The tribals are mostly engaged in various types of economies such as, food gathering economy (collecting economy), agriculture, shifting-axe cultivation, handicrafts, and pastoralism. However, a last few decades have seen rapid changes in tribal economy.
Important factors responsible for changes in tribal economy :
Industrialization : The impact of industrialization is felt everywhere. The movement of the people towards industrial zones for jobs and other opportunities has great impact on tribal economy. The young tribals are no longer keen to play traditional roles in their respective places. There is a mass migration of people from tribal belts to industrial belts.
Urbanization and Modernization : The movement of the people towards urban areas for better lifestyle is another reason for the change in tribal economy. They are attracted to modem ways of living in urban centers. As a result, tribal economic structure has been disintegrating at a rapid speed.
Need for Education : There is a positive association between the level of education and the incidence of people’s mobility to urban centers. The educational opportunity has opened up the doors of possibility for almost every segment of population. Higher the level of education, greater is the mobility of the people. Many educatedtribals are working in the industries and organizations as professionals, executive officers and other skilled laborers. They have given up their traditional occupations.
Land alienation : Many tribals who lived in secluded areas, such as forests, for centuries together, have come in headlong conflict with the government as well as private organiza¬tions because of their undue encroachment. Displacement of the tribals for development works such as constructing roads, dams, establishment of towns and industries has greatly affected tribal life and economy.
Government restrictions : Tribal economy is largely dependent on shifting cultivation and use of forest resources. The restriction on the part of the modem govern-ment concerning the same, citing the reason of environmental imbalance, has curbed the progress of their traditional economy. Conse quently, many tribals are forced to move away and take up industrial labour as their occupation.