 40 per
cent belong to tribal population. The government and the planners are aware of

a. the eroding resource base and socio-cultural heritage of tribal population through a
combination of development interventions, commercial interest, and lack of effective legal
protection to tribal
a. the disruption of life and environment of tribal population owing to unimaginative,
insensitive package of relief (Planning Commission, 1990). Still the development process
continued unmindful of displacement.
A common feature shared by most of the tribal people is their remoteness and marginal quality of
territorial resources. In the past, exploitation of such poor regions was found both difficult and
uneconomic. But, the recent rapid technological advancement and unrivalled economic and
political strength of world capitalism, and the rising power of neo-colonialism through the G-8
directly and the IMF, WB, IBRD, etc., as agencies, have created favourable conditions for the
evasion and extraction of natural resources from the ecologically fragile territories of tribal people.
Thus, forced evictions of tribals to make way for mammoth capital-intensive development projects
have become a distressing routine and ever-increasing phenomenon.
There is a heavy concentration of industrial and mining activities in the central belt. All the massive
steel plants, BALCO, NALCO, heavy engineering concerns etc. are based here. Most river basin
development schemes and hydropower projects, a chain of forest-based and ancillary industries
and an increasing number of highly polluting industries are located in this region. Despite intense
industrial activity in the central Indian tribal belt, the tribal employment in modern enterprises is
negligible. Apart from the provisions of Apprenticeship Act, there is no stipulation for private or
joint sector enterprises to recruit certain percentage of dispossessed tribal workforce. The tribals
are forced to live in juxtaposition with alien capitalist relations and cultures, with traumatic results.
They are forced onto the ever-expanding low paid, insecure, transient and destitute labour market.
About 40 per cent of the tribals of central India supplement their income by participating in this
distorted and over exploitative capitalist sector. Many more are slowly crushed into oblivion in
their homeland or in urban slums. This is nothing short of ethnocide. Their economic and cultural
survival is at stake.
India happens to be the second most dammed country in the world. It has invested over Rs. 300
billion on dams and hydropower projects by 2000.Nearly 60 per cent of these large dams are
located in central and western India where about 80 per cent of the tribals live.
There is no reliable and complete information on the number of tribals displaced in the country
since independence. The estimates range between 5 and 7 million - mostly by the dams, followed
by mines and industries - or approximately one in every ten tribals has been displaced by different
developments projects.

Land is very important component for tribal development. It occupies their source of livelihood.
But the globalization trend has alienated tribals from their mainstay. Over a period of time, the
tribal communities have tended to get eroded not only through acquisition for public purpose but
even fraudulent motives. The states affected by alienation of land are Andhra Pradesh, Madhya
Pradesh, Karnataka and Gujarat. Various studies have pointed out that the lack of political and
administrative will continues to be the cause for perpetuation of the problems of land alienation
among the tribals.
The global economy has overburdened the tribals with various debts due to inadequate livelihood
resources. The lack of education, purchasing power and lack of resources for engaging in gainful
activity has led to indebtedness for tribal communities . The indebtedness of tribals pushes them
into extreme conditions of poverty and forces them to dispense with their meagre resources. Due
to neo-liberal economy, the tribal persons have been pushed into severity of indebtedness as they
are unable to continue their lifestyle based on their traditional notions. Lack of sound policy to
support consumption credit to tribals has tended to make them dependent on usurious money-
lenders resulting in debt-bondage.


The tribal communities being primitive, is based on forests areas for their survival. Although they
live in isolation in forest areas, they are having harmonious relationship with forests and species.
But the development of wildlife sanctuaries and eco-parks devastate their habitat and displace their
living. During neo-colonialism, the developed countries have continued their dominance over
developing countries for regulating their economy. Due to it, the local technology, culture and
economy were delegitimized and turned into imperialism. The emergence of community forest
management has led to growth of state control over their natural habitat. Although state through
provision of PESA, 1996, safeguards their rights of livelihood upon forest produce yet, the multi-
national corporations have diluted its intrinsic nature of safeguarding their ownership over forests
and natural resources.

As far as neo-liberal development has advanced, the tribal community has been engulfed into
abject poverty. During 1999-2000, the percentage of poverty has been ranging between 45.86 and
41.14. The root cause for all these is the perceived dissatisfaction with the existing conditions and
failure to receive benefits and facilities promised to them (ibid). Globalization based on
individualistic nature, internalises selfishness and consumerism among the primitives.
The basis of globalisation is an economy pursing the highest profit at any cost. Consumerism, the
use of goods based on artificially created needs, is its way of ensuring the producer’s high profit.
Globalisation is also natural resource-intensive. It results in a greater impoverishment of the
majority, but the middle class gets its benefits (Fernandes, Walter). Due to scarcity of resources,
the tribes are always out of access of enjoyment of these benefits. According to the International
Labour Organisation (ILO), 12 million jobs were lost during the first six years of liberalisation,
and more later (ibid). This apparent absence of alternatives increases the sense of helplessness of
the tribals who are among the worst victims of globalisation, and legitimises the consumerist
society which impoverishes them(ibid). Even endorsement of their policy by government leads to
provision of extraction of resources from tribal areas at indiscriminate manner. Even the study by
Planning Commission pin point towards increase in poverty ratio for STs during 1999-2000. The
nexus between state and market has infuriated the tribal people against unilateral development
model in India. The lack of employment opportunity and recession from various industries has
worsened the situation in cycle of poverty. In the mid- 1980s, Coal India began to mechanise its
mines and transfer employees to other mines instead of giving jobs to displaced persons. In one
project alone, the first 5 of the 25 mines under construction in the Upper Karanpura Valley of
Jharkhand are expected to displace 1,00,000 persons, over 60% of them Dalits and tribals (ibid).

One of the ways of globalisation in India is disinvestment or privatization. The profit making
enterprises like BALCO, which are in the tribal belt, have been privatized. PSEs in the tribal belt
were beneficial to tribal people giving them employment and livelihood. Privatization of these
enterprises has adversely affected the tribal people and disturbed the regional balance in terms of
industrialization. Tribal population largely dominates in the state of Chattisgarh. The land on
which Balco stands is the tribal land that was bought or leased to the company, which was a public
sector undertaking and for public purposes. The land was acquired at low prices as low as Rs.20
per acre.
Some case studies were done to bring out the impact of globalization
on the tribal communities in India.

1. Narmada people’s struggle

Living in the mountains and plains of the Narmada river valley, stretching for 1,300 km through
Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, and Maharashtra, the natural resource based communities struggle
against displacement, state repression, and the destruction of natural resources resulting from the
Narmada Valley development projects. The Narmada Bachao Andolan (Movement to Save the
Narmada), was formed to fight not only for rights over economy, environment, and livelihood, but
also for personhood, for humanity itself. The policy of ‘Amra gaon ma amra raj’ (our rule in our
village) the villagers resisted state collusion with globalisation. ‘Indigenous peoples’ unity has
thrown them ‘Ham Sab ek Hai’. The people’s movements raised slogans like ‘vikas chahiye, vinas
nahin’ (we want development and not destruction). The fight against centralization of knowledge
and natural resources is a fight against globalisation.

2. Bhopal Gas Tragedy

Hundreds of thousands of survivors of Union Carbide corporate crime in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh
State, still waiting for compensation for illnesses resulting from the gas leakage 15 years ago.

3. Orissa State
Several Adivasi communities or indigenous people are spread over the Eastern Ghats across the
southern and eastern region of the Indian sub-continent. The effects of globalisation have had far
reaching consequences in the Eastern Ghats. They have missed their old home lost their gods,
fields, trees.

4. Andhra Pradesh
It is the first state in Asia to directly invite the World Bank to implement its Structural Adjustment
Programme. Under the new economic policies of the state, revenues are to be earned from lucrative
sectors like sale of liquor. When tribal women opposed to allow the liquor mafia to set up its outlets
in the tribal villages, they were brutally ‘punished’. The state government is going ahead with its
liberalization policies in these remote tribal areas by inviting multinationals and Non Resident
Indians for taking up tourism, mining, film, agro-based and other industries in the name of tribal
5. Special Economic Zones: At Any Cost?

No other economic 'reform' in India has seen such a rapid expansion of militant protests and
conflicts as Special Economic Zones (SEZs). Local inhabitants, particularly in Raigad
(Maharashtra), Jhajjhar (Haryana) and Nandi gram (West Bengal) cutting across caste, class and
party affiliation rose up in revolt, with Nandigram seeing the most militant uprising leading to at
least 14 deaths in police firing on 14 March 2007. These come in the wake of growing struggles
against land acquisitions for industries met nonchalantly with deadly state terror, as in Kashipur,
Lanjigarh and Kalingangar in Orissa, Singur in West Bengal or Bastar in Chattisgarh turning
central India into a war torn zone.

The intensification of the expropriation of livelihood resources of the masses since the 1990s with
the launch of the New Economic Policy, followed by LPG policy, facilitated by the troika – the
World Bank, International Monetary Fund and World Trade Organization – has seen an outburst
of conflict between the state and the people.

SEZ that promises to usher in a new era of rapid growth and employment as never before evoke
intense debate. The West Bengal government has put all SEZ's on hold. The Orissa government
has dropped the plans for a large multi product SEZ in Kalinga Nagar. Punjab and Haryana are
revising rehabilitation policies. Maharashtra government is planning to reduce the size of the
planned MahaMumbai SEZ. The Finance Ministry and the Reserve bank of India are unhappy with
the SEZ policy on grounds that the policy offers excessive exemptions, which will lead to revenue
loss and spur real estate speculation. The Rural Development Ministry objected to the large-scale
acquisition of agricultural land threatening spinning off further food insecurity. The IMF and the
Asian Development Bank have criticized the tax exemptions being provided making SEZ
‘business-friendly’ rather than ‘market-friendly’, inherently violating market principles and
market reform which they ardently promote.
Tribals are part of the Indian society, at the same time they are different. Age old exploitation and
repression of the tribals, have cut them off from the main stream of socio-economic development
of the country as a whole. The tribal population is identified as the aboriginal inhabitants of our
country. They are most vulnerable section of our society living in natural and unpolluted
surrounding far away from civilization with their traditional values, customs and beliefs. The gains
of globalization have so far accrued to those who already have education and skill advantage,
easier market access and possession of assets for use as collateral to access credit. For the tribals,
globalization is associated with rising prices, loss of job security, lack of health care and tribal
development programmes. Globalisation may also weaken the constitutional protections, in terms
of education and job reservations given to tribals. Hence the Government should frame Special
policy and programmes that are required to address these differences especially on the context of
globalization. When we plan for tribal development, we have to regard these differences, take a
special note of their situations and capabilities and provide them facilities to develop on the line
they want to take. If globalisation were superimposed on a poorly educated and poorly-trained
tribal people, particularly in states like Bihar and Jharkhand with poor systems of governance and
infrastructure, it would not lead to growth nor reduce poverty. Globalisation may no longer be an
option, but a fact. However, it must be implemented with a human face. It is expected that the
Museum of Tribal Arts and Artefacts will have a positive and constructive contribution towards
this goal.

Indian Journal of Dalit and Tribal Studies (IJDTS) Volume-2, Issue-2, July-Dec 2014, pages 37-54, ISSN
: 2348-1757
Rangarajan C., “The New Economic Policy and the Role of the State”, in Uma Kapila (ed.), Indian Economy
Since Independence, p. 69.
Indian Journal of Applied Research Volume: 4 | Issue: 10 | October 2014 | ISSN - 2249- 555X. Impact Of
Globalisation on Tribes in India by B. Ezhilarasu Assistant professor in Economics T.S.Naryanaswami
college of Arts and Science, Navalur – 600103.
Statistical profile of Scheduled Tribes in India, 2013, Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Statistics Division .Govt.
of India.
Joshi Vidyut (ed.): "Tribal Situation in India", Rawat Publication, 1998, pp.15
Kapila Uma, Understanding the Problems of Indian Economy, p.482. Also refer Globalization and
Inequality: Historical Trends by Kevin H. O’Rourke in Annual World Bank Conference on Development
Economics 2001/2002, p. 40.
Rakesh Kalshian, “Sterlite Brings Darkness to India's Indigenous Peoples”, India Resource Center, June
16, 2004