Odisha has the largest number of tribes amongst all the states of India. They constitute Twenty four percent of the total population of the state. In Odisha there are more than 62 tribes including 13 particularly vulnerable tribal groups (PVTGs), who speak in multiple and varied languages. Some of these languages are fast declining and about to disappear. MTBMLE is an effort to preserve the cultural treasure of the country. Odisha is India’s most linguistically diverse state with 50 languages, of which 38 were tribal. Only 10 out of even 22 major tribal languages in the state are covered under MLE programme.

Tribes of Odisha and Languages

Sl. No. Scheduled Tribes Area of Concentration Language Spoken Language Family
1. Bagata Cuttack, Balasore, Sundergarh Sadri-Odia Indo-Aryan
2. Baiga Kalahandi Chhatishgadhi – Odia -do-
3. Banjara Kalahandi, Nuapara Chhatishgadhi-Odia -do-
4. Bathudi Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar Bathudi /Northern Odia -do-
5. Bhottada Koraput, Kalahandi, Nowrangpur Bhatri -do-
6. Bhuiya, Bhuyan Sundargarh, Keonjhar Western Odia -do-
7. Bhumia Koraput Desia -do-
8. Bhumij Mayurbhanj, Balasore Mundari Austro-Asiatic
9. Bhunjia Kalahandi, Koraput, Nuapara Marathi-Chhatisgadhi Indo-Aryan
10. Binjhal Baragarh, Sonepur Samalpuri -do-
11. Binjhia, Binjhoa Sundargarh, Sambalpur Chhatisgadhi-Odia -do-
12. Birhor Sundargarh Birhor Austro-Asiatic
13. BondoParaja Malkangiri Remo -do-
14. Chenchu Kalahandi, Sundargarh Southern Odia Dravidian
15. Dal Bolangir, Kalahandi Western Odia Indo-Aryan
16. DesiaBhumij Puri, Mayurbhanj Northen-Oriya -do-
17. Dharua Koraput, Mayurbhanj Parji Dravidian
18. Didayi Malkangiri Gta Austro-Asiatic
19. Gadaba Koraput Gutab -do-
20. Gandia Malkangiri, Nowrangpur Koya Dravidian
21. Ghara Kalahandi, Sambalpur Gondi Dialect Dravidian
22. Gond, Gondo Kalahandi, Sambalpur, Nowrangpur Gondi -do-
23. Ho Mayurbhaj, Keonjhar Ho Austro-Asiatic
24. Holva Koraput, Kalahandi Halbi Indo-Aryan
25. Jatapu Koraput, Ganjam, Rayagada Telgu Dialect Dravidian
26. Juang Keonjhar, Anugul Juang Austro Asiatic
27. KandhaGauda Kondhamal, Puri Oriya Indo-aryan
28. Kawar Sundargarh, Sambalpur Munda Austo-Asiatic
29. Kharia, Kharian Sundargarh, Sambalpur, Jharsuguda Khadia -do-
30. Kharwar Keonjhar, Mayurbhanj Kherwari -do-
31. Khond, Kond, Kandha, NanguliKandha, SithaKandha Koraput, Kondhamal, Rayagada, Malkangiri, Nowrangpur Kui/Kuvi/Kuwi Dravidian
32. Kisan Sambalpur, Sundargarh Kisan Dravidian
33. Kol Keonjhar, Sundergarh Ho Austro-Asiatic
34. Kolahloharas, KolLoharas Sundargarh Ho -do-
35. Kolha Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar Munda -do-
36. Koli, Malhar Dhenkanal, Ganjam Oriya Indo-Aryan
37. Kondadora Koraput, Ganjam, Rayagada Konda Dravidian
38. Kora Dhenkanal, Keonjhar, Anugul Munda Austro-Asiatic
39. Korua Sambalpur, Koraput Local-Odia Indo-Aryan
40. Kotia Koraput Desia-Odia -do-
41. Koya Malkangiri Koya Dravidian
42. Kulis Sambalpur, Bolangir, Bargarh Western Odia Indo-Aryan
43. Lodha Mayurbhanj Kurmali – Odia -do-
44. Madia Koraput, Dhenkanal Gondi Dravidian
45. Mahali Mayurbhanja, Sundargarh Santali Austro-Asiatic
46. Mankidi Kalahandi, Sundargarh Birhor -do-
47. Mankidia Mayurbhanj, Sambalpur Birhor -do-
48. Matya Dhenkanal, Koraput, Anugul Local Oriya Indo-Aryan
49. Mirdhas Sambalpur, Bolangir Kisan Dravidian
50. Munda, MundaLohra, MundaMahalis Sundargarh, Sambalpur Mundari Austro-Asiatic
51. Mundari Sundargarh, Mayurbhanj Mundari -do-
52. Omantya Koraput, Ganjam, Nowrangpur Desia Indo-Aryan
53. Oraon Sundargarh, Sambalpur, Jharsuguda Kurux Dravidian
54. Parenga Koraput Gorum Austro-Asiatic
55. Paroja Koraput, Rayagada, Malkangiri Desia/Paraja Indo-Aryan
56. Pentia Kalahandi, Sambalpur, Koraput Local Odia -do-
57. Rajuar Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar Northern Odia -do-
58. Santal Mayurbhanj, Balasore, Keonjhar Santali Austro-Asiatic
59. Saora, Savar, Saura, Sahara Rayagada, Gajapati Sora -do-
60. Shabar, Lodha Mayurbhanj LocaOdia Indo-Aryan
61. Sounti Keonjhar, Mayurbhanj Local Odia -do-
62. Tharua Mayurbhanj, Balasore -do- -do-

Some of these languages are fast declining and about to disappear. And so, MTBMLE is important. For it will preserve the cultural treasure of the country. It provides learners with a strong educational foundation in the first language in terms of instruction and a stepping stone in achieving the aims of education as well as the goal of functional literacy.