Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTG)

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Context: The Centre has sanctioned more than Rs 82,000 crore in the last three years for the socio-economic development of particularly vulnerable tribal groups (PVTGs) in the country, according to data shared in Parliament.

Mains: GS II- Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups:

Tribal communities are often identified by some specific signs such as primitive traits, distinctive culture, geographical isolation, shyness to contact with the community at large and backwardness. Along with these, some tribal groups have some specific features such as dependency on hunting, gathering for food, having a pre-agriculture level of technology, zero or negative growth of population and extremely low level of literacy.

These groups are among the most vulnerable section of our society as they are few in numbers, have not attained any significant level of social and economic development and generally inhabit remote localities having poor infrastructure and administrative support. 75 such groups have been identified and categorized as Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs).

The need for identification: 

  • PVTGs are more vulnerable among the tribal groups. Due to this factor, more developed and assertive tribal groups take a major chunk of the tribal development funds, because of which PVTGs need more funds directed for their development.
  • In this context, in 1975, the Government of India initiated to identify the most vulnerable tribal groups as a separate category called PVTGs and declared 52 such groups, while in 1993 an additional 23 groups were added to the category, making it a total of 75 PVTGs out of 705 Scheduled Tribes, spread over 17 states and one Union Territory (UT), in the country (2011 census).

The characteristics of PVTGs:

  • In 1973, the Dhebar Commission created Primitive Tribal Groups (PTGs) as a separate category, who are less developed among the tribal groups.
  • In 2006, the Government of India renamed the PTGs as Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs).
  • PVTGs have some basic characteristics -they are mostly homogenous, with a small population, relatively physically isolated, social institutes cast in a simple mold, absence of written language, relatively simple technology and a slower rate of change, etc.


  • In India, the tribal population makes up 8.6% of the total population. Tribal people live in about 15% of the geographical area of the country.
  • The places they live vary from plains, forests, hills, inaccessible areas, etc.
  • PVTGs are scattered in different geographical areas of the country.
  • According to the 2001 census, the PVTGs population is approximate 27,68,322.
  • There are 12 PVTGs having a population above 50,000 and the remaining groups have a population of 1000 or less.
  • The PVTG of Sahariyas has the highest population of 4,50,217, while the PVTGs of Sentinelets and Andamanese has a very small population of 39 and 43, respectively.

Social conditions and declining population:

  • The cultural practices, systems, self-governance and livelihood practices of PVTGs have a lot of variations, depending on the group and locality.
  • These tribal groups are widely different culturally. The level of inequalities in social and economic conditions is very high amongst PVTGs.
  • Their problems are also very different from group to group. The growth of PVTGs' population is either stagnating or declining, compared to the general population growth, particularly in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands where the declining rate is very high.
  • There are five PVTGs in the Andaman islands such as Great Andamanese, Jarawas, Onges, Sentinelese and Shom Pens.
    • In 1858, the Great Andamanese were estimated at nearly 3500, in 1901 their number declined to 625.
    • According to the 2001 Census, the Great Andamanese stood at just 43, Jarawas are 241, Onges are 96, Sentinels are 39 and Shom Pens are 398.


  • PVTGs depend on various livelihoods such as food gathering, Non-Timber Forest Produce (NTFP), hunting, livestock rearing, shifting cultivation and artisan works. Most of their livelihoods depend on the forest. The forest is their life and livelihood.
  • They collect various NTFP items such as honey, gum, amla, bamboo, shrubs, fuelwood, dry leaves, nuts, sprouts, wax, medical plants, roots, and tubes. Most of the NTFP items they gather are for consumption and they sell the remaining to middlemen.
  • But due to the shrinking forests, environmental changes and new forest conservation policies, their NTFP collection is getting hampered. Because of the lack of awareness about the value of NTFP produce, PVTGs have been exploited by the middlemen.

Health conditions:

  • The health status of PVTGs is in an awful condition because of multiple factors like poverty, illiteracy, lack of safe drinking water, bad sanitary conditions, difficult terrain, malnutrition, poor maternal and child health services, unavailability of health and nutritional services, superstition and deforestation.
  • The diseases like anemia, upper respiratory problems, malaria; gastro-intestinal disorders like acute diarrhea, Intestinal protozoan; micronutrient deficiency and skin infection diseases are common among PVTGs.
  • Many of these diseases can be prevented by providing nutrition food, timely medical facilities, and health awareness. The condition of education is also very poor, with an average literacy rate of 10% to 44% in PVTGs.

Scheme for PVTGs:

  • The Scheme for Development of Primitive Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs), came into effect from April 1, 2008.
  • The Scheme defines PVTGs as the most vulnerable among the Scheduled Tribes and the Scheme, therefore, seeks to prioritize their protection and development. 
  • The Scheme seeks to adopt a holistic approach to the socio-economic development of PVTGs and gives state governments flexibility in planning initiatives that are geared towards the specific socio-cultural imperatives of the specific groups at hand.
  • Activities supported under the scheme include housing, land distribution, land development, agricultural development, cattle development, construction of link roads, installation of non-conventional sources of energy, social security, etc.
  • Funds are made available only for activities essential for the survival, protection, and development of PVTGs and not already funded by any other Scheme of the central/state governments.
  • Each state and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands’ administration, is required to prepare a long term Conservation-cum-Development (CCD) plan, valid for a period of five years for each PVTG within its territory, outlining the initiatives it will undertake, financial planning for the same and the agencies charged with the responsibility of undertaking the same.
  • The CCD Plan is approved by an Expert Committee, appointed by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs. The Scheme is then funded entirely by the Central government.

PVTGs Statewise:


States PVTGs
Andhra Pradesh and Telangana

Bodo Gadaba 

Bondo Poroja


Dongria Khond

Gutob Gadaba

Khond Poroja



Konda Savaras 

Kutia Khond 

Parengi Poroja


Bihar and Jharkhand




Hill Kharia


Mal Paharia 


Sauda Paharia









Jenu Kuruba 



Cholanaikayan (a section of Kattunaickans)





Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh

Abujh Macias



Hill Korbas 





Katkaria (Kathodia)


Maria Gond

Manipur Marram Nagas







Kutia Kondh

Lanjia Sauras 



Paudi Bhuyans


Chuktia Bhunjia

Rajasthan Seharias
Tamil Nadu

Kattu Nayakans






Tripura Reangs
Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand



West Bengal




Andaman & Nicobar Island

Great Andamanese




Shorn Pens


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