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In India, tribal communities are concentrated in the rural areas and areas bordering forests. People from these communities depend on nature for their livelihood. It has increasingly become difficult for them to sustain their livelihood.They are ignored and shunned from society. Government and NGO sponsored tribal development programs have had limited success. 

Often, the benefit of the welfare programmes, particularly concerning the right to food, is denied to the tribal community exclusively based on the principle of social exclusion based on caste.

Here are some troublesome instances that have been reported.

The children of Birhor tribal community in Jharkhand, do not have access to the right to education and right to a midday meal at the school since the teachers do not allow them to eat at the school for the fear that the Birhor children will pollute the utensils.

Tribal children cannot have access to the facilities provided from the Anganwadi Centre (AC; child care centre) under the Integrated Child Development System as the tribal women do not have any priority to be employed as a worker for the centre.

Sixty-two children have died of malnutrition in Khalwa Block of Khandwa district since May 2008. They were all from the Korku community.

Tribals in other states such as Rajasthan, Bihar, and Andhra Pradesh too seem to suffer the same fate.  A social stigma has been attached to the tribals.  Governments should at some point stop blaming this situation on the ‘primitive practices’,  and ‘food culture’ of the tribals and take a more pragmatic approach that would lead to assimilating the tribals in our society. Not discriminating against them.  Read more here.

Good resource to find out more about the tribes of India is http://tribes-of-india.blogspot.com/

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