Centre for Regional Studies, School of Social Sciences, University of Hyderabad; the Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MoTA), Govt. of India and Tribal Welfare Department, Govt. of AP, through TCR&TM, Visakhapatnam, organised a two-day national seminar on the theme – “Tribal Policies and Programmes in India: Regional Reflections in the Context of Globalisation” – during 09-10 August 2021 in both virtual and physical mode. The Ministry operated their proceedings at the physical venue from Fortune Murali Park Hotel, Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh. The national seminar was coordinated by Dr. V. Srinivasa Rao, Head, Centre for Regional Studies (CRS), School of Social Sciences.

The Honorable Vice-Chancellor of University of Hyderabad, Prof. B. J. Rao, while delivering the Inaugural Address suggested that the stakeholders should focus on important take homes and provide action-oriented points to address the tribal issues in India. Prof. Virginius Xaxa, an eminent sociologist, while delivering the Key Note Address, emphasised the policy gaps while addressing the tribal issues across India. Prof. Xaxa emphasised the need for a precise tribal policy with reference use of natural resources in tribal areas instead of a uniform national policy.

Addressing the gathering virtually, Hon’ble Deputy Chief Minister and Tribal Welfare Minister, Govt. of Andhra Pradesh, Smt. Pamula Pushpa Sreevani said that the state government was implementing the Navarathnalu programme to ensure the well-being of all with a special focus on Scheduled Tribes in the state. Union Joint Secretary, the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Govt. of India, Dr. Navaljit Kapoor, while addressing the gathering virtually appreciated the publications brought out from the papers of the seminar. The Secretary, Tribal Welfare Department, Govt. of Andhra Pradesh, released four books on the stage and said these publications are an important contributions from this seminar and would be helpful in the policy making to address the tribal issues.

The four books that were released during the Inaugural Session are; 1) Challenges of Tribal Development: Contemporary Social Concerns, 2) Tribal Integration in India: Northeast and Beyond, 3) Disadvantaged Tribes of India: Regional Concerns, and 4) Tribal Livelihood and Governance: Regional Concerns. Dr. V. Srinivasa Rao, Head, CRS, edited these four books which are published by Rawat in January 2021. A total of 67 chapters written by 85 authors are published in these four books under different themes on the tribal issues in India.

A total of 63 research papers were presented by the scholars in the virtual mode in a total of 18 technical sessions during two days of the seminar. These 18 technical sessions were operated in parallel mode across six different time slots during these two days of the seminar. Each technical session was with a duration of one and half hours with a maximum of three speakers in each parallel session enabling for more discussion on the papers presented by the authors. The themes that were discussed during these technical sessions were Policy Issues: A Few Concerns, Language, Culture and Indigeneity: Drawing Attention, Region and Religion: Exclusion or Inclusion?, Globalisation: A Shadow?, Tribal Land and Displacement, Tribal Livelihood and Development, Forest Rights, Governance in Scheduled Areas, Education and its Relevance, Healthcare Challenges, Governance and Secularism, Livelihood Opportunities, Culture and Identity in Northeast, Governance and Autonomy in Northeast, Poverty, Deprivation and Tribal Justice, Globalisation and Development in Tribal Areas, Governance of Forest and Livelihood, and Cultural Dependency in Tribal Areas. All these technical sessions were closely monitored by the funding agency virtually from the physical venue of the seminar at Fortune Murali Park Hotel, Vijayawada. Speakers at a two-day national seminar stressed on the need for evolving a national tribal policy.

The valedictory session was Chaired by Prof. Sudhakar Reddy, the Dean, School of Social Sciences. The speakers during the valedictory session deliberated on various issues that came up during the seminar. The Honourable Chairman, Andhra Pradesh State Commission for Scheduled Tribes, Dr. Kumbha Ravi Babu, who was the Chief Guest in the valedictory session, delivered his address in a virtual mode. Dr. Arun Kumar Monditoka, Chairman, A.P. Forest Development Corporation Ltd., delivered his Guest of Honour speech physically from the venue in Vijayawada. Shri. Kantilal Dande, Secretary, Tribal Welfare Dept., Govt. of A.P., while delivering the Valedictory Address emphasised on the importance of ‘region’ to safeguard the tribal rights in the context of globalisation. The Mission Director of TCR&TM, Tribal Welfare Dept., Govt. of A.P., Shri. E. Ravindra Babu, reiterated the importance of the published books from the seminar proceedings in the policy making. Special Invitees, Dr. Sreepati Ramudu from University of Hyderabad, Dr. Jayanta Choudhury from NIRDPR-NERC, Guwahati, and Prof. A. B. Ota, I.A.S., Director, SC/ST RTI, Govt. of Odisha, delivered special talk on ‘The Relevance of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar in Tribal Studies’, ‘Addressing Tribal Diversity in Policy Making with a Special Reference to Northeast India’, and ‘Approaches to Tribal Studies in the Context of Current Development’ respectively. The seminar has been concluded with words of thanks to all the stakeholders with a special appreciation to the seminar coordinator, Dr. V. Srinivasa Rao, for synergizing different stakeholders to a single platform.

Contributed by Dr. V. Srinivasa Rao, Head, CRS & Seminar Coordinator.