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Covid-19: Vulnerable tribes infected


Many members of eight different Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) got infected in the second wave of Covid-19 in Odisha.

The infected PVTGs include the Bonda tribe of Malkangiri hills and Dongaria Kondh tribe of Niyamgiri hills.


GS-I: Indian Society, GS-II: Social Justice (Health related issues)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTG)
  2. Bonda people
  3. Tribal Groups in Odisha

Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTG)

  • Tribal communities are often identified by some specific signs such as primitive traits, distinctive culture, geographical isolation, shyness to contact with the community at large and backwardness.
  • Some tribal groups have some specific features such as dependency on hunting, gathering for food, having pre-agriculture level of technology, zero or negative growth of population and extremely low level of literacy, which are called Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups.
  • PVTGs are more vulnerable among the tribal groups.
  • Due to this factor, more developed and assertive tribal groups take a major chunk of the tribal development funds, because of which PVTGs need more funds directed for their development.
  • In 1973, the Dhebar Commission created Primitive Tribal Groups (PTGs) as a separate category, who are less developed among the tribal groups.
  • In 2006, the Government of India renamed the PTGs as Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs).
  • PVTGs have some basic characteristics -they are mostly homogenous, with a small population, relatively physically isolated, social institutes cast in a simple mould, absence of written language, relatively simple technology and a slower rate of change etc.


  • The Bonda (also known as the Bondo, Bondo Poraja, Bhonda, or Remo) are a Munda ethnic group who live in the isolated hill regions of the Malkangiri district of southwestern Odisha, near the junction of the three states of Odisha, Chhattisgarh, and Andhra Pradesh.
  • There are two different Bonda tribes: The Upper Bondas who are the most isolated from mainstream Indian society, and the Lower Bonda.
  • The Bonda are also known as the Remo, and is one of the oldest and most primitive in mainland India; their culture has changed little for more than a thousand years.
  • They are one of the 75 Primitive Tribal Groups identified by the Government of India.
  • Realizing that the Bonda people were in a cultural decline, the Government of Orissa brought to life the Bonda Development Agency (BDA) in 1977.
  • Bondas, a particularly vulnerable tribal group (PVTG), live in settlements comprising small hutments in the hills of the Khairaput block.

Tribal Groups in Odisha

  • According to the 2011 Census, Odisha’s share of the country’s total tribal population was 9%.
  • The Tribals constitute 22.85% of the State’s population.
  • In terms of numbers of its tribal population, Odisha occupies the third position in India.
  • Bonda, Birhor, Chuktia Bhunjia, Didayi, Dungaria Kandha, Hill Kharia, Juang, Kutia Kondh, Lanjia Saora, Lodha, Mankirdia, Paudi Bhuyan and Saora are the 13 PVTGs in Odisha.

-Source: The Hindu

February 2024