The forest occupies a central position in tribal culture and economy. In spite of the protection given to the tribal population by the constitution of India, tribals still remain the most backward ethnic group in India. The policy of liberalization and the new state perceptions of utilization of resources are diametrically opposed to the adivasi world view of resource exploitation and this divide has only widened further with the intrusion of globalization’s market oriented philosophy of development. The gains of globalization have so far accrued to those who already have education and skill advantage. The tribal population is increasing along with the Indian population but at a rate lower than that of the general population.

The term ‘tribe’ denotes a group of people living in primitive or barbarous conditions. Article 366(25) of Indian who are scheduled in accordance with Article 342 of the Constitution. This Article says that only those communities who have been declared as such by the President through an initial public notification or through a subsequent amending Act of Parliament will be considered to be Scheduled Tribes. The essential characteristics, first laid down by the Lokur Committee, for a community to be identified as Scheduled Tribes are –

  1. a) Indications of primitive traits;
  2. b) Distinctive culture;
  3. c) Shyness of contact with the community at large;
  4. d) Geographical isolation; and
  5. e) Backwardness

Impact of Globalization on Tribals 

  • Displacement of Tribals: It is estimated that owing to construction of over 1500 majorØ irrigation development projects since independence, over 16 million people were displaced from their villages, of which about 40 per cent belong to tribal population.
  • Land Alienation of Tribals: Land is a very important component for tribal development. ItØ occupies their source of livelihood. But the globalization trend has alienated tribals from their mainstay.
  • Problems of Indebtedness: The global economy has overburdened the tribals with variousØ 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 poverty.
  • Endangering of Intellectual Property Rights: In the era of globalization the existence ofØ Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) among primitive communities seems to be withering away.
  • Extinction of Primitive tribal culture: The ethos of globalization has not only impacted the socio-economic conditions of tribal people but their cultural status also.
  • Privatization of PSUs: One of the ways of globalization in India is disinvestment or privatization. The profit making enterprises like BALCO, which are in the tribal belt, have been privatized. Privatization of these enterprises has adversely affected the tribal people and disturbed the regional balance in terms of industrialization.

The rapid technological advancement helps in extraction of natural resources from the ecologically fragile territories of tribal people. All the massive steel plants, 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. 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. Their economic and cultural survival is at stake.

The new economic policies on tribals have serious impact on the adivasi lives whose right over access to natural resources, livelihood opportunities, right to primary education and health, protection from atrocities and human rights abuses and the right to uphold their traditional and customary practices, are under serious threat due to the changes in laws and policies. The most serious threat to the adivasi people in the country today is the pressure on the Fifth Schedule. Both Central and Several state governments are seriously making efforts to amend the laws prescribed under Fifth Schedule and their corresponding state laws in order to allow private and corporate players to take over tribal and forest lands.

In a globalized situation, it is the market and not the community which is the focal player. The influence of Powerful transnational lobbies put pressure on the governments. This leads to transfer control over resources from Adivasis to private and global industry stakeholders , legitimate governments like India allowing themselves to undergo Constitutional changes to the detriment of their constituent communities. While these laws clearly portray the need for protection of people and resources the new polices call for exploitation of resources at the cost of tribal people. Violation of the Fifth Schedule has occurred in many states where the Land Transfer Regulation Act was ignored while giving mining leases in scheduled areas to private companies. Private mining is also done.

One of the ways of globalization in India is disinvestment or privatization. Many Public sector Enterprises are being sold off to private sectors with the objective of raising revenues to meet the fiscal deficits and to improve efficiency. Profit making enterprises like BALCO, which are in the tribal belt, have been privatized. Privatization of these enterprises will adversely affect the tribal people and disturb the regional balance in terms of industrialization. The new Industrial policy paved the way for Tribal Land alienation. This results in the alienation of tribal lands for various purposes like construction dams, mining projects, setting up of wildlife sanctuaries, construction of government infrastructure. While the adivasis have been displaced and pushed into the fringes of globalization, the natural resources were victim to large scale destruction directly for industry purposes and indirectly by the non-tribals.


Thus, the impact of globalization is very significant on tribal life and their economy. After the impact of globalization the tribal culture has been changed significantly in both positive as well as off-putting. Positively with the impact of globalization the culture became very popular at the local level and also internationally. Globalization is not merely for the development of technology and the economy. Therefore the Orissa tribal culture became very popular, because of dance, handicrafts such as wooden products, stone products and some other hand maid product sales in the global market. BUT For the  Most tribals, globalization is associated with rising prices, loss of job security and lack of health care. Hence the Government should frame Special policy and programmes that are required to redress these differences especially in 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.



‘Globalism, Nationalism, Tribalism: Bringing Theory Back In’- Paul James, Western Sydney University




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