Decentralised Governance and Socio-Economic Status of Tribals in Vidarbha, Maharashtra, India

  • Virendra Balaji Shahare Department of Social Work, Jamia Millia Islamia University
Keywords: tribals, gram panchayat, decentralised governance


Scheduled Tribes (STs) in Vidarbha constitute 32.1 per cent of the
total population and are socially excluded and denied equal opportunities.
Despite having a one-third reservation in Panchayati Raj, the issues of
social exclusion and lack of participation of tribals in socio-political and
economic activities raises a question for their development. In this context
the paper examines the socio-economic conditions of tribals in the
Vidarbha region of Maharashtra, accessibility of political power and their
level of participation in decision-making for implementation of
programmes/schemes meant for their development. Literature has been
reviewed, data published in leading newspapers, magazines, reports,
working papers were used and personal field observations were made to
assess the effect of decentralisation on the development and welfare of
the tribals. The paper concludes that concerted efforts for the
development of these groups by the Central and State Governments have
had only marginal impacts on their socio-economic conditions inspite of
the various welfare measures and constitutional protection. An honest
initiative of Gram Panchayat can bring forth a public delivery system
ensuring a reasonable and quality service to the disadvantaged tribal

Author Biography

Virendra Balaji Shahare, Department of Social Work, Jamia Millia Islamia University

Department of Social Work, Jamia Millia Islamia University