Adivasis known as Scheduled Tribes constitute 8.6% of the population of India having 750 different communities. Plight of the Adivasis have not improved as it should have been even after 73 years of independence . One of the major reasons being nonparticipation in decision making process affecting the lives of the Adivasis. This is in spite of the fact that a number of provisions are available in the constitution of India and number of schemes are devised for the development of Tribals. All these provisions and schemes have definitely brought change but not to the level it should have been . There is lack of a concerted effort not only to identify the root causes but also possible solutions. There is also lack of certain basic data for different communities. There is also due to lack of effective research on the development of Adivasis. It only indicates ineffectiveness of the existing system. Setting up the CoE has been the outcome to make an attempt to bridge this gap. It is also important to appreciate that the socio – political and economic landscape is changing very fast so also the technology. It is therefore more appropriate to have a CoE by the Adivasis and for the Adivasis.
Santal Engineers Welfare Association ( SEA) has been debating and deliberating since its officially inception in 2005 and engaged in activities directed towards the development of the Adivasis. There is a growing feeling that a Centre of Excellence is necessary to work systematically for the holistic development of Adivasis. Therefore during AGM of 2019 at Bhubaneswar it was decided to set up the CoE at Bhubaneswar.
Vision, Mission & Objectives
Vision : To work towards holistic development of Adivasi societies and empower them to lead a life with dignity, equity and justice in line with their own generocity.
Mission: To be a think tank on policy research and advocate on Tribal development and establish the CoE as repository of knowledge and information. To engage in field activities to carry forward the vision.
Objectives: The CoE shall focus its work in following areas:
- Shall work on value addition in the education system to reduce the outcome gap between the top students and the Adivasis students.
- Instill in the minds of the youths a sense of dignity, pride and ownership in their culture.
- To see that youths are rooted to the ground with their society.
- Work on reducing gender disparity among youths.
- Develop the spirit of excellence.
- Deficiency of skill is a major reason for unemployment. Current day requirement of skills are quite different and changing very fast. Existing educational institutions are not equipped to address these issues and very often skill development efforts by Govt and Non Govt agencies do not reach the needy Adivasis.
- Centre will work on identifying those skills and help secure for the Adivasis.
- Centre shall also focus on job specific preparatory processes for jobs like Public Service Commissions ,Staff Selection Commissions, Banks, PSUs, LIC etc.
- In the diminishing job market, entrepreneurship is one of the best option available for growth.
- The biggest handicap in the direction is the attitudinal aspects which is rooted in hostile and unfriendly ecosystem on entrepreneurship for Adivasis. Some of the aspects are non availability of funds, lack of social capital, support ecosystems from friends and family apart from professional network etc, .
- Centre shall work to motivate Adivasis youths, act as felicitator and handhold to promote the culture of entrepreneurship.
4. Culture and Language:
- Culture and language are the most important ingredients of tribal identity which are unique to their societies. Without identity, growth is hollow and incomplete.
- The centre shall put concerted effort to document, preserve, promote, project and rejuvenate the rich language and culture of the Adivasis societies.
- The language, song, music, dance, fine arts and artifects etc that are decaying due to onslaught of modernization and alien influence.
- Develop and use technology like machine assisted translation system, Unicode compliant script for tribal languages and develop applications to support online translations to promote tribal language and culture.
5. Social Research:
- To conduct qualitative research on tribal societies, the outcome of which can be applied for development.
- Build database and information repository that can be utilized in shaping development policies.
- Function as a forum and offer a platform where people can contribute and share their work. Some of the critical suggested areas are:
- Migration, displacement, resettlement and rehabilitation.
- Education, employment, employability and entrepreneurship.
- Forest rights, issues of tribal governance, 5th & 6th schedule provisions, PESA etc.
- Art, culture and language.
- Critical evaluation of Govt. Policies and schemes.
1. Guiding principles of operations:
The following would be the guiding principles that would form the base on which the CoE shall operate.
- To be inclusive of all Adivasis and actively seek involvement of every Adivasi community.
- Primarily add value to the system, reduce the outcome gaps between Adivasi and other societies, pilot new initiatives in order that large scale impact is achievable with key strategic interventions.
- Shall advocate policy change based on research and field outcomes.
- CoE to be characterized as ”Think tank”, ‘Policy Advocate”, “Researcher”, "Implementer" and "Repository of Knowledge and Information"
CoE at Bhubaneswar shall be central CoE and regional centers to be set up as and when requirement arises and the association (SEA) decides.
3. Organisational Structure:
CoE is established as an independent entity promoted by SEA. To achieve its status as COE, it must have
- Autonomy involving Financial, Academic, and administration.
- Character of the COE being inumerated later would require personnel having different expertise.
- Persons of eminence at national and international levels.
- It shall be governed by a Governing Board having minimum five members headed by Chairman and four other members. All nominated by executive body of SEA.
- Member ( Finance)
- Member( Project, Planning and Administration)
- Independent member
- Independent member
- Functions of Chairman: Shall chair the board and act as head of the CoE; will be responsible for overall functioning of CoE.
- Member (Finance): Look after the finance of the CoE, look after the accounts and shall be responsible for financial evaluation of projects .
- Member ( Project, Planning & Administration): Will look after all projects, Planning and administration of CoE. Will be responsible for day to day planning and administration of the CoE. Act as member secretary to the Board and be a Co-signatory with Member (Finance) as authorizing signatory for operating bank accounts and all other financial transactions.
- Role of Board:
- Responsible for formulating policy and guidelines for effective functions of CoE.
- Make decisions pertaining to effective utilization of funds and assets of the CoE.
- Will approve the business plan for the CoE and suggest options for funding and financial sustainability.
- Monitor actions of CoE and establish Committee/expert panels from time to time as may be required.
- Board would be able to delegate its power to any responsible person/organization for conduct of business.
- Board would deliberate and act on recommendations of Committees/Panels and approve various actions plans mainly from administration and financial points of view.
- Board on recommendations of SEA or various committees/panels will prioritize projects for implementation.
- Review from time to time the positions, Governance , institutional structure, human resources and support system.
Building & Sustaining Excellence in CoE
1. Characteristics of CoE: Should have following features for sustaining long term excellence:
- Autonomy :- Financial and operational.
- Strong Leadership :- Visionary head and diversified board & panel of experts.
- Collaborate and institutional linkages.
- Focus on quality of output :- Peer reviews, dissemination of research results through publications.
- Strong communication strategy :- Emphasis on making ideas, media management, targeted distributions.
- Strong information and knowledge management system.
2. Marketing: Marketing and public relations are important component of CoE’s overall strategy and can have following features.
- Seminar & Conferences: Make conscious effort to reach targeted audiences with series of lectures, seminars, conferences and expert meetings.
- Publications: Generate both traditional and multimedia publications.
- Website: Carry speeches, commentaries, conference reports, programs, analysis, book extracts etc.
- Media: Publication of work in newspapers, magazines, participate in TV programs and other electronic media, social media.
- Strategic partnership with other institutions.
3. Revenue Streams and Resource Flows ( Financial Plans): Following strategies should be followed to raise funds for various initiatives.
- Initial corpus funds may be provided by SEA.
- Project based funds to be persuaded from CSRs of corporate bodies.
- Crowd funding.
- Grants from governments.
- Project consultancy.
- Revenue from data and knowledge management.
- Revenue from certification courses and specialized training modules.
Vision , Mission and objectives laid out shall be achieved through following strategic activities by CoE.
1. Policy Advocacy:
- Reviewing and analyzing policies/schemes of Govt. and provide recommendations as appropriate.
- Drawing policy lessons from various states of India , Govt of India and abroad and provide suggestions to strengthen reform, implementation and devolution of powers.
- Suggestions on implementation of important constitutional and legal provisions for Tribals like PESA, FRI, Schedule areas etc.
2. Research and Action Research:
- Undertake independent research on issues that further the vision and mission of CoE.
- Establish collaborations with Academic and research Institutions and corporate bosies.
- Bring together research Institutions and individual experts to undertake research actions.
- Draw lesions from research and action research studies and its wider dissemination across multiple stake holders.
3. Capacity Development and culture of excellence
- Undertake training, coaching, counselling, interaction programmes and other modes available to empower youths and hand hold them and instill in them the culture of excellence.
- Collaborate with other institutions/organizations .
- Use technology and digital platform for the furtherance of objectives of CoE.
4. Knowledge management:
- Develop Knowledge bases through research and action research and build data base focused on Tribals.
- Develop knowledge repository and best practices, policies, reform measures, capacity building measures, data bank and resource persons and institutions.
- Dissemination of knowledge and information and develop a knowledge management portal which will provide a single window for information on Tribals.
5. Consultancy Services:
- Provide consultancy services to states/corporate/NGOs/academic institutions/training institutes and other national /international level organisations on issues pertaining to Tribals and their development.
- Develop Institutional networks and undertake consultancy services for Tribal development world wide.
6. Learning and Development:
- Develop curriculum and conduct certificate programmes on areas related to Tribal development, Language and culture.
To have a modest beginning following physical targets have been set for the CoE for the current year 2020. These are the targets discussed and agreed in principle during Last AGM, Bhubaneswar in Dec2019. The below shows the plan vs implementation of this first year plan of actions.
||Plan of Action
||Organise hand holding or coaching of at least 10 student for Civil Service
||Provided coaching for 30+ students, majority of them got free and others highly concessional.
||Organise student counselling session twice.
||Not done due to Covid-19 and lockdown.
||Promote and mentor entrepreneurship among Adivasi.
||Though not done in large scale due to covid restriction, but few have been done through personal mentoring sessions.
||Apply to govt of Orissa for allotment of land for CoE.
||Progress has been made on this front and will be done shortly the delayed task.