- Introduction – about ST and its constitutional definition.
- Mention the constitutional safeguards.
- Mention the schemes for tribal welfare.
Scheduled Tribes (ST) constitute approximately 8.6% of the population of India numbering around 10.4 crores. There are over 705 Scheduled tribes notified under Article 342 of the Constitution of India.
Article 366 (25) prescribes that the Scheduled Tribes mean such tribes or tribal communities as are deemed under Article 342 of the Constitution to be Scheduled Tribes. The Article 342 states that the President may specify the tribes or tribal communities which shall be deemed to be Scheduled Tribes in relation to that State or Union Territory.
- Article 15 prohibit discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth.
- Similarly under Article 17 untouchability has been abolished.
- Article 16 pertains to equality of opportunity in matters of public employment.
- Article 46 promotes educational and economic interests of scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and other weaker sections.
- Under Article 19 (5), special restrictions may be imposed by the State on freedom of movement and residence for the protection of the interests of any Scheduled Tribe.
- Article 330 and 332: It reserves seats for STs in Schedule areas, thus granting them representation to safeguard their rights and interests.
- The Fifth Schedule of the Constitution 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. It provides for establishment of a Tribes Advisory Council (TAC) in any State having Scheduled Areas.
- The Sixth Schedule provides for the administration of tribal areas in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram to safeguard the rights of the tribal population in these states. The Sixth Schedule provides for administration of these areas through Autonomous District Councils (ADCs).
- Article 164 provides for a Minister-in-charge of tribal welfare in the states of MP, Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Jharkhand, having substantial tribal populations.
- National Commission for Scheduled Tribes: Article 338-A calls for establishing the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes, for safeguarding tribal interests.
Schemes for Tribal Welfare:
- Janjatiya Gaurav Divas: It is dedicated in the memory of brave tribal freedom fighters so that coming generations could know about their sacrifices.
- Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRS): These are model residential schools for Scheduled Tribes across India, which aims to impart quality education to ST children in remote areas.
- Pradhan Mantri Van Dhan Yojana: The Ministry of Tribal Affairs launched it in 2018, under the Forest Rights Act of 2005. It aims to provide remunerative and fair prices to tribal gatherers of their Minor Forest Produces.
- Adi Prashikshan Portal: It aims to act as a central repository for information on all training programmes conducted by Tribal institutions across the country under Adi Prashikshan-Training for Tribals initiative.
Tribals with their organic lifestyle challenge the modern way of living and developmental needs. Their sustainable living provides lessons to the world struggling with pressing issues like climate change and environmental issues. India is making efforts towards restoring the tribal communities, their identity and inheritance. It is therefore imperative that India continues to safeguard the tribal rights to ensure inclusive development of the society.