IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis

Odisha’s Bonda tribe sees rise in ‘distress migration’

23rd November, 2020 Society

Context: While the youth have abandoned villages for work in distant towns, children have dropped out of schools after pandemic

  • Perched at a height of 3,500ft above sea level in the hilly Malkangiri district of Odisha, this village is difficult to access and so are its inhabitants — the Bondas, a particularly vulnerable tribal group, known for their secluded lives away from the mainstream.
  • However, the lack of access has not prevented young Bondas from being forced leave their pristine hamlets for low-paid jobs in distant towns of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and States even farther.
  • Though the pandemic did not have much impact on Bondas as they mostly depend on government food subsidies.
  • Many were not able to sell their farm and and forest produce as the weekly markets remained closed for months during lockdown period.
  • Given that the highland tribal community are extremely vulnerable, the Odisha government had set up a micro project to ensure focused development of Bondas as early as 1976-77.
  • The Bonda Development Agency (BDA) covers 32 habitations in total from four gram panchayats.


  • The Bonda (also known as the Bondo, Bondo Poraja, Bhonda, or Remo) are a Munda ethnic group approximately 12,000 (2011 census) who live in the isolated hill regions of the Malkangiri district of southwestern Odisha, India, near the junction of the three states of Odisha, Chhattisgarh, and Andhra Pradesh.
  • The Bonda are a scheduled tribe of India and are also known as the Remo (meaning "people" in the Bonda language).
  • The tribe 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.
  • Their isolation and known aggressiveness continue to preserve their culture despite the pressures of an expanding Indian population.