THE INFLUENCE OF AN NGO ON TRIBAL DEVELOPMENT : CASE STUDY ON WEST BENGAL, SHANTINIKETAN
The tribals or the “Adivasis” (in Devanagari script), literally “original inhabitants”, comprise a substantial indigenous minority of the population of India, officially recognized by the Indian Government as “Scheduled Tribes” in the fifth schedule of the Constitution of India. India accounts for about one-fourth of the world tribal population (according to the 1991 census). Tribal population of West Bengal shows a steady increase from 38.08 lakh in 1991 to 51.23 lakh in 2001 (Census of India 2001). This “Scheduled Tribe” populace comprise of ethnic groups of the Mundas, Hos, Bhils, Kols, Santhals etc. of which, Santhals are the largest community in India found mainly in the states of West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa and Assam. The total population of Santhals is around 6,156,260 of which a significant population of 2,410,509 is found in West Bengal. The majority of the members of the “Scheduled Tribes” population are not in a position to stand up and fight for living by their own. They need some kind of strong back up which may help in their upraise in the society. For the past quarter of a century, the Indian aboriginals have been facing a lot of problems. Almost in each and every sphere of life they are subordinated and discriminated. They have been considered as a ‘trouble’ for the government and the society. This attitude to the tribal minorities is an altogether new occurrence in Indian history. There was no conscious drive to incorporate or reform the aboriginals. Traditionally, the non-government sector has played a vital role in this context. They have been active in areas where the state has failed to reach especially in relief and welfare functions. Thus, the non-governmental organizations came into existence. Globalization has also contributed to the rising numbers and influence of NGOs in many countries. The World Bank, defines NGOs as "private organizations that pursue activities to relieve suffering, promote the interests of the poor, protect the environment, provide basic social services, or undertake community development". A World Bank Key Document, working with NGOs, adds, "In wider usage, the term NGO can be applied to any non-profit organization which is independent from government. NGOs are typically value-based organizations which depend, in whole or in part, on charitable donations and voluntary service. Although the NGO sector has become increasingly professionalized over the last two decades, principles of altruism and voluntarism remain key defining characteristics." These voluntary organizations strives to make a difference through their innovative and committed work in promoting the development of the nation. Task-oriented and driven by people with a common interest, NGOs perform a variety of service and humanitarian functions, bring citizen concerns to Governments, advocate and monitor policies and encourage political participation through provision of information. Some are organized around specific issues, such as human rights, environment or health. While most of the NGOs work at the grassroot level with the communities, some provide analysis and expertise, serve as early warning mechanisms and help monitor and implement international agreements. There are many typical forms of NGOs. Among them there are networking organizations which provide vital network opportunities in a specific field. Example:- Association of Voluntary Agencies For Rural Development ( AVARD). In the tribal sector, NGOs are making very meaningful contributions. They provide useful and relevant elementary education for all children and tribal people. They also have another goal to bridge social, regional and gender gaps with the active participation of community In this project, the role played by a consortium entitled- “Binapani Educational And Welfare Trust”,has been examined, which functions as an NGO,...
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