Accepted paper:

Shifting cultivation in the backdrop of the Forest Right Act: violation of the human rights of the Khond tribe


Madhulika Sahoo (National Institute of Technology)

Paper short abstract:

The current research paper tries to highlight the level of dependency of tribals on the shifting cultivation in Kandhmal, understanding the forest right claims and the violation of the human rights of the Khond tribals. Key words- Podu, Kandhamla, JBIC, CAMPA

Paper long abstract:

Shifting cultivation is one of the oldest traditional farming and believes it to occupy distinct place in the tribal economy.It is also estimated to support the livelihoods of 300-500 million people worldwide(Brady, 1996).However,the dominant Indian perspective on shifting cultivation is that it destroys forests and leads to ecological degradation(Dhebar Commission, 1961; GOI, 1988; GOI, 1997). The conceptual separation between forests and agriculture,rooted in the western paradigm of nature versus culture and in the origins of modern agricultural systems,has meant that policymakers have been unable to visualize shifting cultivation as part of an integrated livelihood and landscape system. In the context of North East India, this perspective is undergoing change based on recent research and increasingly policy makers are talking about'improving' as opposed to 'replacing' shifting cultivation (GOI, 2002).However, in other parts of India, shifting cultivation continues to be perceived negatively and the government continues to pursue the policy of "replacing" shifting cultivation. The customary rights of the tribals are now targeted by stopping the hill tribes from practicing shifting cultivation and providing various rehabilitation schemes. In many places it is seen that the shifting cultivation lands has been demarcated for Reserve Forest. In Odisha, plantation under JBIC and CAMPA projects has been done on shifting cultivation areas.In Kandhamal forcible plantation of eucalyptus, teak and other commercial plantations have been done on the shifting cultivation lands claimed under Forest Right Act. This has literally driven the tribals with no livelihood options.

panel P098
Human rights and development: challenges and opportunities (Commission on Human Rights)