People of Bantoli (Part 2)
The people of Bantoli eat the unsavory corn
that they feed to the cows.
How poor are the tribal people?
The annual per capita income in tribal areas is 3,500 Indian rupees, approx. US $65.00. About 60% of tribal people live under the local poverty line, which is $5 per person per month.
Wages for agricultural and mine workers are 5-6
rupees (10-12 cents) per day, and wages for women
are often 30-50% less than those of men. Head-loading
is practiced as a survival strategy, particularly
by women. The area gets few subsidies in comparison
to other states in India, and there is an ongoing
flight of capital, which gets invested in more
A worker injured in a mine walks with
great difficulty and can hardly eke out
What about the sanitary and health
In the tribal dominated hilly
areas, literacy rates are as low as 10%, and health
care facilities are nonexistent. People in tribes
do not have money to pay for doctors and medicines,
and many of their diseases become chronic. The
most common diseases among tribes are dysentery,
respiratory infections, whooping cough, measles,
tuberculosis, leprosy, and malaria. Many women,
unable to afford shoes, become infested with hookworm,
which in turn causes anemia. Quack doctors claim
to treat all kinds of diseases and ward off evil
spirits, but they often use their status to brand
women as witches, only to displace them and take
their property. Fortunately, the government has
started to clamp down on such practices.
Tribal people cannot afford qualified doctors
and rely on witch doctors, like this one,
resulting in poor medical care.