ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Livelihood Vulnerabilities of Tribals during COVID-19

Challenges and Policy Measures

The imposition of lockdown and COVID-19 has disturbed the life of tribals and forest dwellers by destroying their livelihood and health. The article argues that there is an urgent need to focus on food security and strong social protection mechanisms to help tribal communities to minimise the impact of the pandemic on their social and economic life.


The COVID-19 pandemic is the world’s worst global crisis since World War II (ILO 2020a). It has affected the economy in general and various spheres such as agriculture, human health, and healthcare in particular. It has infected almost 26.79 million people globally and 8,78,963 casualties while India’s confirmed cases reached 40.23 lakh cases with 69,635 deaths as on 5 September 2020 (Worldometers 2020). The outbreak of the COVID-19 has severely affected the livelihood of the world’s over 476 million indigenous and tribal people (ILO 2020b). India comprises almost 10.4 million tribes, that is, 8.6% of its population spread over 15% of its geogra­phical area (Government of India 2011). Most of these tribes are characterised by isolation, eco­nomic backwardness, poor infrastructure, and quality of healthcare. Poverty among Scheduled Tribe (ST) was 45.3% (rural) and 24.1% (urban) as compared to the national ­average of 25.7% in rural and 13.7% in urban areas in 2011–12 (MoTA 2018–19). Lives of tribals and forest dwellers are closely knit with the forest as their livelihood is dependent on forest resou­rces. This pandemic has inevitably created a harsh effect on their social and economic life.

Minor Forest Produces

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Updated On : 13th Mar, 2021
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