The Effects of Industrialization on Tribal Life

Dr. Namrata Shrivastava

Assistant Professor of Economics

Kalinga University, RAIPUR (CG)


The Indian government chose a mixed economy as its five-year planning model and set out on the path of economic advancement. Establishing industries to boost output required both the governmental and private sectors. The government unveiled a new industrial policy in 1991 in an effort to liberalise and restructure the nation’s economy. Industry privatisation became popular, and international businesses and investment began to enter the nation.

The Indian population has been impacted by industrialisation, and several studies have been done in a variety of fields to demonstrate the importance of industry for the national economy. A segment of society in the nation, referred to as a tribe, has long relied on a pastoral method of production and has just recently taken up agricultural pursuits. These people, who have historically lived in hilly and forested locations, decided to make a living by engaging in subsistence activities such sedentary horticulture, shifting agriculture, pastoralism, hunting, gathering, and fishing. They relied on a small number of tools and devices to produce enough natural products to sustain themselves.

It was discovered that the country and regions where these people once resided were abundant in mineral and fuel resources. These resources were the nation’s main need as it started to industrialise. To have access to these essential resources, the main businesses choose to grow close to mineral-rich regions. The majority of anthropologists’ study focuses on the twin processes and their effects. The advent of non-industrial urban centres and its effects on Indian tribes, however, are the subject of separate study. There are remarkably few industrial-urban centres in India, especially in the north-eastern region. The urbanisation in that region has primarily been caused by other factors, which has an effect on tribal life.

The hope for beneficial changes in tribal life has been heavily discussed in industrialization studies. These studies mostly concentrated on the economic advantages of mining operations for tribal tribes, which needed to be developed in order to be completely incorporated into mainstream India. The study focused on the difficulties faced by the displaced, but their aim was to examine the shifting dynamics of tribal economies, which will eventually lead to prosperity in the tribal areas. However, the anthropological studies also emphasised how tribal life was disorganised and how industrialisation had a negative impact.

These studies allow us to highlight the following effects of industrialization:

  • Economic changes: As a result of being drawn into businesses that require unskilled labour, the tribal economy has been significantly impacted by industrial growth. Tribal societies’ purchasing habits and material belongings have changed as a result of the commercialised economy. The reliance on agriculture has significantly lessened. Vegetable farming and the gathering of forest products are becoming more popular, with the intention of selling them at marketplaces near industrial centres.
  • sociocultural effects: The importance of the family has altered. The sacred rites have likewise been tainted. Some of the local industrial employees have developed a spiritual interest in Christianity. The rise of industry has also caused numerous issues for tribal women.
  • Migration from the Rural to the Urban-Industrial Centre: Township came into being along with the emergence of industry. Even after being evacuated, many tribal members continued to reside in jhuggees on the industrial land. Although tribal members were compelled to live close to towns so they could work in industry, life in jhuggees was abhorrent. There was a problem with bound industrial labourers since some tribal members moved from one industrial site to another with their contracts.
  • Exploitation as a labour class in industry: Tribals were mostly hired as labourers and were paid less by contractors. A sense of alienation pervaded the industrial setting, and tribals were disinclined to work for industry. Several studies have documented contractor exploitation of labourers.
  • Removal from land: One of the main causes of the tribal peoples’ removal from their territory is industrialization. Loss of land entails loss of income. The tribal economy has traditionally been heavily reliant on agrarian operations. There is no precise information on the number of tribal members who have been displaced as a result of industrial development.

Only a few tribal elites have benefited from industrialization, while the vast majority of tribal communities have suffered industrial blows to their local ecology and economy.


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