Rayagada district

Rayagada is a district in southern Odisha, a state in India, which became a separate district in October 1992. It’s population consists mainly of tribes, primarily the Khonds and the Souras. In addition to Odia, Kui and Soura are spoken by the district’s indigenous population. It was founded by Maharajah Vishwanath Dev Gajapati of the Suryavansh dynasty of Jeypore. Rayagada covers an area of 7,584.7 square kilometres (2,928.5 sq mi), and is divided into eleven blocks. Agriculture is the chief source of income, and paddy, wheat, ragi, green and black gram, groundnut, sweet potato and maize are the district’s major crops.
In the third century BC, during the reign of Ashoka, Odisha was part of the Kalinga empire. The hilly track between the Vamshadhara and Nagavali Rivers was known for its spices. The Rastriks were defeated by Kharvela, the emperor of Kalinga, during the battle of Chawpagada.[7] During the British Raj, Rayagada was under the then-newly demoted Jeypore Samasthanam and was part of Koraput district; it was carved from the district on 2 October 1992 as part of Odisha’s district-expansion plan. The district is reportedly rich in bauxite and silicon In 2006, the Ministry of Panchayati Raj named Rayagada one of the country’s 250 most backward districts (out of a total of 640) It is one of the 19 districts in Odisha receiving aid from the Backward Regions Grant Fund (BRGF).

Rayagada district had a population of 967,911 in the 2011 Census of India, roughly equal to that of Fiji or the US state of Montana. The district ranked 454th of India’s 640 districts and had a population density of 136 inhabitants per square kilometre (350/sq mi). Its population growth rate from 2001 to2011 was 15.74 percent. Rayagada has a sex ratio of 1,048 females to 1,000 males, and a literacy rate of 50.88 percent.
At the time of the 2011 Census of India, 42.80% of the population in the district spoke Odia, 33.36% Kui, 10.43% Telugu, 8.37% Sora, 3.27% Kuvi and 0.66% Hindi as their first language. The district’s tribal population is 57.52 percent of the total. Its 11 blocks have been covered by a tribal sub-plan, with three micro-projects in operation for pre-literate indigenous tribal communities. Rayagada’s topography helps the tribal communities maintain their cultural identity; 4,785.36 square kilometres (1,847.64 sq mi) is forested, 777.27 square kilometres (300.11 sq mi) of which is reserved forest. Its predominant tribes are the Khonds and the Souras.
Govind Chandra Dev (Zilla) High School, founded in 1938, is one of the district’s oldest high schools. Government Girls’ High School, in Rayagada, was founded in 1964. Other schools in Rayagada are Kendriya Vidyalaya, Sacred Heart School, Deepti Convent School, Maharshi Vidya Mandir, St. Xavier’s High School and N.V.R Educational Institution. A primary school was founded at the Thakkar Bapa Ashram in 1958 for tribal students. The Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya of Rayagada is a boarding school in Bisam Cuttack.
Rayagada Autonomous College is affiliated with Berhampur University. The Utkal Gourav Madhusudan Institute of Technology is an engineering school. The Gandhi Institute of Engineering and Technology is in Gunupur. College of Nursing www.chbmck.org affiliated with Berhampur University, managed by the Christian Hospital, Bissam Cuttack offers B.Sc. Nursing program.
READ intervened in the district in the year 2007 seeing the livelihood situation of the tribal and marginal farmers. We started working with women groups on their socio-economic and political empowerment. Gradually we expanded our activities to agriculture development and gender issues, concentrating to the need of the people.