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In this article we will read about:

  1. Scheduled tribes and constitutional and legal provisions for them.
  2. Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs).
  3. Tribes that have been in news in 2020 and 2021. 

Important facts about tribes in India

  • The Constitution of India does not give any definition for Scheduled Tribes.
  • According to Article 366(25) of the Constitution, Scheduled Tribes are those communities that are scheduled in accordance with Article 342 of the Constitution.
  • Article 342: “The Scheduled Tribes are the tribes or tribal communities or part of or groups within these tribes and tribal communities which have been declared as such by the President through a public notification”.
  • As per Article 338-A of the Constitution of India, the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes has been set up.
  • 5th and 6th Schedule: Administration and control of Scheduled and Tribal Areas.
  • 5th Schedule: deals with the administration and control of Scheduled Areas as well as of Scheduled Tribes residing in any State other than the States of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram. 
  • 6th Schedule: consists of provisions for the administration of tribal areas in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram, according to Article 244 of the Indian Constitution.

Scheduled Tribes in India

  • According to the 2011 Census, the Scheduled Tribes account for 104 million representing 8.6% of the country’s population.
  • It is important to note that there are many tribes that have not yet been identified as scheduled tribes. 
  • These Scheduled Tribes are spread throughout the country largely in forest and hilly regions.
  • The essential characteristics of these communities are:-
    1. Primitive Traits
    2. Geographical isolation
    3. Distinct culture
    4. Shy of contact with the community at large
    5. Economically backwards
  • There are over 700 scheduled tribes in India, out of which around 75 are Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs).
  • Bhil is the largest tribal group while Gond comprises the second largest tribal group of India.
  • The largest number of tribal communities (62) are found in Odisha.
  • The largest population of STs is in Madhya Pradesh- 21.1% of the total state population.
  • Lakshadweep, Mizoram, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, are predominantly tribal States /Union territories where Scheduled Tribes population constitutes more than 60% of their total population
  • No tribe was identified in Haryana, Punjab, Chandigarh, Delhi, and Puducherry.

Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs)

  • 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.
  • Later 23 groups were added to the category making it a total of 75 PVTGs out of 705 Scheduled Tribes, spread over 18 states and one Union Territory (A&N Islands) in the country (2011 census).
  • Characteristics of PVGT’s:
    1. Declining or stagnant population,
    2. Low level of literacy,
    3. Pre-agricultural level of technology,
    4. Economically backwards,
    5. Generally, inhabit remote localities having poor infrastructure and administrative support.
  • The highest number is found in Odisha (13), followed by Andhra Pradesh (12).
  • These hunting, food-gathering, and some agricultural communities have been identified as less acculturated tribes among the tribal population groups and in need of special programmes for their sustainable development.
  • The Ministry of Tribal Affairs implements the Scheme of “Development of Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs)” exclusively for them.
    • Under the scheme, Conservation-cum-Development (CCD)/Annual Plans are to be prepared by each State/UT for their PVTGs based on their need assessment.
    • Priority is also assigned to PVTGs under the schemes of Special Central Assistance (SCA) to Tribal Sub-Scheme (TSS), Grants under Article 275(1) of the Constitution, Grants-in-aid to Voluntary Organizations working for the welfare of Scheduled Tribes and Strengthening of Education among ST Girls in Low Literacy Districts.


Legal Provisions

  • Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955: against untouchability.
  • Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989: to prevent the commission of offences of atrocities against the members of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes.
  • Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996: to provide for the extension of the provisions of Part IX of the Constitution relating to the Panchayats to the Scheduled Areas.
  • Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006:  to recognize and vest the forest rights and occupation in forest land in forest-dwelling scheduled tribes and other traditional forest dwellers.

Committees Related to Tribal Communities

  1. Xaxa Committee (2013)
  2. Bhuria Commission (2002-2004)
  3. Lokur Committee (1965)

 Read more about Tribal Rights- Click here 

Main Problems Faced by the Indian Tribes
  1. Loss of control over natural resources: 
    • Loss of ownership rights over land, owing to chronic indebtedness, unscrupulous landlords, money­lenders, contractors and officials.
    • Land alienation due to changes in demography and socio-cultural spheres resulted from large scale immigration to some states like Assam.
  2. Lack of education:
    • The literacy rate as per Census 2011 is 73% but for STs is 59% only.
    • It leads to tribal superstitions and prejudices, extreme poverty, nomadic lifestyle of certain tribes, lack of interest in alien subjects taught through an alien language and a lack of suitable teachers and other facilities in the tribal areas.
  3. Displacement and rehabilitation: 
    • Acquisition of tribal land by the government for developmental projects led to large scale displacement of the tribal population.
    • Tribals are forced to live in peripheries in slums or to migrate to adjoining states to work as unskilled workers in conditions of poverty. 
  4. Problems of health and nutrition: 
    • Due to economic backwardness and insecure livelihood, the tribals face health problems, diseases like malaria, cholera, tuberculosis, diarrhoea and jaundice,
    • problems associated with malnutrition like iron deficiency and anaemia, high infant mortality rates, low levels of life expectancy, etc.
  5. Gender issues: 
    • Degradation of the natural environment, through the destruction of forests and a rapidly shrinking resource base, has had an impact on the status of women.
  6. Erosion of identity:
    • Traditional institutions and laws are coming into conflict with modern institutions which create apprehensions among the tribals about preserving their identity.
    • The extinction of tribal dialects and languages is a major concern as it indicates an erosion of tribal identity in certain areas.
  7. Exclusion and isolation: Tribals face untouchability, including physical exclusion, the assumption of criminality.
  8. Climate change: Changing agricultural and hunting practices, rising temperature and water scarcity across the world puts them at most risk. 




  • About:
    • Second-largest fair in India, after the Kumbh Mela
    • Celebrated by the second-largest Tribal Community of Telangana- the Koya tribe for four days.
    • Medaram Jatara is also known as Sammakka Saralamma Jatara.
      • It is a tribal festival honouring the fight of a mother and daughter, Sammakka and Saralamma, with the reigning rulers against an unjust law.
      • The Jatra begins at Medaram in Tadvai Mandal in Warangal district.
    • Medaram is a remote place in the Eturnagaram Wildlife Sanctuary, a part of Dandakaranya, the largest surviving forest belt in the region.
      • It is celebrated once in two years in the month of “Magha” (February) on the full moon day.
    • People offer bangaram/gold (jaggery) of a quantity equal to their weight to the goddesses and take a holy bath in Jampanna Vagu, a tributary to River Godavari.
      • It was declared a State Festival in 1996.


  • Koya tribe is the largest adivasi tribe of Telangana and listed as Scheduled Tribe in Telangana.
  • The community is spread across Telugu speaking states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
  • Koyas popularly call themselves as Dorala Sattam (Lords group) and Putta Dora (original lords). Koyas call themselves “Koitur” in their dialect, like Gonds.
  • Habitat and livelihood:
    • The Godavari and Sabari rivers which are flowing through their area of habitation exercise a profound influence on Koyas’ economic, social and cultural life.
    • The Koyas have mainly settled cultivators.
      • They grow Jowar, Ragi, Bajra and other millets.
  • Language:
    • Many Koya People have forgotten their Koya Dialect and adopted Telugu as their mother tongue but some in other parts still speak the Koya dialect.
  • Religion and festival:
    • Lord Bhima, Korra Rajulu, Mamili and Potaraju are the important deities to Koyas.
    • Their main festivals are Vijji Pandum (seeds charming festival) and Kondala Kolupu (festival to appease Hill deities).
    • Koyas perform a robust colourful dance called Permakok ata (Bison horn dance) during festivals and marriage ceremonies


  • Context:
    • Recently, the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) in Meghalaya announced that it would introduce the ‘Khasi Inheritance of Property Bill, 2021.
    • The bill is aimed at the “equitable distribution” of parental property among siblings in the Khasi community.
    • If implemented, the proposed Bill would modify an age-old customary practice of inheritance of the matrilineal Khasi tribe.
  • About:
    • The three tribes of Meghalaya — Khasis, Jaintias, and Garos — practise a matrilineal system of inheritance.
    • In this system, lineage and descent are traced through the mother’s clan.
    • Matrilineal is Not Matriarchal: People often confuse matrilineal with matriarchal, where women function as heads.
    • While women may have freedom of mobility and easier access to education, they are not decision-makers in Meghalaya.
    • There are barely any women in positions of power, in politics, or heading institutions.
    • Khasi tribe:
      • The Khasis inhabit the eastern part of Meghalaya, in the Khasi and Jaintia Hills.
      • Khasis residing in the Jaintia hills are now better known as Jaintias.
        • They are also called Pnars.
      • The Khasis occupying the northern lowlands and foothills are generally called Bhois.
        • The Khasi people are an indigenous ethnic group of Meghalaya in north-eastern India with a significant population in the bordering state of Assam, and in certain parts of Bangladesh.
      • The Khasi people form the majority of the population of the eastern part of Meghalaya, and is the state’s largest community, with around 48% of the population of Meghalaya. 
      • Constitutional Status: Under the Constitution of India, the Khasis have been granted the status of Scheduled Tribe.
      • Dress: The traditional Khasi male dress is “Jymphong” or a longish sleeveless coat without a collar, fastened by thongs in front.
      • The Khasi traditional female dress is rather elaborate with several pieces of cloth, giving the body a cylindrical shape.
      • Food & Drinks: The staple food of Khasis is rice.
        • They also take fish and meat.
        • Use of rice beer is a must for every ceremonial and religious occasion.


  • KHADC is a body under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.
  • It does not have the power to legislate.
  • Paragraph 12 A of the Sixth Schedule gives the final right of passing a law to the state legislature.
  • The Sixth Schedule of the Constitution provides for the administration of tribal areas in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram to safeguard the rights of the tribal population in these states.
  • This special provision is provided under Article 244 (2) and Article 275 (1) of the Constitution.
  • It provides for autonomy in the administration of these areas through Autonomous District Councils (ADCs), which are empowered to make laws in respect of areas under their jurisdiction.


  • Context:
    • The newly constituted Panda committee under the tribal affairs ministry is to look into the issue of forest rights of the Mankidia tribe in Simlipal Tiger Reserve.
  • About:
    • The Mankidia are a nomadic tribal group of people who live in Odisha.
    • The term ‘Mankidia’ is derived from Odia's word ‘Mankada’ meaning monkey.
    • This is in reference to their ability in catching monkeys.
    • They are considered to be a scheduled tribe by the Indian government.
    • The 2011 census reported a population of 2,222 members in the tribe.
    • They are categorised as a particularly vulnerable tribal group.
    • The group is an offshoot of the Birhor tribe of the Chota Nagpur region.
    • Issue:
      • The Mankidia tribal people make a livelihood in the Simlipal Tiger Reserve region by collecting siali fibre.
      • This region is, however, the core area of the tiger reserve.
      • The tribe was given habitat rights at the level of District Level Committee in August 2016.
      • But the forest department of the state has been unwilling to give the land away and hence the land titles haven’t been granted to the tribe.

Simlipal Tiger Reserve:

  • The Simlipal National Park and Tiger Reserve are located in the Mayurbanj district of Odisha.
  • It is the 7th largest national park in India and is named ‘Simlipal’ in reference to the abundance of red silk cotton trees in the region.
  • The national park is a part of the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves.


  • Context:
    • Recently, some people of the HakkiPikki Tribe survived Covid-19 in Karnataka.
  • About:
    • The HakkiPikki tribes are semi-nomadic tribal people, have four clans namely the Gujrathioa, Kaliwala, Mewara and Panwara.
    • They speak many south Indian languages such as Kannada, Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam along with Vagribooli which is similar to Gujarati.
    • The HakkiPikki, meaning “bird catchers” in Kannada.
    • It is a Scheduled Tribe in Karnataka.
    • Origin:
      • The origin of HakkiPikki tribal communities has a rich history and is said to be an ancestral relation with the legendary Ranapratap Singh.
      • The HakkiPikki tribal community are a Kshatriya or warrior tribal community who had to migrate to southern India after their defeat by Mughal kings. 


  • Context:
    • Konyak tribes were at the centre of recent violence that erupted in Nagaland after Indian forces mistakenly killed civilians
  • About Konyaks:
    • The Konyaks are the largest tribal group in Nagaland, inhabited in and around Mon District.
    • The Anghs/Wangs are their traditional chiefs whom they hold in high esteem.
      • Facial tattoos were earned for taking an enemy's head.
    • The Konyaks were the last to give up the practice of head-hunting – severing heads of enemies after attacking rival tribes – as late as the 1980s.
    • Other unique traditional practices that set the Konyaks apart are gunsmithing, iron-smelting, brass works, and gunpowder-making.
    • They are also adept in making 'janglaü' (machetes) and wooden sculptures.
    • They are also found in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Myanmar.
  • Festivals:
    • Aoleng, a festival celebrated in the first week of April to welcome the spring and also to invoke the Almighty's (Kahwang) blessing upon the land before seed-sowing, is the biggest festival of the Konyaks
    • ‘Lao Ong Mo' is the traditional harvest festival celebrated in the months of August/September.
  • Significance in Naga Peace Process
    • Mon is the only district in Nagaland where the separatist group has not been able to set up base camps, largely due to resistance from the Konyaks.
    • The Konyaks therefore, are imperative for a smooth resolution of the peace talks, as well as the post-talk peace process in the state.


  • Context:
    • Recently deputy chief minister of Arunachal Pradesh requested the central government to declare the Tai Khamti-British War of 1839 as the first war of India’s independence against the British.
  • About Tai Khamti tribe:
    • They are a Tai ethnic group native to Myanmar
    • In India, they are found in Namsai district and Changlang district of Arunachal Pradesh.
      • Smaller numbers are also present in Assam.
    • The word ‘Khampti’ means ‘a land full of gold’.
    • The Tai Khamtis who inhabit the region around the Tengapani basin were descendants of migrants who came during the century from the Hkamti long region, the mountainous valley of the Irrawaddy.
    • The Tai-Khampti is the only tribe in the state to be known to have their own script which the people call it Tai script (Lik-Tai).
      • It originated from the Shan (Tai) script of Myanmar.
    • They are settled agriculturists.
      • Sangken is the main festival of the Khamti.
  • Society:
    • The Khamti society is divided into classes, each signifying distinct status in the social hierarchy.
      • The chiefs occupy the highest positions, followed by the priests, who wield considerable influence over all ranks
    • The community is greatly orthodox and all its socio-cultural activities are religious.
    • They are believers of Theravada(Hinayana) Buddhism.
  • Khampti Dance:
    • It is also known as ‘ka pung’ (‘ka’ implies ‘dance’and ‘pung’ means ‘story’).
    • Khampti dance is a dance-drama that reflects the rich culture of the Buddhists in the territory and unfolds the myths and stories of moral values.
    • It marks the celebration of Buddhist festivals such as Khamsang, Sangken, Potwah, Poi Lu kyong, Poi Lu Kyong kammathan etc.
    • The Khamptis are also famous for their ‘cockfight dance’, it is called Ka-Fi fai .
    • The dances are accompanied by musical instruments like drums (gongs), cymbals (pi seng), flutes (pee) etc
  • Tai Khamti revolt in 1839:
    • It took places between the Tai Khamti people and the British.
    • The theatre of this war was some 2,400 km east of Meerut in Uttar Pradesh where the mutiny began.
    • During the war, Tai Khamtis resisted colonization by the British.
      • Some 80 British soldiers, including Col. Adam White, were killed in the resultant conflict.


  • Context:
    • The Committee for Citizenship Rights of Chakmas and Hajongs of Arunachal Pradesh (CCRCHAP) has stated that Chakmas and Hajongs will not cooperate with any census being taken on them.
  • About Chakmas and Hajongs:
    • Chakmas and Hajongs were originally residents of the Chittagong Hill Tracts of erstwhile East Pakistan (Bangladesh), who had to flee when their land was submerged by the Kaptai dam project in the 1960s.
    • The Chakmas, who are Buddhist, and Hajongs, who are Hindus, also faced religious persecution in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh).
    • Chakmas and Hajongs entered India through the then Lushai Hills district of Assam (now Mizoram).
    • The Centre moved the majority of them to the North East Frontier Agency (NEFA), which is now Arunachal Pradesh.
      • Mizoram, Assam and Tripura also have significant Chakma populations.
    • Their numbers have gone up from about 5,000 in 1964-69 to one lakh. At present, they don’t have citizenship and land rights but are provided basic amenities by the state government.
  • Recent issue:
    • In 2015, the Supreme Court directed the Centre to grant citizenship to Chakma and Hajongs who had migrated from Bangladesh in 1964-69.
    • They did not directly come into the ambit of the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 (CAA) because Arunachal Pradesh is among the states exempted from the CAA since it has an Inner Line Permit to regulate entry of outsiders.
    • Stiff opposition from the state government had stalled the implementation of SC directive.
    • Since the 1980s, the All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union (AAPSU) has spearheaded a mass movement against granting citizenship to Chakmas and Hajongs.
    • The AAPSU fears that the refugees could soon outnumber the indigenous population and influence electoral outcomes.


  • Context:
    • The Lok Sabha recently passed a bill to amend a constitutional order to include Darlong, a tribal clan in Tripura which was among the generic Halam community till now, in the list of Scheduled Tribes (ST).
  • About:
    • Darlong is a tribal community of 11,000 people.
    • Despite its small population, the community has a high prevalence of education, and cultural activities and members of the community are serving in different high positions in the local administration.
    • Darlongs, despite being Scheduled Tribes, were never given ST certificates.
    • Since they were considered a generic tribe under the Kuki community, they were handed their tribal certificates as members of ‘Kuki’ community.
    • The subsequent identity crisis among them, especially Darlong youths, who were equipped with modern education, culminated in the demand for a separate statutory identity of their own in 1995.
    • The group is a small tribal clan but has produced a high number of educated people proportionate to its population in the state.
    • People from the Darlong community, like many other tribal communities, are now serving in high positions in the state administration, academia, and public services.
    • Tribal musicologist and Rosem (tribal instrument) maestro Thanga Darlong has conferred the prestigious Padma Shri award a few years back for his contribution to culture.
  • Why is tribal identity a big issue in Tripura?
    • Out of 37 lakh people of Tripura, nearly 30 per cent are tribals, who mostly live in areas under jurisdiction of the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC).
    • They are spread in patches across all eight districts and covering 70 per cent of the state’s geographical area.
    • The state saw tribals become minority in their own state due to arrival of East Pakistani refugees who fled their country.
    • Tribal identity is a major issue in Tripura, which is also one of the major subjects dominating the state politics now.
    • There is rising demand of Greater Tipraland – a proposed separate state for Tiprasa or Tripuris (tribal and non-tribal) living in the state.
  • Tribes of Tripura
    • Tripura, the tiny Northeast state of 37 lakh people houses 19 tribal communities.
    • These include Tripuri or Debbarma, Reangs or Brus, Jamatia, Noatia, Uchoi, Chakma, Mog, Lushai, Kuki, Munda, Kour, Oram, Santhal, Bhil, Bhutia, Chaimar or Sermai, Garo, Khasi, Lepcha and Halam.
    • Many of these communities are further divided into sub-tribes.
      • For example, Kukis have nearly 17-18 sub-tribes within the community.
    • It is an umbrella tribal community including many smaller clans like Khasi, Lushai, Hmars and other generic clans.
    • In course of time, Lushai, Hmar, Garo etc. came out of Kuki as separate communities.
    • Halam community also has several sub-tribes such as Rangkhawl, Ranglong, Dab, Chaimar or Sermai, Bong, Korbong, Harbong, Bongcher etc.


  • Context:
    • The Union Cabinet has decided to declare November 15 as ‘Janjatiya Gaurav Divas’ to mark the birth anniversary of revered tribal leader and freedom fighter Birsa Munda.
  • Birsa Munda (1875-1900):
    • Birsa Munda was an Indian tribal freedom fighter, religious leader, and folk hero who belonged to the Munda tribe.
    • He spearheaded a tribal religious millenarian movement that arose in the Bengal Presidency (now Jharkhand) in the late 19th century, during the British Raj.
  • Munda:
    • The Munda people are an Austroasiatic speaking ethnic group of India.
    • They predominantly speak the Mundari language as their native language, which belongs to the Munda subgroup of Austroasiatic languages.
    • The Munda are found mainly concentrated in the Chhotanagpur Plateau region, which covers most of Jharkhand, as well as in neighbouring regions of Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Odisha and West Bengal.
    • The Munda also reside in adjacent areas of Madhya Pradesh as well as in portions of Bangladesh and the state of Tripura.
    • They are one of India's largest scheduled tribes. Munda people in Tripura are also known as Mura, and in Madhya Pradesh, they are often called Mudas.
    • Nomadic hunters in the Indian tribal belt became farmers who were employed in basketwork and weaving.
    • With the listing of the Munda people as Scheduled Tribes, many are employed in various governmental organisations (particularly Indian Railways).

Birsa Munda:

  • Birth and early childhood
    • Born on November 15, 1875, Birsa spent much of his childhood moving from one village to another with his parents.
    • He belonged to the Munda tribe in the Chhotanagpur Plateau area.
    • He received his early education at Salga under the guidance of his teacher Jaipal Nag.
    • On the recommendation of Jaipal Nag, Birsa converted to Christianity in order to join the German Mission school.He, however, opted out of the school after a few years.
  • New faith ‘Birsait’ against religious conversion
    • The impact of Christianity was felt in the way he came to relate to religion later.
    • Having gained awareness of the British colonial ruler and the efforts of the missionaries to convert tribals to Christianity, Birsa started the faith of ‘Birsait’.
    • Soon members of the Munda and Oraon community started joining the Birsait sect and it turned into a challenge to British conversion activities.
    • The Mundas called him Dharati Aaba, the father of earth.
  • The Ulgulan
    • The Great Tumult or Ulgulan was a movement started by Birsa Munda against the exploitation and discrimination against tribals by the local authorities.
    • Although the movement failed, it did result in the Chotanagpur Tenancy Act which forbade tribal lands passing to non-tribals, protecting their land rights for the foreseeable future.
  • Death
    • On March 3, 1900, Birsa Munda was arrested by the British police while he was sleeping with his tribal guerilla army at Jamkopai forest in Chakradharpur.
    • He died in Ranchi jail on June 9, 1900, at the young age of 25.
  • Creation of Jharkhand
    • Birsa Munda’s achievements are known to be even more remarkable by virtue of the fact that he came to acquire them before he was 25.
    • In recognition of his impact on the national movement, the state of Jharkhand was created on his birth anniversary in 2000.


  • Context:
    • Members of the Mundapota Kela community in Odisha perform the unthinkable act of their heads buried in soil, which requires exceptional breath control, for a living.
  • About:
    • The community — Mundapota Kela (a denotified tribe) — is left with few members who earn a livelihood with this bizarre act.
    • It is believed to have migrated to Odisha from the Rayalaseema area of Andhra Pradesh decades ago.
    • Being street performers, they travel from one village to another and bury their heads in soil for several minutes.
    • They collect rice, vegetables and money from villagers for putting up the show.


  • Context:
    • The Uttar Pradesh government has recently embarked upon a scheme to take the unique culture of its ethnic Tharu tribe across the world.
  • About:
    • The community belongs to the Terai lowlands, amid the Shivaliks of the lower Himalayas. Most of them are forest dwellers and some practise agriculture.
    • The word Tharu is believed to be derived from their, meaning followers of Theravada Buddhism.
    • The Tharus live in both India and Nepal.
      • In the Indian Terai, they live mostly in Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, and Bihar.
    • According to the 2011 census, the Scheduled Tribe population in Uttar Pradesh was more than 11 lakh; this number is estimated to have crossed 20 lakh now.
    • The biggest chunk of this tribal population is made up of Tharus.
    • Members of the tribe survive on wheat, corn and vegetables grown close to their homes. A majority still live in the forest.
    • Tharu language, food, and culture
      • They speak various dialects of Tharu, a language of the Indo-Aryan subgroup, and variants of Hindi, Urdu, and Awadhi.
      • In central Nepal, they speak a variant of Bhojpuri, while in eastern Nepal, they speak a variant of Maithili.
      • Tharus worship Lord Shiva as Mahadev and call their supreme being “Narayan”, who they believe is the provider of sunshine, rain, and harvests.
      • Tharu women have stronger property rights than is allowed to women in mainstream North Indian Hindu custom.
      • Standard items on the Tharu plate are bagiya or dhikri – which is a steamed dish of rice flour that is eaten with chutney or curry – and ghonghi, an edible snail that is cooked in a curry made of coriander, chili, garlic, and onion.
  • What is this scheme about?
    • The UP government is working to connect Tharu villages in the districts of Balrampur, Bahraich, Lakhimpur and Pilibhit bordering Nepal, with the homestay scheme of the UP Forest Department.
    • The idea is to offer tourists an experience of living in the natural Tharu habitat, in traditional huts made of grass collected mainly from the forests.
    • Tharu homeowners will be able to charge tourists directly for the accommodation and home-cooked meals.
    • The government expects both domestic and international tourists to avail of the opportunity to obtain a taste of the special Tharu culture by staying with them, observing their lifestyle, food habits, and attire.


  • The Terai or Tarai is a lowland region in northern India and southern Nepal that lies south of the outer foothills of the Himalayas, the Sivalik Hills, and north of the Indo-Gangetic Plain.
  • This lowland belt is characterized by tall grasslands, scrub savannah, sal forests and clay-rich swamps.


  • Context:
    • The Jharkhand government convened a special Assembly session to pass a resolution to recognise the Sarna religion and include it as a separate code in the Census of 2021.
  • Sarna Religion
    • The followers of the Sarna faith believe pray to nature.
    • The holy grail of the faith is “Jal (water), Jungle (forest), Zameen (land)” and its followers pray to the trees and hills while believing in protecting the forest areas.
    • Jharkhand has 32 tribal groups of which eight are from Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups.
    • While many follow the Hindu religion, some have converted to Christianity — this has become one of the planks of demanding a separate code “to save religious identity”— as various tribal organisations put it.
    • A sacred grove is any grove of trees that are of special religious importance to a particular culture.
  • Need for Sarna Code:
    • It is believed that 50 lakhs tribes in the entire country put their religion as ‘Sarna’ in the 2011 census, although it was not a code.
    • The resolution will seek a special column for followers of the Sarna religion in the Census, 2021.
      • At present, they are not classified as separate entities.
    • Politics around the code
      • Many of the tribals who follow this faith have later converted to Christianity—the state has more than 4% Christians most of whom are tribals.
      • Some who still follow the Sarna faith believe the converted tribals are taking the benefits of reservation as a minority as well as the benefits are given to Schedule Tribes.
      • They also believe that benefits should be given specifically to them and not those who have converted.
    • What sense does a separate code make?
      • The protection of their language and history is an important aspect of tribals.
      • Between 1871 and 1951, the tribals had a different code. However, it was changed around 1961-62.
      • Experts argue that when today the entire world is focusing on reducing pollution and protecting the environment, it is prudent that Sarna becomes a religious code as the soul of this religion is to protect nature and the environment.


  • Context:
    • The COVID-19 pandemic has reached the Bondas, a PVTGs community residing in the hill ranges of Malkangiri district in Odisha.
  • About:
    • The Bondas are the Munda ethnic group who live in the isolated hill regions of the Malkangiri district of southwestern Odisha near the junction of the three states of Odisha, Chhattisgarh, and Andhra Pradesh.
    • They are a scheduled tribe of India and are also known as the Remo (meaning “people” in the Bonda language).
    • The tribe is one of the oldest and most primitive in mainland India; their culture has changed little in more than a thousand years.
    • Their isolation and known aggressiveness continue to preserve their culture despite the pressures of an expanding Indian population.


  • Context:
    • Non-Brus of Tripura has proposed six places for settling the displaced Brus from Mizoram and set a limit for the number of families to be accommodated in two subdivisions that have borne the brunt of the 23-year-old refugee crisis.
  • About:
    • Reangs or Brus are the second largest ethnic group in Mizoram.
    • Their exodus in 1997 was spurred by violent clashes in Mamith subdivision, a Reang-dominated area when they demanded the creation of an autonomous council that was vehemently opposed by Mizo groups.
    • Around 34,000 people were forced to live in sub-human conditions in tents in Tripura. No solution could be reached all these years.
    • These people were housed in temporary camps at Kanchanpur, in North Tripura.


  • Context:
    • The Siddi community gets its first lawmaker in Karnataka. They are included as the Scheduled Tribes in Karnataka.
  • About:
    • The Siddi is also known as Sidi, Siddhi, Sheedi or Habshi, are an ethnic group inhabiting India and Pakistan.
    • They are sometimes referred to as Afro-Indians.
      • They are descended from the Bantu peoples of the East African region.
    • Similarly, another term for Siddis, habshi, is held to be derived from the common name for the captains of the Abyssinian ships that also first delivered Siddi slaves to the subcontinent.
    • They are primarily Muslims, although some are Hindus and others belong to the Catholic Church.
    • How they come to India?
      • The first Siddis are thought to have arrived in India in 628 AD at the Bharuch port. Several others followed with the first Arab conquest of the subcontinent in 712 AD.
      • The latter groups are believed to have been soldiers with Muhammad bin Qasim’s Arab army and were called Zanjis.
      • In the Delhi Sultanate period prior to the rise of the Mughals in India, Jamal-ud-Din Yaqut was a prominent Siddi slave-turned-nobleman who was a close confidant of Razia Sultana.
      • Siddis were also brought as slaves by the Deccan Sultanates.
        • They also served in the Navy of Shivaji Maharaj.
      • Several former slaves rose to high ranks in the military and administration, the most prominent of which was Malik Ambar.
      • Later the Siddi population was added to via Bantu peoples from Southeast Africa that had been brought to the Indian subcontinent as slaves by the Portuguese.


  • Context:
    • Arunachal CM released a book titled “Tangams: An Ethnolinguistic Study Of The Critically Endangered Group of Arunachal Pradesh”.
  • About:
    • The Tangams are little-known community within the larger Adi tribe of Arunachal Pradesh and reside in the hamlet of Kugging in Upper Siang district’s Paindem circle.
    • In 1975, the community’s population was pegged at 2,000 spread across 25 villages.
    • From 2016 to 2020, a team from the Centre for Endangered Languages (CFEL) of Rajiv Gandhi University (RGU), carried out extensive field research and documented the community.
    • Their survey revealed that Tangams were now concentrated in only one village (Kugging), with only 253 reported speakers.
    • As per the UNESCO World Atlas of Endangered Languages (2009), Tangam — an oral language that belongs to the Tani group, under the greater Tibeto-Burman language family — is marked ‘critically endangered.
    • Why are there only a few speakers?
      • Kugging is surrounded by a number of villages inhabited by Adi subgroups such as Shimong, Minyongs, as well as the Buddhist tribal community of Khambas, among others.
      • To communicate with their neighbours over the years, the Tangams have become multilingual, speaking not just Tangam, but other tongues such as Shimong, Khamba and Hindi.
      • They rarely speak their own language now since their population is restricted to a single village. Moreover, the Tangams are relatively unknown — even within their state.
      • The village lacks proper infrastructure in all basic sectors of education, health, drinking water facilities, roads and electricity.
        • Roads have reached Kugging only in 2018.
      • Not a single person from the community has gone to university.
    • Why are the languages at risk?
      • The diversity of languages has led various communities to depend on English, Assamese and a colloquial variety of Hindi called Arunachalee Hindi as the link languages.
      • Many believe this shift has led to the loss of the native languages of the tribal communities.
      • Even the numerically larger tribes like Nyishi, Galo, Mishmi, Tangsa etc. whose population exceed the ten thousand mark are also not safe from endangerment, hence marked unsafe.
      • The younger generation of these tribes especially in the urban areas has mostly discarded the use of their mother tongue.


  • Context:
    • The Gujarat government will constitute a commission to identify the members of Rabari, Bharvad and Charan communities who are eligible to get the benefits of Schedule Tribe (ST) status.
  • About:
    • Rabari
      • The Rabari, also called the Rewari are an indigenous tribal caste of nomadic cattle and camel herders and shepherds that live throughout northwest India, primarily in the states of Gujarat, Punjab and Rajasthan.
      • The word “Rabari” translates as “outsiders”, a fair description of their primary occupation and status within Indian society.
      • They speak ‘Bhopa’ which is a mixture of Gujarati, Kachchi, Marwari words and Pharasi (Persian) and use Gujarati script.
      • The Rabari are known for their distinctive art, particularly the mirrored and whitewashed mud sculpture-work that adorns their homes and villages.
      • Rabari women are responsible for this artwork and also traditionally spin the wool from their sheep and goats, and give it to local weavers to make their woollen skirts, veils, blankets and turbans.
    • Bharvad
      • The Bharwad are tribals primarily engaged in herding livestock.
      • The Bharwad name may derive from the Gujarati word badawad, constructed from bada (sheep) and wada (a compound or enclosure).
      • The Bharwads have numerous subgroups known as ataks or guls (clans) whose main purpose is to determine eligibility for marriage.
      • Constrained exogamy is practised between clans.
    • Charan
      • The Charan, also called Gadhvi, is a small tribe in Gujarat and the name Charan is derived from the word ‘Char’ which means grazing.
      • Members of the caste are considered to be divine by a large section of society.
      • Women of the caste are adored as mother goddesses by other major communities of this region.


  • Context:
    • The Chinese Army’s intrusion in Chumur and Demchok has left Ladakh’s nomadic herding Changpa community cut off from large parts of summer pastures.
    • Pashmina shawl is a landmark product of the Kashmir Valley.
      • It carries only a BIS certification and not a Geographical Indicator.
  • About:
    • The Changpa of Ladakh is high altitude pastoralists, raising mainly yaks and goats.
    • Among the Ladakh Changpa, those who are still nomadic are known as Phalpa, and they take their herds from in the Hanley Valley to the village of Lato.
    • Hanley is home to six isolated settlements, where the sedentary Changpa, the Fangpa reside.
    • Despite their different lifestyles, both these groups intermarry.
    • The Changpa speak Changskhat, a dialect of Tibetan, and practice Tibetan Buddhism.
    • What is the issue?
      • The Chinese Army has taken over 16 kanals (two acres) of cultivable land in Chumur and advanced around 15 km inside Demchok, taking over traditional grazing pastures and cultivable lowlands.
      • In a cascading effect, this has resulted in a sharp rise in deaths of young Pashmina goats this year in the Korzok-Chumur belt of Changthang plateau in Ladakh.
      • This incursion has destabilized the annual seasonal migration of livestock, including yaks and Pashmina goats.


  • The Changthangi or Ladakh Pashmina is a breed of Cashmere goat native to the high plateau of Ladakh.
  • The much-valued wool from the Ladakh herds is essential for the prized Pashmina shawls woven in Kashmir and is famous for their intricate handwork.
  • They survive on the grass in Ladakh, where temperatures plunge to as low as −20 °C.
  • These goats provide the wool for Kashmir’s famous pashmina shawls. Shawls made from Pashmina wool are considered very fine and are exported worldwide.
  • The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has recently published an Indian Standard for the identification, marking and labelling of Pashmina products to certify its purity.


  • Context:
    • The newscard is based on the PIB news which discusses the success story of Katkari Tribe, a PVTG in Maharashtra regarding the implementation of Van Dhan Yojana.
  • About:
    • The Katkari is an Scheduled Tribe mostly belonging to the state of Maharashtra.
    • They are bilingual, speaking the Katkari language, a dialect of the Marathi-Konkani languages, with each other; they speak Marathi with the Marathi speakers, who are a majority in the populace where they live.
    • In Maharashtra, the Katkari has been designated a Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG), along with two other groups included in this sub-category: the Madia Gond and the Kolam.
    • In the case of the Katkari this vulnerability derives from their history as a nomadic, forest-dwelling people listed by the British Raj under the Criminal Tribes Act of 1871, a stigma that continues to this day.


  • Context:
    • The Centre has assured it will hold peace talks with all Kuki militant groups and their issue would be resolved in the next five years.
  • About:
    • The Kukis constitute one of several hill tribes within India, Bangladesh, and Myanmar.
    • In Northeast India, they are present in all states except Arunachal Pradesh.
    • Some fifty tribes of Kuki peoples in India are recognised as scheduled tribes.
    • The first resistance to British hegemony by the Kuki people was the Kuki Rebellion of 1917-19 after which their territory was subjugated by the British and divided between the administrations of British India and British Burma.
    • Up until their defeat in 1919, the Kukis had been an independent people ruled by their chieftains.
    • The majority of Kukis are Christians. Traditionally, the Kukis were animists. 


  • Context
    • The ‘Elephant Whisperers’ won the documentary (short film) category award at Oscars 2023. The Set  was in Tamil Nadu, the Elephant Whisperers tells the story of an orphaned elephant calf who is put in the care of an old couple – an indigenous couple from the Kattunayakan tribe dwelling in the picturesque Mudumalai forests in the Nilgiris.
  • About 
    • Kattunayakan also known as Jennu Kurumbas are scheduled tribes found in south Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala & Andhra Pradesh.
    • The meaning of Kattunayakan is  king of jungles in Tamil and Malayalam.
    • They are considered to be one of the earliest inhabitants of Western Ghats and are engaged in the collection and gathering of forest produce, mainly wild honey and wax.
    • They are classified as Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups in Tamil Nadu & Kerala.
    • The literacy rate is very low for both men and women. They practice traditional medicine and live without modern conveniences like electricity and indoor plumbing.
    • The Kattunayakan are monogamous with girls marrying when they reach puberty
    • The Kattunayakan practice folk religion with some elements of Hinduism.

About Mudumalai Tiger Reserve and National park 

  • It is located in the Nilgiris Biosphere reserve 
  • It is at the tri-junction of three states, viz, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu and it plays an unique role by forming part of the Nilgiris Biosphere Reserve.
  • Moyar river passes through this national park.
  • It has a common boundary with Wyanad Wildlife Sanctuary (Kerala) on the West, Bandipur Tiger Reserve (Karnataka) on the North, and the Nilgiris North Division on the South and East and Gudalur Forest Division on the South West, together forming a large conservation landscape for flagship species such as Tiger and Asian Elephant.
  • The name Mudumalai means ” the ancient hill range”. Indeed, it is as old as 65 million years when Western Ghats were formed.
  • Flora – Reserve has tall grasses, commonly referred to as “Elephant Grass”, Bamboo of the giant variety, valuable timber species like Teak, Rosewood, etc,.
  • Fauna -Endemic flora – Such a varied habitat is inhabited by a variety of animals which include Tiger, Elephant, Indian Gaur, Panther, Sambar, Spotted Deer, Barking Deer, Mouse Deer, Common Langur, Malabar Giant Squirrel, Wild Dog, Mangoose, Jungle Cat, Hyena, among others.

Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve

  • Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve is a UNESCO designated biosphere reserve located in the Western Ghats of India. It covers an area of 5,520 square kilometers across the states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Karnataka.
  • Flora and Fauna: Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve is known for its high levels of biodiversity. It is home to many endangered and endemic species of plants and animals. Some of the notable species include the Nilgiri tahr, Indian elephant, Bengal tiger, Indian leopard, Indian giant squirrel, and lion-tailed macaque.
  • Geography: The Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve is located in the Western Ghats, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The region is characterized by high mountains, deep valleys, and dense forests.
  • Rivers: The reserve is the source of many important rivers such as the Cauvery, Bhavani, Moyar, and Kabini, which provide water for irrigation and drinking purposes.
  • Tribal Communities: The region is home to several indigenous tribal communities such as the Todas, Kotas, and Badagas. These communities have a unique way of life and are known for their traditional knowledge of the local flora and fauna.
  • Conservation Efforts: The Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve is a protected area and is managed by the Forest Department of the respective states. There are several conservation efforts underway to protect the biodiversity of the region.
  • Tourism: The Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve is a popular tourist destination and attracts a large number of visitors every year. Tourists can enjoy activities such as trekking, camping, and wildlife safaris.


  • Context:
    • NABARD applies for GI registration of Arunachal Pradesh’s Nyishi handlooms
  • About : 
    • The Nyishi tribe is one of the largest ethnic groups in Arunachal Pradesh, India.
    • They are primarily found in the Papum Pare, Lower Subansiri, Kurung Kumey, and East Kameng districts of the state.
    • Language: The Nyishi tribe speaks the Nyishi language, which belongs to the Tibeto-Burman language family.
    • Culture: The Nyishi tribe has a rich and unique culture, with distinct customs and traditions. They are known for their love for music and dance, and they celebrate a number of festivals throughout the year.
    • Religion: The Nyishi tribe practices a form of animism, which involves the belief in spirits and supernatural beings.
    • Occupation: The Nyishi tribe is primarily an agrarian community, with agriculture being their main occupation. They practice both jhum cultivation (slash and burn agriculture) and wet rice cultivation.
    • Socio-economic status: The Nyishi tribe is classified as a Scheduled Tribe under the Indian Constitution, and they are entitled to various benefits and protections from the government. However, they also face a number of socio-economic challenges, including poverty and lack of access to basic services such as healthcare and education.
    • Political representation: The Nyishi tribe has significant political representation in Arunachal Pradesh, with several members of the community serving as Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) and Members of Parliament (MPs)


  • Context 
    • Central Government is considering granting Tribal status to the Hatti Community of the Tans-Giri region of Himachal Pradesh’s Sirmaur district

  • About :
    • The Hattis are a close-knit community that got their name from their tradition of selling homegrown vegetables, crops, meat, and wool, etc. at small markets called ‘haat’ in towns.
    • Hatti men traditionally don a distinctive white headgear on ceremonial occasions.
    • The Hatti homeland straddles the Himachal-Uttarakhand border in the basin of the Giri and Tons rivers, both tributaries of the Yamuna.
    • The Hattis are governed by a traditional council called ‘khumbli’ which, like the ‘khaps’ of Haryana, decide community matters.
Process of adding a tribe to the Scheduled Tribe (ST

  • list is governed by the Constitution of India and the Presidential Order. The process involves several steps and requires the approval of the President of India. Here is a general outline of the process:
    • Identification of the tribe: The first step is to identify the tribe that needs to be included in the ST list. This may involve a survey and collection of data on the tribe's social, cultural, and economic status, as well as their traditional occupation, language, and religion.
    • Recommendation by the State Government: Once the tribe has been identified, the State Government concerned may recommend its inclusion in the ST list to the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Government of India.
    • Evaluation by the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST): The NCST is a constitutional body that is responsible for monitoring the implementation of safeguards and welfare measures for STs. The NCST will evaluate the State Government's recommendation and make its own assessment of the tribe's eligibility for inclusion in the ST list.
    • Consultation with the concerned State Governments: The NCST will consult with the concerned State Governments and other stakeholders before making its recommendations.
    • Approval by the President of India: Once the NCST has made its recommendations, the Ministry of Tribal Affairs will prepare a proposal for inclusion of the tribe in the ST list and submit it to the President of India for approval. 

Essential Features for a Community to be Identified as Scheduled Tribe:

    • Primitive traits; 
    • Distinctive culture; 
    • Geographical isolation; 
    • Shyness of contract with the community at large; 
    • Backwardness.


  • Context 
    • The Rengma Naga Peoples’ Council (RNPC) or Rengma Nagas have demanded an Autonomous District Council (ADC) in Assam.
  • About
    • Rengma is a Naga tribe found in Nagaland, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.




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