Pragati (Integrated Rural Health and Development Project)

Locations: Aghai, Shahpur Taluk

Sponsor: Tata Institute of Social Sciences


Integrated Rural health and development project (IRHDP) has been functional since 1986 in the village of Aghai , situated in Shahapur Taluk. Till date this project has taken various steps at various levels for the development of the ‘Adhivasis’ or the Tribal people. The main tribal populations that cover these regions are the Konkana, Katkari and Warli tribes.


Aghai is one of the Village in Shahapur Taluk in Thane District in Maharashtra State situated to the Westside of the Sahyadri Ghats. The location of the project comes under the Tansa Wildlife Sanctuary. The large forest areas surrounding the Tansa dam have been proclaimed as a protected wildlife sanctuary under the Wildlife Preservation Act in 1970. The padas are at a distance of 50kms to 100kms from the modern cities of Thane and Mumbai respectively.

The remote geographical location, lack of infrastructure, limited road connectivity, lack of electricity, and limited transportation facilities from the nearest railway station to Aghai village pose various challenges in the process of development of these tribal hamlets. In this context of rampant poverty, illiteracy, and structural deprivation, tribal community members are left with limited livelihood options.  They live in a vicious cycle of poverty and vulnerable to expoliattive labour markets who hire their labour for negligible amount. The number of landless families is higher and thus every year there is an increase in the number of people who have to migrate to other villages for employment. As they migrate to work on brick-kilns, at construction sites, for tree cutting, or farming activities their children’s education remains incomplete and their children too get engaged in such unskilled labour seeking lower wages. In this given context, the Centre for Health and Mental Health, has been working in Aghai on the “social determinants” frame with a overall development focus, and community engagement as strategy.

The project has gone through various phases since 1986 under the leadership of many faculty members and the objectives of the project also evolved over the years.

Intervention areas: Palichapada, Jambhul pada, Raute Pada, Mali pada, Nevrepada, Hasnepada., Borala