Satyasundar Barik

BHUBANESWAR: It may sound strange, but it’s true. When population growth remains a major concern in the country, population of as many as 27 tribal communities in Orissa has shown negative growth rate. Population of 13 major tribes has gone down below 3,100.

The stunning aspect of tribal population came to the light when Directorate of Census Operation (DCO) and SCs and STs Research Training Institute (SSRTI) released community-wise status based on the 2001 census of these two backward classes here on Wednesday.

Some of the prominent tribal communities whose population growth rate decreased included Desia Bhumij, Mankidi, Chenchu, Ghara, Baiga and Tharua, said ‘Status of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes in Orissa (Community Wise): Census 2001’ here.

According to the report, population growth rate of Desia Bhumij had gone down by 90.58 per cent while Mankidi tribes suffered 88.70 per cent decline compared to the 1991 census.

Similarly, the 13 tribes whose population was less than 3100 included Chenchu (28), Mankidi (130), Desia Bhumij (177), Ghara (275), Thaurua (453), Baiga (539), Birhor (702) and Mankirdia (2803). Orissa has a sizable tribal population with 22.13 per cent of its total population. The State houses 62 types of tribes, of which 13 are primitive. The State has one of the richest diverse tribal populations in the country.

The status report, however, said population of 10 tribal communities had shown positive growth rate in 2001 compared to the previous census.

Some of the communities have been identified as Kol (137.20 per cent), Parenga (116.43 per cent), Madia (109.66 per cent) and Kondadora (77.59 per cent).

Positive feature

However, good news is that the tribal population has maintained a good sex ratio. Compared 972 of overall sex ratio of the State, the tribal population is having a healthy sex ratio of as high as 1003.

When it comes to the rural area, the sex ratio goes up to 1006, but urban tribal population seems to be toeing the general trend with the sex ratio going down below 1,000. The analysis by SSRTI said the State’s tribal population is having more widows than widowers.