Issue: October 2016
Cover Story
Textiles’ – the word brings up images of beautiful drapes – cotton, silk, chiffon, lace. Whether it is the material draped on the figurine of the lady...
  Tapping Sustainable Energy Alternatives
  The second lead article, which is also focus article, is written by Shri N Bhadran Nair. Citing a report of the World Health Organisation, the author has advocated for tapping sustainable energy alternatives
  Financing Renewables in India
  The third article is written by Shri P C Maithani, Adviser, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. He has focussed on renewable energy resources
  Steps to Achieve India’s Solar Potential
  The special article is written by Sumant Sinha, Chairman and Managing Director of ReNew Power. He opines that India must also honour its global commitments on curbing greenhouse gas emissions
  Tribal Land Rights and Education
Dr. L. Rathakrishnan & K. Ravi Kumar
September 01, 2013 | Dr. L. Rathakrishnan & K. Ravi Kumar  , Tribal Rights

Basic education is the primary agent either to improve the immediate living condition or to increase the potential for future living. The Millennium Development Goals has emphasized to ensure that all girls and boys must complete a full course of primary education and that gender disparity is eliminated at all levels of education by 2015. As a natural follow-up action, the Parliament of India enacted The Child Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009 (RTE Act 2009) and it came into force in April 1, 2010.. This study attempts to explain how methods adopted in fifth schedule of Constitution of India based on colonial tribal policy of isolation and status quo to guarantee right to land repressed right to education of present day tribal and non-tribal students of Santhal Parganas division of Jharkhand State.

Reasons of slums creation particularly in the country like India are obvious i.e. Adverse change in agricultural scenario, low prospects in rural areas as compare to bigger opportunities in cities and preference for labour market than agriculture (which anyway is on its downfall due to scanty rainfall and lowering of ground water level). As we approach the status of developed countries, we need to address the challenges of slums up-gradation by multiple means, because Slums are equal to Poverty. The results of slums are - poor living conditions, very less or no education, extremely poor hygiene conditions and awful health care services and the resultant extreme low status.

Colonial Isolation and Status quo:

Administrative division of Santhal Parganas covers the geographical area of Rajmahal hills, and valleys and plains area along the hills. This area was never under jurisdiction of any of the rulers before the arrival of colonial power, more so Damini-koh area ( Jungelarry tracts). This area was semi-independent country under Pahariya tribes.

The East India Company introduced extractive zamindari system through Zamindars of Sultanbad (Maheshpur) and Ambar (Pakur) to maximise land revenue and also introduced market and monetary economy into the primitive tribal economy in the 18th century. These Zamindars, traders, money lenders, contractors, other service providers and company employees started exploiting the innocent tribal and evicted tribal from their own land. This led to Pahariya Sirkars in 1777-78 and more famous Santhal Insurrection (popularly called Hul) of 1855-57. During this time, British introduced a special system of administration and for this Act XXXVII of 1855 was passed to suppress this tribal dominated political unrest rather than going to root to solve the problem. This deregulation act removed the operation of the general laws and regulations from this region.

This area was separated from the district of Bhagalpur and Birbhum and a separate district of Santhal Parganas was formed. Similar tribal upraising happened in other tribal areas of India in an unconnected way and unorganized way against the colonial suppression and interference in their livelihood and culture. This act also became one of the precursors for deregulation acts like Act XXII of 1869 (Garo Hill), Act III of 1870 ( Cossyah and Jynteeah Hills) and The Scheduled Districts Act of 1874. These deregulating legislations for the tribal area led to isolation of tribal areas from the main stream society and led to social exclusion.

Through Colonial policy of isolation and status quo, rather than improving education, health and skills of tribal to face the competitive outside world, colonial administration isolated the tribal communities from main stream society for political gain and to control the law and order situation of these regions. The Government of India Act, 1935 classified the scheduled districts and deregulated areas into excluded and partially excluded area with the excluded area being directly under the personal rule of the Governor and the partially excluded area being within the ministerial responsibilities with the Governor having the power to overrule the ministers. The excluded area concept was mostly used for political gain in terms of security and smooth administration in and around tribal areas in contrast to the general views that it was meant for welfare of tribal people.

The economic development, education and infrastructure suffered in this excluded area barring area where Christian missionaries were in operation. Shri Gopinath Bardoloi sub-committee on excluded and partially excluded area of North East Frontier tribal area in Assam and Shri A.V. Thakkar Sub-Committee on excluded and partially excluded area other than those in Assam of Constituent Assembly of India recommended creation of scheduled VI area and scheduled V area due to various other reasons, not for economic development of tribal and tribal dominated regions.

During the nation formation process, to inculcate faith in the minds of tribal societies and because of long history of Divide and Rule Policy, Ring Fence Policy, Inner-line Regulation Systems, Concept of Scheduled District and Excluded Areas of colonial administration, Constituent Assembly of India created the provision of scheduled area in the Constitution of India. This created some degree of isolated system of administration and economy for tribal areas.

Materials and Methods

No noteworthy study conducted in this division to study the impact of land tenancy on right to education. This study is mainly relied on primary data. The primary data was collected from teachers both permanent and contract working in Government and private schools in Santhal Parganas divisions of Jharkhand state. Pre-tested interview schedule was used to collect the primary data. The secondary data were collected from Treasury office and education department.

Stratified random sampling technique was adopted to select the districts and block. The survey was conducted in three out of six districts of Santhal Parganas division. One block in each selected district was chosen for data collection. The selected blocks are Sunderpahari block of Godda district, Borio block of Sahibganj district and Shikaripara block of Dumka district. All these blocks are under schedule V area of the constitution of India.

Scheduled tribes population of Sunderpahari, Borio and Shikaripara blocks are 78.8%, 65.31% and 62.39% respectively and the literacy rate was 44.7%, 36.37% and 48.17% respectively. Census method was followed to collect data from the schools and the teachers from three blocks. All 673 schools, 649 Government schools and 24 private schools, were selected for the study.

Similarly, all 1,622 teachers, 469 Government - permanent, 991 Government - contract and 162 private teachers were interviewed for this study. Simple statistical tools and charts were used to analyze the primary data.

Thus, this study is descriptive in nature. The field data was collected from January 2013 May 2013.

Santhal Parganas Land Tenancy:

Land tenancy denotes the terms and conditions upon which a tenant holds land of the landlord. The tribal unrest like Santhal insurrection (1885-87) due to alienation of land and exploitation by market players like traders, money lenders and the non-transferability of land tenancy was introduced in the agrarian case laws of this division during McPerheron's settlement in 1900. This provision was finally included in section 20 of the SPT Act, 1949.

This non-transferability was introduced in the tenancy laws of this division, not for the economic development and welfare of tribal themselves but as a tool to prevent tribal unrest and secure administration in this region. This primitive land tenancy is not only applicable to tribal and tribal land holdings but also non-tribal and non-tribal land holdings of this division. According to section 20 of SPT Act 1949, no transfer by a raiyat of his right in his holding or among person thereof, by sale, gift, mortgage, will, lease or any other contract or agreement empress or employed shall be valid.

Under section 42 of this Act, the Deputy Commissioner (Collector of the district) may at any time either at his own motion or on application made to him pass an order for eviction of any person who has encroached upon, reclaimed, acquired or came into possession of agriculture land by a summery proceeding. Under this Act, in all villages, hereditary village headmen (Pradhan/Mulraiyat) were appointed even though non-tribal never had village headman in their society. They brought under the Pradhani/ Mulraiyat intermediary land revenue system.

In other words, the concept of ownership of land does not exist in this division, raiyat having only occupancy right with the right of inheritance. Acquisition of immoveable property like commercial building, houses, agricultural land for non-agricultural purposes, land for medical and educational facilities are prohibited in this division which became hindrance for skill development and private entrepreneurship.

This tribalisation of non-tribal communities, primitivism of tribal communities led to status quo maintenance in this region and lack of infrastructure for education, health, manufacturing and commercial agriculture. Adding further hindrance to the development of education, Government of Bihar nationalised all private schools in this region except Christian missionary schools, Muslim madarsa in late 1970s and early 1980s.

In a single stroke, private teachers who were highly respected and social workers became highly paid government teachers without any interest in teaching and no management control at school level. Only quality educational institution functioning in this region are Christian missionary schools, that to, up to secondary level.

Access to Schools

Barrier to education are poverty, non-availability of educational institutions, qualified teachers, lack of school management systems and small scattered and hilly settlement, etc. The non-transferability of land holding and hereditary village headmen system become hindrance for growth of small villages into big villages either through migration of people from small villages to larger villages or integration of various tribes/clans and growth urban centers in these scheduled areas.

These small villages and tolas failed to generate minimum critical strength for students for proper functioning of schools and or appointment of more teachers. The introduction of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan since 2001 constructed primary school within one Kilometers from habitats, upper primary school within two Kilometers from residence, and higher secondary school within five Kilometers from residence.

This led to rise of single/ two teacher schools, multi grade single class room classes; however, these schools are remote and difficult to monitor schools.

Table I - Distance Travelled by Teachers to Reach Schools

All in Percentage


Type of Teachers /Distance Travelled

Less than 02 kms.

02 kms. to 10 kms.

10 kms. to 20 kms.

More than 20 km.


Permanent Teachers






Government Contract Teachers






Private School Teachers






All Teachers





Source: Primary Data

42.5 % of Government permanent teachers are travelling more than 10 kms per day to reach schools and among them 28 % are travelling more than 20 kms per day to reach schools. On the other hand, 69.1% 0f private school teachers and 55% of the Government Contract Teachers were traveling less than two Kilometers to reach the schools.

There-by private teachers and Government contract teachers are living very close to school. Higher the distance between place of residence of teacher and school more often the teacher will be absent from school. This increases during the rainy season and peak summer and winter season.

In case of remote and hilly terrain located single/two teacher school in the tribal areas, there is no guarantee the teacher will be there to teach the tribal students. This led to lack of interest on the part of parents and students. Hence, there was a high drop outs in remote area.

Residence of Teachers

The sorry state of affairs is not without any reason. In this study area, land tenancy does not allow transfer of land even for construction of houses. The isolation policy through land institutions adopted since colonial time, the service providers like teachers, medical staff, and traders could neither find land for construction of houses nor home on rent nor own house near the place of work. By looking raw data from Table 1 one may come to the conclusion that the Government teachers are purposely coming from long distance. Again our study further reveals that in addition to legal hindrance to own house or purchase land to construct houses, houses are not available for rent also.

Table 2 - Place of School and Residence of Teachers

All in Percentage


Type  of Teachers /Residence

Teachers Residence

Teacher’s  Children Residence

Same Panchayat

Out Side Panchayat but Same Block

Outside Block


Same Panchayat

Outside Panchayat but Same Block

Outside Block


Permanent Teachers








Government Contract Teachers








Private School Teachers








All Teachers







Source: Primary Data

The study reveals that the Government permanent teacher, their families and children are living far away from school. Only 33.9 % of Government permanent teachers are staying in the same panchayat in which school is located and 20.7% and 57.8% of Government permanent teachers children are staying out of the panchayat and block in which the school is located. Against this, 64% and 39.5% of Government contract teachers and private school teachers children are staying in the same panchayat.

This huge difference was mainly due to the reason that Government permanent teachers belongs to district cadres and Government contract and private school teachers are locally appointed. In addition to non-availability of house for rent, executing rent agreement between house owner and tenant is illegal as per land tenancy system of Santhal Parganas. These factors force the teachers and other service providers to stay at district and block headquarters, thus, away from schools and students.

This also shows that higher the salary and more secure their service condition; teachers will live far away from schools. In addition to this, on the ground of non-professional and professional related works like electoral roll revision, monthly meeting, in-service training, construction related work, mid-day meals work and treasury work, Government teachers try to skip schools and try to remain at district or block headquarters.

Land for Education and other Infrastructure Facilities

Santhal Parganas land tenancy does not allow the transfer of land even for public purposes like educational infrastructure, medical facilities, skilled development and urbanization to market their agriculture produce and to avail other services. No transfer is allowed under section 20 of Santhal Parganas Tenancy Act 1949 (SPT Act 1949) and any transfer done so will be liable for eviction under section 42 of this Act through summary trial by revenue authorities.

Section 13, 15, 16, 17 and 18 of SPT Act 2009 put restrictions even on raiyat rights. Their rights over land are limited to domestic or agricultural purposes of raiyat himself and his family. Our study revealed that 58% of Government schools are illegally located in Jamabandi land and 100% private schools are illegally located in Jamabandhi land, in other words, they do not have valid right and title over school land.

Table 3: Nature and Area of Land for Schools

All in Percentage


Type  of Teachers /Nature of land Area

Nature of Land

Area of Land

Government Land

Jamabandhi Land

Less than 0.25 Acres

0.25 to 0.5 Acres

0.5 to 02 Acres

More than 02 Acres


Government Schools








Private Schools








All Schools







Source: Primary Data

RTE Act 2009 gives more emphasis on physical infrastructures like size and number of class rooms, play ground to improve the quality of education. Our study revealed that 67% of Government and 34% of private schools are having less than 0.5 acres of land. Hardly 33 % of Government schools and 66% of Private schools own more than 0.5 acres of land area under school. Again, all private schools have established their school in Jamabandhi area, whereas the Government schools were located in Government as well as Jhamabhandhi land. Locations of Government schools in these areas are mainly decided by the availability of Government waste land or land gifted by villagers.

Normally, Central Government education budget does not contribute for land cost. Local authorities and interested parties including petty contactors may not choose suitable appropriate location for schools. Rarely, State Government acquires land for primary schools in these regions at suitable location.

Private school management purchases tribal land through unregistered gift deed between the tribal raiyat and school management. This unregistered gift deed has no evidential or legal value and it is illegal as per tenancy law. The consideration paid to the raiyat is very petty amount. Generally, the private school management organises bhoj (feast) under village headman or influential tribal leader for whole villagers to have community approval as per their tribal customs. Because of this illegal transaction, they could not get legal right and title over the land; however, there is no alternative legal way to acquire land except land acquisition through The Land Acquisition Act 1894, which is almost impossible for these private school managements.

This land tenancy system became hindrance for development of private sector schools and recognition of private school by State Education Board, CBSE and ICSE. Among the surveyed 24 private schools in these blocks, none of the private schools has recognition under RTE Act 2009. Some of these private schools are having better infrastructure facilities, teaching activities and outcome.

Unrecognized private school circumvents this problem in several ways. The most common practice found in this study area is double enrollment in unrecognized private schools (Mission Schools) and Government schools simultaneously in case of state board and in the case of unrecognised private schools following CBSE and ICSE stream with recognised school of Bhagalpur (Bihar) of the same stream. These unrecognised schools are not authorised to issue valid school transfer certificates and students enrolled alone in these schools cannot appear in board exams. The gross enrolment ratio (primary) of Deoghar, Godda, Pakur and Sahibganj, Dumka and Jamtara District of Santhal Parganas are 164.5% , 166.4%, 163.4%, 173%, 99.9% and data not available respectively as per district education report card 2009-10 prepared from DISE by NUEPA.

Note that private unrecognised schools are more than just supplemental tuition centers and should be thought of schools because they usually run during the same time of the regular schools and children do not attend both kinds of school although they may be enrolled in both. This enrollment is a convenient arrangement for all because the Government school has to show high level of enrollment, parents and children get books, uniforms and other free supplies from the Government schools. But, this double enrollment is a waste of national resources and creates corruption in Government educational institutions.

Communication Gap between Pupil and Teacher

Because anti-assimilation features impeded in the land tenancy system between various tribal and also with main stream society, there is no scope for common mother tongue or common language between tribal and non-tribal of this region. In Santhal Parganas, two tribal languages: Santhali and Pahariya and two non-tribal languages: Hindi and Bengali are spoken. The students know the former two languages and the teachers know the latter language. Hence, these were a gap in teaching language and mother tongue of students. Our study in tribal language knowledge among teachers using simple translation from tribal sentence to Hindi showed the following result in Table 4.

Table 4: Teachers Knowledge of Tribal Language


Type  of Teachers /Tribal Language


Pahariya( Malto)






Government Permanent teacher






Government Contract teachers






Private School Teachers






All Teachers





Source: Primary Data

Pahariya (Malto) is a language of pahariya primitive tribal and they are having sizeable population in these three blocks. 96.5% of all teachers and 33.6% of all teachers do not understand pahariya and Santhali language respectively. In short, most of the teachers do not understand the language of students and students can't understand the language of teachers. This led to learning failure and high drop-out rates among tribal students. Knowledge about tribal language is never a condition for the appointment of Government permanent teachers in these tribal areas.

Living Standard of Government and Private Teachers

Exclusive land institutions, negativity in factors of production, failure to introduce economic growth model with restrictive land tenancy system and naxalism has stalled the economic prosperity and development of scheduled areas and tribes including Santhal Parganas. Per capita income of Santhal Parganas is not separately available, per capita state domestic product at current price of Jharkhand state is Rs. 29,786 for the year 2010-11, which is second lowest in the country.

Annual salary of trained primary level Government contract teacher as on March 2013 is Rs. 74,400 (Rs.6,200 X 12). Average annual salary of Government permanent primary/upper primary teacher as on March 2013 is Rs.4,40,340 (Rs.36,695 X 12). In addition, the permanent teachers are entitled for other retirement benefit. Average annual salary of private school teacher is Rs.36,612 (Rs.3051 X 12). Graphical representation of the per capita income is given in chart 2.

annual salary of teacher

This means annual salary of Government permanent teacher is 14.8 times of the average per capita income of Jharkhand. The annual salary of Government contract teacher is 2.5 times of average per capita income of Jharkhand state excluding income from other sources. In international standard, the Education for All Fast Track Initiative of UNESCO seeks to achieve an average annual teacher salary of 3.5 times per capita gross domestic product by 2015.

Like education, other basic services like medical facility, market for household items also poorly developed in these regions. Our study revealed that teachers are depending on outside their place of posting for medical and other facilities. Because of restrictive land tenancy system, these regions are still depend on weekly rural hats of primitive economy and quack doctors for medical facilities in interior places except block and district headquarters. This forces the teachers to stay away from place of posting and students habitats.

The standard of living of government permanent teachers is much higher than the standard of living of students, government contract teachers and private school teachers. This difference in living standard becomes hindrance for parental care from teachers especially permanent government teachers. Because of historical and colonial imposed isolation; tribal way of living; their language; their festivals and their affection towards non-distilled alcohols are different from dominant society. This creates a feeling among teachers and students that they are different and this becomes hindrance in the learning process.

Lack of budget private schools:

All private schools existing in these schedule V area blocks are Christian missionary schools and these area lack recognised private budget schools catering to poor. Section 19 read along with schedule of the RTE Act, 2009 provides mandatory physical infrastructure required for a private school to get recognition under this Act. To create physical infrastructure like class room, buildings, headmaster room, play ground school requires land.

All new schools to be established after the commencement of this Act are required to have land to create this infrastructure. According to section 20 of SPT ACT 1949, no land is saleable/ transferable. Even if they acquire land through Kurfa or gift, the valid title over land can't be acquired. This constraint in land tenancy will create glorified tuition classes rather them recognised private budget schools.

Under the current law, the private educational institutions are not for profit organisations. Being a not-for-profit organisation, they can't raise share capital to finance educational institution. They have to depend on charity or personal funds. None of the banks in Santhal Parganas has extended any loan to private schools for construction purpose, because under section 20 of SPT Act 1949, mortgage of land is illegal.

Compliance of section 19 and schedule of RTE Act 2009, private school needs capital which has to be borne either by the promoter or by parents of students. This will again lead to rise in the fee charged by private schools. Thus private budget schools of Santhal Parganas lacks land resources and capital resources because of hindrance in land institutions.


Not only economists, policy makers and bureaucrats even shoe makers and tailors know that one size does not fit all ". In spite of that, we continue to make uniform legislations, policies and programs through out a diversified country like India. This may be happening due to lack of knowledge and understanding or to enforce uniform norms and standards throughout the country. When we traverse cross scheduled V and VI area of India, one can encounter these types of problem in education sector and lack of solution.

Amartiya Sen points out that legislation, which can go a long way towards ensuring enforceability of specific minimum entitlement, may also have the negative effect of giving restrictive or limited interpretation of the content of the concerned human right. Legislations may be also rise to policy in action on the ground that specific legal rules have been complied with. For example, if a law lays down that the duty of the state to ensure x,y,z then the state will restrict its activities in ensuring x,y,z without looking beyond that framework.

The point is not so much whether the legislative route can make right to education and right to land most effective. Legislation route certainly can do this in many cases. The point rather is that there are other routes as well, which too help to make the right to education and right to land more influential and effective. Colonial administration had provisions for community lands like goucher (grassing) land, pradhni( village headman) land, hutia (village market) land etc to serve the public purpose of primitive tribal life conditions through The Survey and Settlement Regulations 1872. But this regulation does not have provision for land for public purposes like education, health, skill development, employment generation, etc.

Till date, we are following 19th and 20th centuries colonial extractive land institutions but we are promising tribal and depressed classes to achieve millennium development goals by 2015 in the market driven globalisation era. Land is required in these scheduled areas for socio-economic development of tribal and non-tribal like educational institutions, medical facilities and homestead land for these service providers, markets and other public purposes. We are not arguing that tribal land should have free hold tenancy but limited public purpose transfer through well-regulated market forces.

The government waste land and non-tribal land should have free hold tenancy in these regions. Thereby, government waste land through market forces at market value and non-tribal can transfer their holding for development purposes like homestead land, educational facilities, health facilities, employment generation through SME and large scale industries and urbanisation.

Dr.L.Rathakrishnan ( is a professor in the Dept. of RIM at The Gandhigram Rural Institute- Deemed University. K.Ravi kumar ( is an IAS officer of Jharkhand cadre, PhD Student at The Gandhigram Rural Institute- Deemed University





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