Kaushal Sewa Sansthan
(A NON-PROFIT SERVICE ORIENTED VOLUNTARY REGISTERED ORGANIZATION COMMITTED FOR THE ALL AROUND DEVELOPMENT THE WEAKER SECTION)

Dungarpur

Dungarpur is in southern tip of Rajasthan surrounded by Udaipur district in north, Banswara district in the east and south, with Gujarat district of Sabarkantha and Panchamahal lying to the west. River Mahi provided the boundary line with Banswara and river Som forming the boundary towards north. Dungarpur is one of the smallest district (in area) in Rajasthan (3780) and has a population of 0.87 million. It is divided into five development block (Panchayat samities) Bichhiwara, Dungarpur, Aspur, Sagwara and Simalwara. The district population density is 231 person. The decadal growth rate has been steady for the past 50 years at a little above 25%. Almost 92.7% of the population is rural more then 70% is tribal. The tribal (mainly Bhils, Garasia, and Damors) are mostly found in the hilly, Undulating regions, inhabiting widely dispersed villages consisting of structural hamlets (Phalas) along the hill slopes. The literacy level for the district is low at 24.58% and 21.63% for the rural areas, with female literacy barely 12.44%. There has been a decadal improvement of 6.16% though women lag behind with a growth rate of just 4.51%.

Agro-climatically, the district falls in the humid southern plain zone with mild summers and winters. The mean annual rainfall is 761 mm. The mean annual evapotranspiration is 130 cm, which is the lowest in the state. Topographically, Dungarpur belongs to the Chappan plain Zone of the Eastern plain Zone of Rajasthan. The area is drained by the Mahi River, which flows out. The soil is predominantly skeletal, shallow rocky soil in the hilly terrain with a series of clay soil in the plain area.

Dungarpur district is considered backward than most other districts in the state with respect to development works. Resource wise, the district has a good potential but an unscientific use of the resource endowments make it difficult for desired outputs and expectations to be attained. Tribal in this part of the country are, socially very well organized. Dungarpur district has a heterogeneous population with a predominantly tribal presence with 65.84% of the population being classified as tribal. 92.7% of the population is rural of which 69.77% is tribal. The main tribes are Bhils and Meenas with several sub tribes such as Katara, Ninama, Damor, Garasia, Mall, Bhagora, Baroda, Bargot, Ahari. The non-tribal sections of the population are Patels, Rajputs, Brahmans, jains and Muslims.

Tribals of Dungarpur

Tribal communities in this district are socially well organized with their headmen and tribal chiefs, known as gameti, being the social leaders. Their customs and social practices are largely tribal but some influence of non-tribal, practices has taken place. Bride price is prevalent, the girl lives in her husband's home after marriage, and both boys and girls are valued though there is discrimination against women. Nuclear families are the norm. A tribal family in this part has all adult brothers and their families and non-adult siblings along with parents loving of the family's total land and animal resources. This continues until all brothers get married of when land is distributed and each household earns of its own allotted land. Thus nuclear families get promoted regularly in the family life cycle. The tribal families usually reside in homesteads each perched on one hillock at times up to1/2 km away from their nearest neighbour.

Freedom and mobility for boys and girls is more than that in non-tribal communities. The importance given to basic schooling for children is increasing compared to the situation even ten years earlier. Higher education is still not given much importance. The general orientation to life is one of living in the present - future orientation, long term outlook, long term investment in self and in resources is still quite foreign to their way of thinking even though certain amount of change has occurred on this front.

Land ownership is more egalitarian than is other parts of the country - this is true of Rajasthan as a state also. Almost all families do own some land. The average land holding in Dungarpur is 1.38 ha. (1996-97). Landlessness among the tribal is very low. For the district as a whole about 13.6percent of the main workers are agricultural laborers (91 Census). Livestock ownership is also fairly widespread with preference for small ruminants like goats and sheep. Some families keep cows. Poultry - hens and cocks are also reared. Bullocks are kept for farming purposes. The livelihood system is a combination of subsistence farming, livestock and/or its produce selling, and manual labor. Some forest produce gathering and selling is also done in very small, scattered pockets where forest cover exists. The produce from the land lasts most families for 3-5 months. In a better-endowed situation this may stretch to 8-10 months. Very few families have enough produce from the land to last them for the whole year. Barring these, the remaining families have to generate sufficient income in cash/kind from skilled/unskilled manual labor, providing services, trading to see them through the months of shortfall. Migration for work is very common with most families going to the neighboring state of Gujarat.

Generally, tribal communities are more egalitarian in social structure than non-tribal communities. The relative mobility and freedom of women, the nuclear family structure, the more or less equal value placed on boys and girls, the active involvement of women in economic activities, the prevalence of bride price in marriage, the absence of a strict caste hierarchy, the effective social mechanisms for enforcing agreed upon social behavior and conduct norms, the community mutual help arrangements are some of the manifestations of the egalitarian social structure of tribal. Their attitudes and outlook to life are more oriented to the present with very little concern for long term or future consequences. This has changed a little over the past couple of decades as reflected in the investment made in the schooling of children, in farm improvement and asset creation, in medium gestation activities. In willingness to go in for medium and long-term borrowing.

The skills and capacities of the tribal in Dungarpur are subsistence oriented - they are not very well versed in commercial activities of a scale beyond the household level. There is diffidence about large-scale transactions and about venturing into untried and new ventures. The uncertainty of returns from subsistence agriculture and the easy availability of labor work through seasonal migration have reinforced this diffidence.

A general fear of officialdom and low levels of awareness raising about various government schemes and programs as well high illiteracy levels has left them largely out of the organizational and institutional functioning of the government. This has also contributed to their low capacities in managing organizational for a as written transactions independent of outside help. While there is considerable initiative in mobilizing for labor opportunities through migration, there is not similar initiative in mobilizing for collection active action to put pressure on the official system to provide them their entitlements.

The need for intervention functions is in awareness raising about various development programs and schemes, in exposure about self managed collective ventures, in organizational functioning, in managerial inputs for commercial transactions of scale, in managing groups and leadership, in legalities and procedural requirements, in adult literacy, in technical and vocational skills for men and women both keeping in mind their different levels at present on these various aspects.

Geographical Background

Dungarpur district is situated in southern most part of Rajasthan 23.200 to 24.010 of latitude and 73.210 to 74.230 of longitude. In East and North its borders on Banswara and Udaipur District respectively while it adjoins the State of Gujrat in South & West. Dungarpur District is the smallest district of the state covering 385592 hacts only, which is 1.13% of the total area of Rajasthan. The most of the part of Distrtict is hilly. The over all land productivity is rated to be low for the whole district with somewhat batter conditions found in its southern & western corners.

The climate of the District is dry & temperature peak in may with mean daily maximum of + 41.50 c and absolute maximum +450c. The coldest month is January with temperatures falling to around +50c during night but with day temperatures still well above +200c. The average rainfall of District is 710mm and occur great variations from year to year and Drought situation is normal condition in the district.