T. Rajula Shanthy, C. Jayabose and Malakappa B. Medegar
ICAR-Sugarcane Breeding Institute, Coimbatore 641007, Tamil Nadu
Tribals in India, geographically and culturally, are at widely different stages of social as well as economic development and their problems differ from area to area within their own groups. Scheduled Tribe Component (STC), erstwhile Tribal Sub Plan is a comprehensive strategic approach adopted by the Government of India for the welfare and development of Scheduled Tribes in the country. STC was implemented in ICAR-Sugarcane Breeding Institute, Coimbatore from 2014 to 2019 in four hill ranges (Thondamuthur, Attapadi, Karamadai and Palamalai) covering 23 villages of Coimbatore and Palakkad districts. As an initial step, the requirements of the tribal people were analyzed through personal interactions and focus group discussions conducted in the villages with the tribal headman and villagers. Participatory rural appraisal techniques like transact walks, livelihood analysis, gender analysis, matrix ranking, Venn diagrams, and seasonal analysis conducted with the tribal people gave us a vivid picture of the village setting. The information gathered was analyzed and problem-cause diagrams were prepared for each village. Subsequently, the problems (both felt and unfelt) were prioritized and the crucial ones were considered for immediate action. A work plan was prepared for each beneficiary village taking into account the felt needs of the people, resources available, expertise required and manpower availability. The technological interventions were carefully chosen to have a sustainable livelihood for the tribal villagers, drudgery reduction for tribal women and employment generation for tribal youth. Selected success stories like drudgery reduction using double potted chulahs, development of tailoring skill among tribal women, mini-flour mill in Kuzhiyur, honey production in Palamalai hills, and use of stainless-steel country plough is described in detail.