Institute for Social and Economic Change

Working Paper: 442

 Economic, Occupational and Livelihood Changes of
Scheduled Tribes of North East India


Reimeingam Marchang



The paper examines the changing livelihood system from agriculture-based towards non-agricultural-based system of Scheduled Tribes (STs) of North Eastern Region. Agricultural households continue to be prominent; however, non-agricultural households are growing in rural areas. In urban areas, non-agricultural households are rapidly growing. However, agriculture, shifting cultivation in particular, continues to be a prominent means of livelihood for some of them. Concerning employment, agriculture employment has declined largely due to the significant decline among cultivators. Employment in non-agriculture sector has improved largely driven by development, particularly education. ST’s means of livelihood has converged from subsistence agricultural income towards diversified modern market-oriented employment and economy. It portrays the convergence of the livelihood system from agriculture to non-agriculture. It is evident from three facts as follows: decline of agricultural households while non-agricultural households increase; decline of agricultural income while non-agricultural income rises; and shift of employment from agricultural to non-agricultural activities.

Working Papers