The national conference on “Revisiting tribal policies, research and innovations” jointly organized by the Centre for Innovation in Public Systems (CIPS), Tribal Welfare Department (TWD), Government of Andhra Pradesh (GoAP) and the Department of Anthropology, concluded. There were eight technical sessions spread across two days dedicated to various pressing issues pertaining to tribal health, tribal identities and social institutions, natural resource management, education, language and expressive culture, livelihoods and gender. The final technical session was a round table discussion on roadmap for future research in Tribal Cultural Research Institutes (TCRIs).
Following the technical sessions, key takeaways from the conference were summed up by the rapporteurs. Regarding research, critical gaps in terms of methodology were identified and the need for structural transformation and autonomy for TCRIs was highlighted by most of the speakers. With respect to policy, need to include non-scientific evidences was emphasized. Finally, the innovative practices already in existence were shared and the need for a right mix of funding and action research/engaged research involving the community was suggested for innovations in the area of tribal welfare.
Besides, the technical sessions, the first day also became an occasion for a vibrant tribal cultural night. Shri Giridhar Gamang, former chief minister of Odisha, mesmerized the audience with his musical performance. Other incredible performances by tribal groups across the country included the Bodo dance from Assam, Kuki dance from Manipur, Dhimsa of Andhra Pradesh, Toda dance of TamilNadu and performances by Marias of Chattisgarh, Gonds and Banjaras of Telangana and Savaras of Andhra Pradesh.
The valedictory session was chaired by Prof. R. K. Mutatkar (Retd.), School of Health Sciences, University of Pune. Prof. K. K. Mishra, Vice chancellor, Utkal University of Culture, in his address mentioned that the conference was a learning experience for all the participants (policy makers, academicians, and innovators). In his address Sri, K. Padmanabhaiah, IAS (Retd.) the chief guest spoke about the need to incorporate the takeaways from the conference into future action and suggested research be taken on the fifth and sixth schedule, under-performance of tribal sub plans, Forest Rights Act, PESA act and Mines and Minerals Act; and status of tribals in naxal affected areas. Other dignitaries who also contributed to the session were, Dr. M. Padma, IAS, Special Commissioner, TWD, GoAP Prof P. Venkat Rao, Dean, School of Social Sciences, UoH and Sri C. Achalender Reddy, IFS, Additional director, CIPS. Prof. N. Sudhakar Rao proposed the vote of thanks.
– Swati Pant and Monika Tiwari, M.A. Communication