Nuapada district has basically an agrarian and forest economy. Much of the population depends on agriculture and forest. They live in subsistence economy in the absence of any alternative sources of meaningful employment.
The lives of the rural people revolve around natural resources. Its management has a lot to do on their lives. Their livelihood is determined largely by the Non-Timber Forest Produces (NTFP) like Mahua flower, Char, Harida and Bahada, Tol etc. They procure NTFP both for consumption as well as selling. But since the last few decades this sector is failing to sustain their lives. The same is found in agriculture sector also. Absence of Irrigation, poor land quality make agriculture non remunerative. In both forest and agricultural produces the people suffer distress sale. Most of the lands in Nuapada district are upland with low productivity. Irrigation facility is almost non-existent (less than 15% against the state average of 30%), land right is not clear and there are many villages which are on encroached land even if people have been staying there since generations. The pre-eighties settlement failed to reach these unfortunate people. In case of forest also the same trend is found. The tribal people have been living in close proximity with nature. Nature forms an integral part of their lives. But there are a number of restrictions imposed upon them so far as their usufruct right is concerned.
There are many villages in this area which fall in the core region of the sanctuary. The tribal are under continuous threat of being displaced. Leaving their forest abode is the last thing these people can accept. In addition to this people are restricted to collect NTFP, move around in the forest, collect fuel wood etc. The situation is similar in other forest area also.