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About The Baiga Tribe


Recently, the Baiga Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG) became the second to get habitat rights in the state of Chhattisgarh.


GS II: Vulnerable Sections

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Baiga Tribe
  2. Habitat Rights

Baiga Tribe:

  • Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group: The Baiga Tribe is recognized as one of the Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs), signifying their vulnerable status among indigenous communities.
  • Geographical Distribution: The Baiga people are found across several Indian states, including Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar, Odisha, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh.
  • Traditional Occupation: Historically, the Baiga community followed a semi-nomadic lifestyle and engaged in slash-and-burn agriculture. However, they have transitioned to a livelihood primarily dependent on gathering minor forest produce.
  • Agricultural Practice: The Baiga Tribe practices a form of shifting cultivation known as “Bewar.”
  • Mahua Usage: Mahua, derived from the flowers of the Mahua tree, is a significant element of the Baiga diet and culture. It is used to produce an intoxicating drink through fermentation and distillation.
  • Tattoo Tradition: Tattooing holds a special place in Baiga culture, with specific tattoos reserved for various ages and body parts, often marking important occasions.

Habitat Rights:

Habitat rights recognition bestows upon a community specific rights over their customary habitation territory. These rights encompass socio-cultural practices, economic and livelihood activities, ecological knowledge, traditional wisdom about natural resource usage, and the protection and conservation of their natural and cultural heritage.

  • Preservation of Knowledge: Habitat rights are crucial for preserving and promoting traditional livelihood practices and ecological knowledge passed down through generations.
  • Convergence of Initiatives: These rights facilitate the coordination of different government schemes and initiatives from various departments to empower PVTG communities in developing their habitats.
  • Legislation: The legal basis for habitat rights is established under section 3(1) (e) of The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, commonly known as the Forest Rights Act (FRA). This section pertains to rights, including community tenures of habitat and habitation, for primitive tribal groups and pre-agricultural communities.

December 2023