Capacity Building katkaries for Tribal Development
Since ages, Scheduled Tribes have been victims of socio-economic exploitation. They have been relegated to low income generating occupations, inferior trades, unhealthy environment and unclean unskilled occupations. Although direct visible untouchable practices may be declining in many parts of the country, caste rigidities continue to confine many Schedule Tribe workers in demeaning occupations, which put them at a disadvantage when compared to other communities. The forces of urbanization, social and protective legislation, positive discrimination and other measures taken by the Government, have led to gradual improvement in occupational mobility and living standards over the years.
However, the living conditions of the majority of Scheduled Tribes continue to show socio-economic backwardness. SJSM expanded its work in the tribal area of the neighboring Konkan region in 2006. The most distinguishing activity was the organization of Katkaris. The Katkaris are recognized as a primitive tribal group in Maharashtra and is one of the most subjugated and exploited communities. SJSM not only enthused them with self-confidence but also rejuvenated their livelihood options through inland fisheries. At present, 18 tribal cooperative fisheries societies have been started and 31 water-bodies have been taken for fisheries development and management. This has benefitted in total of 1,825 tribal families. Considering the dearth of fish-seedlings, a comprehensive hatcheries production unit has been started with an annual capacity of 50 million fish spwan. To replicate this work in the entire Konkan region, a network of 22 like-minded organizations has been started. More than 120 self-help groups have been organized involving around 2,500 tribal women. All of these initiatives have resulted into significant gains in income and livelihoods.