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23rd November 2023 (11 Topics)

A dilemma over tribal land rights in Odisha


Activists worry the Cabinet decision to allow transfer of tribal land could dilute the protections around it.

Cabinet Decision on Tribal Land Transfer

  • Odisha Cabinet allows tribal land transfer to non-tribals, triggering massive controversy and protests.
  • Amendment to the OSATIP Act faces opposition from tribal communities, activists, and political parties.
  • Previous attempts to amend OSATIP were rejected; the recent decision raised concerns about tribal identity and economic disparities.

Impact on Tribal Landscape and Identity

  • Tribal population in Odisha constitutes 22.85%, facing economic challenges and decreasing land ownership.
  • OSATIP Act safeguards tribal interests, but proposed amendment could alter the demographic landscape, benefiting non-tribals.
  • Economic disparities persist; while some tribals seek monetization, the majority wants to retain land ownership.

Need for Clarity

  • Government puts amendment on hold, but opposition demands complete withdrawal.
  • Lack of clarity in the amendment's terms could allow circumvention, raising questions about tribal sellers' landlessness.
  • The controversy highlights class divisions within tribal communities and the need for careful policy considerations.
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