Impact of Globalisation on Tribals

The Impact of Globalisation on the Tribal Communities

Impact of Globalisation on Tribals
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Nearly half of the world’s tribal population resides in India. India, accounts for more than 84 million tribal people. People belonging to the 698 communities of STs is 8.2% of the overall population, which is larger than that of any random country.

Tribals are an important component of the Indian society, yet they are quite extinct at the same time. The natives of a country are normally addressed as the tribal  population.

They are the most vulnerable people, living in a natural, pollution-free environment  distant from civilization, with traditional values, rituals, and beliefs. This is despite the protection given to tribals in the Constitution of India (1950).

The wave of globalisation has impacted several  aspects of this multi-dimensional Indian society, including livelihood, work, socio-cultural life, ethnic and traditional practises, health, education, women, impoverished and socially backward sectors, and all in various different ways. 

According to one anthropological survey, India today has a total of 4,635 communities, with  732 tribal communities. The tribals of India have been severely impacted by the process of  globalisation, and as such the tribals all over the world have been adversely impacted by globalisation..

The divide between the affluent and the impoverished has widened.

Globalisation usually favours people with a lot of money, skills, and opportunities. It however may not be such a great thing for the poor, especially for tribals who have been the victims of unfairness manifested through the traditional poverty and economic disparities.

The impact of globalisation is the worst for the tribal communities as they have no voice and thus they are easily swept aside by the invisible hands of the market and its operators.

Globalization has brought devastation to the lives of indigenous people all across the world despite the fact that the degree of oppression and marginalisation varies from region to region and from ethnic group to ethnic group.

In recent days, primitive tribes of Odisha have seen tremendous socio-economic upheaval. It is quite time to understand the significance of these societal changes to understand the current state of the native communities.

Tribals are typically thought of as the native inhabitants of mountainous terrains and dense woods. They are the earth’s sons who live in isolation and far away from the rest of civilization. We know relatively little about many aspects of their lives. They are sometimes also dismissed as an illiterate group.

However, the tribals have  been affected by these large-scale socio-economic transformations that have taken place in modern industrialised civilizations.

As a result, it’s critical for us to examine the changes that have taken place as a result of the interaction with the broader culture and the process of evolution among these primitive peoples today. 

Steady Progress Of Globalisation In India 

Steady progress of globalisation in India 

Globalization, as previously stated, is a “process of transnationalization of production and capital, as well as standardisation of consumer tastes and legitimization with the help of  international institutions such as the World Bank, IMF, and WTO, and thus obviously the  process is a move towards a borderless regime of free trade and transactions based on competition.”

Its purpose is to integrate India’s economy towards the world economy, “which had been on the edge of collapse since the 1980s and required immediate attention. Globalisation arrived in India in 1991, thanks to the efforts of the then Prime Minister Shri P.V. Narashima Rao.

At the time, Dr. Manmohan Singh was the Finance Minister, and he was the one who pushed for policy changes. Among the most important reform issues are fiscal policy reform, monetary policy reform, pricing policy reform, external policy reform, industrial policy reform, and foreign investment policy reform.”

Because India has been stigmatised by widespread poverty, it has been necessary to adopt various poverty reduction programmes in the recent decades.

These programmes included “Garibi Hatao” (poverty eradication), self employment creation (SEC), Food for Work (FFW), asset-building programmes, and wage  employment creation (WEC).

These programmes were primarily targeted at poor or very poor  families, the majority of whom were from tribal tribes, based on income thresholds. Most  programmes, however, are funded by the government, and as a result, recurring financial  shortfalls frequently result in programme termination or reduced efficacy.

However, as a result of globalisation, resource allocations to these programmes have taken a significant impact in  actual terms.  

Case Study Of Odisha And The Impact Of  Globalisation On Tribals

Odisha And The Impact Of  Globalisation On Tribals

Odisha is a state in eastern India that has always been in the spotlight when it comes to it’s tribal population. The influence of globalisation on tribals in the Koraput-Bolangir-Kalahandi (KBK) districts is examined in this paper.

The interference of multinational businesses in the tribal lands of Koraput, Bolangir, and Kalahandi has long been a cause of controversy. So, before going on to the following phase,  it’s crucial to analyse the KBK district’s socioeconomic and political composition.  

Tribals of Odisha have a wide spectrum of cultural and ethnic diversity. Previously confined  to hills and forests, the tribes are now seeking to integrate into regional and national society.

Globalisation obliterates identities in a variety of ways. Indigenous peoples are facing a dilemma in terms of long-term development. Their communities are living examples of long term sustainability in a range of habitats.

There are certain positive aspects of globalisation that  should not be overlooked, such as the fact that certain dance forms and handicrafts such as timber products, stone products, and other handmaid products have become quite popular in the worldwide market.

Tribals who were previously marginalised in society, are now gaining popularity.  Knowledge and literacy have assisted tribes in improving their living conditions and livelihood preventing  them from being exploited by these non-tribal groups as a result of globalisation. 

A Study Of The KBK District

Study of the KBK District

In 1992-93, the three undivided districts of Koraput, Bolangir, and Kalahandi, often referred to as the KBK districts have been divided into eight districts: Koraput, Malkangiri, Nawrangpur, Rayagada, Bolangir, Sopur, Kalahandi, and Nuapada.

There are 14 subdivisions, 37 tehsils, 80  CD Blocks, 1,437 Gram Panchayats, and 12,293 villages in these eight districts. Over a 30.60  percent geographical area, the KBK districts account for 19.80 percent of the state population. Villages still account for 89.95 percent of the population in this area.

The lower population  density (153 people per square kilometre) compared to Odisha’s 236 people per square kilometre suggests poor living infrastructure and an underdeveloped economy. This area is dominated  by tribal communities.

According to the 2001 Census, approximately 38.41% of the inhabitants  in these districts are members of the Scheduled Tribes (ST) communities, which include four primitive tribal groups (PTG), namely the Bondas, Dadais, Langias, Sauras, and Dangaria  Kandhas.

Tribal Sub Plan (TSP) contains 44 CD blocks. The historic districts of Koraput and Kalahandi, which are now part of Bolangir, are mostly mountainous. Extreme weather events quite frequently causes destruction in this region and in the nearby areas.

As a result, the region’s  backwardness is multifarious: (i) tribal backwardness, (ii) backwardness due to it being a mountainous region, & (iii) deprivation as a result of natural disasters. 

Positive Impact Of Globalisation On Tribals Culture And Education

Positive Impact Of Globalisation On Tribals Culture And Education

As a result of globalisation, culture has evolved both locally and worldwide. Globalization isn’t just about advancing technology and the economics. It actually represents a global exchange of culture, language, and artefacts.

As a result of globalisation and because of the global marketplace – dance, handicrafts such as wood products, stone products, and other  handcrafted items have become quite popular, Odisha’s tribal culture has also become quite popular.

Many states tribal life and economies have improved dramatically as a result of  globalisation. Many of the tribals new generations have abandoned their customary occupations  in favour of selling their expertise to the new manufacturers. The new economy is being built, while the former economic system is being demolished.

In addition to the traditional economy, society and culture are also changing.

They are changing not because new items are available, but because the new economy necessitates the institutionalisation of a new set of motives, skills, activities, and social interactions that are inextricably tied to the larger national/international  socio-economic patterns. 

With the advent of globalisation, some of the most well-known dance forms from the KBK area, such  as Gumura, Sambalpuri, and Dhemsa, previously known only in Odisha are now well-known not just in India, but also around the world. Tribal songs too are becoming  increasingly popular as technology advances.

In reality, the KBK region’s music is increasingly  being used in Bollywood and Hollywood films. Rangabati, for example, is a one-of-a-kind  song that has recently gained worldwide acclaim. We now observe people performing a variety  of ‘traditional’ dances from Western Odisha in various arts of the country.

Though women’s well being has improved in several areas, they still lag behind men in areas such as rituals, education, and politics. The well being of women is improving faster in cities than in  remote regions, and among more so among educated women than uneducated women.

Because  of free education up to high school, as well as grants and residential schools for girls, literacy level has somewhat improved. According to the report, now only a few tribal households possess cattle, and tribals living in KBK regions are no longer functional in agriculture or farming.

In  the KBK area, tribals own relatively little land. Most tribals earn a living as day labourers or  seasonal employees, or they grow a variety of native vegetables and commodities to sell in the market. Kalahandi tribals work primarily in private companies and stores, or manage their own modest businesses.

Vehicle drivers and day labourers make up the majority of the tribals in Koraput and Rayagada. Instead of ploughing their fields and farming their lands, tribals began to use modern agricultural technologies such as tractors, irrigation pumps, fertilisers, insecticides, and so on.

By travelling to the town, they are able to market their own goods and crops. Crop pattern recognition and recent innovations have led to tremendous change. Irrigation, high-yielding seed types, fertilisers, and the use of modern agricultural equipment have all aided in the KBK region’s crop output. 

Education and literacy have improved through modernization, which has also helped indigenous people to improve their living situations and prevents them from being exploited by non tribal groups.

The results show that the vast majority of the tribals encourage their offspring to attend school and send them to such educational institutions. The study also revealed that many  parents are little educated, or even uneducated, yet prefer to send their children to school. 

Negative Impact of Globalisation on Tribals

Globalisation has had a significant influence on the tribals livelihood all over the globe, yet the  degree of oppression and discriminaion differs by region and ethnic group.

Development initiatives have uprooted tribals from the forests, estranged them from their soil and  livelihoods, violations of rights of the ecological resources, and risks to their survival, tribals  have faced the adverse consequences of globalisation led development across India.

Local  manufacturing and market collapse are being exacerbated by globalisation. 

Almost all of India’s big dam projects are inextricably related to global capitalism and their obedient national stooges. This is worth noting that the area encompassing Rayagada and  Kalahandi districts, where three large corporations will mine bauxite, is primarily populated by  tribal people.

Only a tiny proportion of individuals who have been displaced will be assimilated  by the advanced mines that will be developed there in the coming years. According to tribals,  thousands of tribals dwell in Rayagada’s Kashipur area and Kalahandi’s Lanjigarh area.

They are afraid that if the projects are approved, their agricultural and forest-based livelihoods would be lost. People are concerned about losing access to life-sustaining natural resources. The villagers in Odisha who are being displaced by mining operations have been fighting back.

The  anti-mining movement is led by the Prakritik Suraksha Sampada Parishad, the local peoples  organisation. In December 2000, three tribals were killed and many others were injured in the  village of Maikanch in the Kashipur block of Rayagada district as a result of police shooting. 

The mining would also harm streams and groundwater sources, rendering the forest  uninhabitable for the foreseeable future. After the bauxite ores are exhausted, it will turn the  entire region into a desert and barren land. 

The KBK regions are home to aluminium and bauxite mining, which are important mineral  supplies for many industries. Over one-third of India’s bauxite deposits are found in the Rayagada region of Odisha, which was originally a part of the Koraput District.

The mining  mafia and multinational corporations are progressively encroaching on this territory in order  to exploit the region’s enormous bauxite reserves.

UAIL (Utkal Alumina International  Limited), Vedanta Alumina Limited, and Aditya Aluminium Limited are among the MNCs and significant Indian private enterprises fighting for the region’s bauxite reserves.

Tribal  communities are well-represented in each of the districts. In the current model of development, tribals see no other option but to support Naxalism, because the State is forcibly acquiring land and displacing thousands of people.

Tribals saw this as a chance to get out of the alienation, dislocation, and land scarcity that successive governments have brought upon them. The tribals of the KBK areas are gradually shifting, cultivating thousands of square kilometres of forestland. 

These territories, which have been cultivated by indigenous people for many centuries, but through out time as also now they have been labelled as government land or as a forest land. As a result, cultivators  without patta (title deeds) are always in the risk of being evicted by the State as forest encroachers. 

The threat has grown as a recent legal interpretation of the term “forest” was expanded to include revenue regions with tree cover. 


Globalization is posing hurdles for the tribals and they need to come together to identify and recognise  commonalities. It is universally recognised that the markets are antagonistic to the poor, weak,  and vulnerable.

People from tribal communities  that lack the required knowledge, health, and nutrition to engage in market are bound to fail. As a result, for the market to work more efficiently, a fair distribution of assets, money,  credit, power, knowledge, and skills is required.

To address and remedy these discrepancies,  unique policies and programmes are required, particularly in the context of globalisation.

Social  development is no longer just the responsibility of the government; it is also the time for corporate behemoths to assist the government in implementing various development plans for India’s  weaker sections, especially tribals.

A new development model must be developed in which  both the government and private players, individually and together, share equal responsibilities  for social development. As a result, the government should develop unique policies and  programmes to alleviate these disparities, particularly in the context of globalisation.

The  Museum of Tribal Arts and Artefacts is intended to make a beneficial and helpful contribution to this purpose. Outsiders cannot establish tribals; if they wish to do so, they can only act as facilitators. Thus tribals must be included in any growth decisions if they are to blossom from within.


Globalization is the transformation of local or regional events into global phenomena.  Globalization is multifaceted, and it has a significant impact on human life, either directly or  indirectly.

In the name of improving tribal’s  lifestyle, market operators have produced wealth  for themselves to the detriment of these indigenous people’s livelihood and security.

The original  settlers, the tribal, dwell largely in the forest, hills, and other naturally secluded locations though these secluded regions have abundant mineral resources. Globalization has a variety of effects on tribal societies, some of  which are favourable and some of which are detrimental.

Since the advent of liberalisation, privatisation, and globalisation (LPG), places inhabited by indigenous people have been the target of different uprisings as a result of forced relocation.

Tribal people live in areas that are subjected to not just economic exploitation but also environmental degradation as a result of resource extraction. The reform process has had an impact on Odisha’s indigenous  communities, particularly on their culture, economy, and social life.

The results of this study shows how much the pattern and quality of life of tribal people in Odisha has been altered as a result of this globalisation. In the context of the country’s recent market transformation, this article attempts to study and examine the interplay between globalisation and the tribal communities.

Globalisation’s positive and negative effects can be explored in terms of the world’s economic, social, cultural,  political, financial, and technological components. This report also discusses the negative impacts, such as inequality, poverty, and land and forest loss.

The results of this study show how much the pattern and quality of life of the tribal people of Odisha has been altered as a result of globalisation. 


Article Contributed By Avismrita Shyamali Mishra and Anwesh Khemundu

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