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India: Orissa

Volume 704: debated on Thursday 30 October 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether the Department for International Development plans to invest in projects for tackling rural poverty amongst the Dalit peoples and scheduled tribes in Orissa State, India. [HL5841]

The Department for International Development (DfID) has two ongoing programmes that directly address rural poverty among Dalits (scheduled castes) and scheduled tribes in Orissa.

The western Orissa rural livelihoods project, with a budget of £32.75 million, focuses on improving opportunities for very poor people to earn a decent living. The project aims to benefit 400,000 poor people from four districts including 140,000 people from scheduled tribes and 60,000 from scheduled castes. The project commenced in 2000 and will run over a period of 10 years. A recent review found that good progress was being made, with income levels in the target communities rising steadily.

The Orissa tribal empowerment and livelihoods programme is jointly supported by DfID, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, Government of Orissa and the programme beneficiaries. DfID's contribution is £9.76 million over six years, from 2004 to 2010, and is intended to improve incomes, water and sanitation and reduce malnutrition in very poor tribal areas. The programme aims to benefit poor people from eight districts with a total population of 1.7 million people. 75,000 households are being directly targeted, including 315,000 people from scheduled tribes and 37,500 from scheduled castes.

In addition to these two programmes, DfID supports a number of Government of India schemes which cover the entire country and are therefore active in Orissa. These address the need for better health, education and other services for the poorest, with a focus on marginalised groups such as scheduled castes and scheduled tribes.