Gajapati is a district of Odisha, India. It was created from Ganjam District in October, 1992. Gajapati district was named after Maharaja Sri Krushna Chandra Gajapati Narayan Dev, the Raja Sahib of the Paralakhemundi estate (the first Prime Minister of the state), who is remembered for his contribution in the formation of a separate state, and inclusion of the Paralakhemundi estate in Odisha. The district headquarters at Paralakhemundi, formerly a princely estate, has been clustered within a radius of approximately 5 kilometers around the geometric centre of Paralakhemundi. The District is a part of the Red Corridor.
In 2006 the Ministry of Panchayati Raj named Gajapati one of the country’s 250 most backward districts (out of a total of 640). It is one of the 19 districts in Odisha currently receiving funds from the Backward Regions Grant Fund Programme (BRGF).
The district has a population density of 133 inhabitants per square kilometre (340/sq mi). Its population growth rate over the decade 2001-2011 was 10.99%. Gajapati has a sex ratio of 1042 females for every 1000 males, and a literacy rate of 54.29%.
At the time of the 2011 Census of India, 41.51% of the population in the district spoke Odia, 34.49% Sora, 15.53% Telugu and 5.54% Kui as their first language.
READ was originated from Gajapati district of Odisha in the year 1993. The socio-economic, health, education condition of the people was despondent. Some energetic youth of the time had organised themselves and had started working on the issues. They had started with adult education and balwadi education. Later on it was legally registered under societies registration act. Slowly the work and area was expanded to 4 districts now. READ is now mainly focusing on Dalit, Tribal women empowerment in the district.