General Studies IIIndian SocietyVulnerable Section

Tribes in India


World Tribal Day or International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples is observed on 9th August every year.

  • It is aimed at promoting and protecting the rights of the world’s indigenous population and to acknowledge the contributions that indigenous people make towards world issues such as environmental protection.

Theme for 2021 is: “We leave no one behind: indigenous peoples and calls for a new social contract”.


  • The International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples was first pronounced by the General Assembly of the United Nations in December 1994, to be celebrated every year during the first International Decade of the World’s Indigenous Peoples (1995–2004).
  • In 2004, the Assembly proclaimed a Second International Decade, from 2005–2015, with the theme of “A Decade for Action and Dignity”.
  • People from different nations are encouraged to participate in observing the day to spread the UN’s message on indigenous peoples.
  • Activities may include educational forums and classroom activities to gain an appreciation and a better understanding of indigenous peoples.
  • By resolution 49/214 of 23 December 1994, the United Nations General Assembly decided that the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People shall be observed on 9 August every year during the International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People.
  • The date marks the day of the first meeting, in 1982, of the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations of the Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights.

Who are Indigenous Peoples?

  • Indigenous peoples are inheritors and practitioners of unique cultures and ways of relating to people and the environment. They have retained social, cultural, economic and political characteristics that are distinct from those of the dominant societies in which they live.
  • There are over 476 million indigenous peoples living in 90 countries across the world, accounting for 6.2% of the global population.

What is social contract and why it is important?

  • A social contract is an unwritten agreement that societies make to cooperate for social and economic benefits.
  • Tribals are in several parts of the world are not included in the social contract. A social contract including tribals would help in the development of their cultures and languages, which are denigrated.
  • This would enhance their abilities to actively participate in the political and economic activities of a nation.
  • Knowledge transfer from other societies would provide access to information, resources and bring about changes in the living conditions, health and economy of the tribal people.


  • Protecting Critical Ecosystem:
    • Around 80% of the world’s biodiversity is inhabited and protected by indigenous populations.
    • Their innate, diverse knowledge about lands, nature, and its development are extremely crucial to ensure the protection of the critical ecosystem, natural resources.

  • Preserving Languages:
    • With 370-500 million indigenous peoples representing the majority of the world’s cultural diversity, they speak the greater share of almost 7000 languages in the world.

  • Contributing to Zero Hunger Goal:
    • The crops grown by indigenous people are highly adaptable. They can survive drought, altitude, flooding, and any kind of extremes of temperature. As a result, these crops help create resilient farms.
    • Also, quinoa, moringa, and oca are some of the native crops that have the ability to expand and diversify our food base. These would contribute to the goal to attain Zero Hunger.

Other Global Efforts:

  • Decade of Indigenous Languages (2022-2032): It aims to conserve Indigenous languages, which helps preserve their cultures, world views and visions, as well as expressions of self-determination.
    • United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP): It establishes a universal framework of minimum standards for the survival, dignity and well-being of the indigenous peoples of the world.
    • Permanent UN Forum on Indigenous Issues: It was established with the mandate to deal with indigenous issues related to economic and social development, culture, the environment, education, health and human rights. It is an advisory body to the UN Economic and Social Council.

Indian Context:

Tribes in India

  • India has been described as a “melting pot” of races and tribes. India has one of the largest and diverse tribal populations in the world.
  • The tribal population in India according to the 2011 census is 104 million or 8.6% of the total population.
  • Madhya Pradesh has the largest population (15.3 million i.e 21%) according to number and Lakshadweep has the highest population (94.8%) compared to its total population.
  • There are around 700 tribal groups in India and 75 Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs).
  • The Gonds are the largest tribal group in India.
  • The largest number of tribal communities (62) are found in Odisha.
  • Smallest tribe are Andamanese only 19 members.
  • No notified tribe in Haryana, Punjab, Chandigarh, Delhi, and Puducherry.

Constitutional Provisions:

  • Article 342 (1)- The President may with respect to any State or Union Territory, and where it is a State, after consultation with the Governor, by a public notification, specify the tribes or tribal communities or part of or groups within tribes or tribal communities as Scheduled Tribe in relation to that State or Union Territory.
  • Article 15- Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth only.
  • Article 16- Equality of opportunity in matters of public employment.
  • Article 46- Promotion of educational and economic interests of scheduled castes, Scheduled tribes and other weaker sections.
  • Article 335- Claims of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes to services and posts.
  • 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.

Legal Provisions

  • Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955 protects rights against Untouchability.
  • Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 prevents the commission of offences of atrocities against the people of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes.
  • Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 provides for the extension of the provisions of Part IX of the Constitution to the Panchayats to the Scheduled Areas.
  • Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 recognizes the rights of scheduled tribes and other forest dwellers.

Committees Related to Tribal Communities

  • Xaxa Committee (2013) was set up to improve the socio-economic, health and educational status of the tribal communities in India.
  • Bhuria Commission (2002-2004) was tasked with investigating and reporting on the problems of the Scheduled Tribes (STs) in India, formulating a comprehensive tribal policy and outlining a vision for the future of STs.
  • Lokur Committee (1965) was tasked with advising the government on proposals by the states and union territories (UTs) to revise existing Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) lists in a “rational and scientific manner.”

Government Initiative

  • TRIFED is a national-level apex organization functioning under the administrative control of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs. It is involved in schemes such as MSP for MFP and TRIFOOD.
  • Pradhan Mantri Van Dhan Yojana: A market-linked tribal entrepreneurship development program for forming clusters of tribal Self Help Groups (SHGs) and strengthening them into Tribal Producer Companies.
  • Capacity Building Initiative: Empowering tribal Panchayati Raj Institution (PRI).
  • 1000 Springs Initiative & Online portal on GIS-based Spring Atlas: Harnessing Springs, which are natural resources of groundwater discharge.
  • Digital Transformation of Tribal Schools: In the first phase, 250 Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRS) have been adopted by Microsoft, out of which 50 EMRS schools will be given intensive training and 500 master trainers would be trained.

Important Tribes of India (Statewise)

Andhra PradeshAndh, Sadhu Andh, Bhil, Bhaghata, Dhulia,rona, Kolam, Gond, Thoti, Goundu, Kammara, Savaras, Dabba Yerukula, Sugalis, Nakkala, Pardhan, Gadabas, Chenchus A.k.a Chenchawar, Kattunayakan, Jatapus, Manna Dhora
Arunachal PradeshSingpho, Monpa, Abor, Sherdukpen, Galo, Apatanis
AssamKhasis, Chakma, Dimasa, Gangte, Garos, Hajong, Chutiya
BiharGond, Birjia, Asur, Savar, Parhaiya, Chero, Birhor, Santhals, Baiga
ChhattisgarhNagasia, Biar, Khond, Agariya, Bhattra, Mawasi, Bhaina,
GoaVarli, Dubia, Siddi, Dhodia, Naikda
GujaratPatelia, Bhil, Dhodia, Bamcha, Barda, Paradhi, Charan, Gamta
Himachal PradeshSwangal, Gujjars, Lahaulas, Khas, Pangwala, Lamba, Gaddis
Jammu and KashmirBalti, Garra, Sippi, Bakarwal, Mon, Gaddi, Purigpa, Beda
JharkhandGonds, Birhors, Savar, Mundas, Santhals, Khaira, Bhumji
KarnatakaGond, Patelia, Barda, Yerava, Bhil, Koraga, Adiyan, Iruliga,
KeralaMalai, Aarayan, Arandan, Uralis, Kurumbas, Arandan, Eranvallan
Madhya PradeshKharia, Bhils, Murias, Birhors, Baigas, Katkari, Kol, Bharia, Khond, Gonds,
MaharashtraWarlis, Khond, Bhaina, Katkari, Bhunjia, Rathawa, Dhodia.
ManipurThadou, Aimol, Maram, Paite, Chiru, Purum, Kuki, Monsang, Angami
MeghalayaPawai, Chakma, Raba, Hajong, Lakher, Garos, Jaintias Khasis
MizoramDimasa, Raba, Chakma, Lakher, Khasi, Synteng, Kuki, Pawai.
NagalandNagasAngami, Sema, Garo, Kuki, Kachari, Mikir, Konyak, Lotha
OdishaGadaba, Ghara, Kharia, Khond, Matya, Oraons, Rajuar, Santhals.
RajasthanBhils, Damaria, Dhanka, Meenas(Minas), Patelia, Sahariya, Lambada(Banjara).
SikkimBhutia, Khas, Lepchas.
Tamil NaduAdiyan, Aranadan, Eravallan, Irular, Kadar, Kanikar, Kotas, Todas.
TripuraBhil, Bhutia, Chaimal, Chakma, Halam, Khasia, Lushai, Mizel, Namte.
UttarakhandBhotia, Buksa, Jaunsari, Raji, Tharu.
Uttar PradeshBhotia, Buksa, Jaunsari, Kol, Raji, Tharu.
West BengalAsur, Khond, Hajong, Ho, Parhaiya, Rabha, Santhals, Savar.
Andaman and NicobarGreat Andamanese, Oraons, Onges, Sentinelese, Shompens.
Little AndamanJarawa
LakshadweepAminidivis, Koyas, Malmis, Melacheris.
North-EastAbhors, Chang, Galaong, Mishimi, Singpho, Wancho.

List of PVTGs in India

Andhra Pradesh and Telangana1. Bodo Gadaba 2. Bondo Poroja 3. Chenchu 4. Dongria Khond 5. Gutob Gadaba 6. Khond Poroja 7. Kolam 8. Kondareddis 9. Konda Savaras 10. Kutia Khond 11. Parengi Poroja l2. Thoti
Bihar (including Jharkhand)13. Asurs 14. Birhor 15. Birjia 16. Hill Kharia 17. Konvas 18. Mal Paharia 19. Parhaiyas 20. Sauda Paharia 21. Savar
Gujarat22. Kathodi 23. Kohvalia 24. Padhar 25. Siddi 26. Kolgha
Karnataka27. Jenu Kuruba 28. Koraga
Kerala29.Cholanaikayan (a section of Kattunaickans) 30. Kadar 31. Kattunayakan 32. Kurumbas 33. Koraga
Madhya Pradesh (including Chhattisgarh)34. Abujh Macias 35. Baigas 36. Bharias 37. Hill Korbas 38. Kamars39. Saharias 40. Birhor
Maharashtra41. Katkaria (Kathodia) 42. Kolam 43. Maria Gond
Manipur44. Marram Nagas
Odisha45. Birhor 46. Bondo 47. Didayi 48. Dongria-Khond 49. Juangs 50. Kharias 51. Kutia Kondh 52. Lanjia Sauras 53. Lodhas 54. Mankidias 55. Paudi Bhuyans 56. Soura 57. Chuktia Bhunjia
Rajasthan58. Seharias
Tamil Nadu59. Kattu Nayakans 60. Kotas 61. Kurumbas 62. Irulas 63. Paniyans 64. Todas
Tripura65. Reangs
Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand66. Buxas 67. Rajis
West Bengal68. Birhor 69. Lodhas 70. Totos
Andaman & Nicobar Islands 71. Great Andamanese 72. Jarawas 73


Source: HT


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Q.) Consider the following statements about Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) in India: (2019)

  1. PVTGs reside in 18 States and one Union Territory.
  2. A stagnant or declining population is one of the criteria for determining PVTG status.
  3. There are 95 PVTGs officially notified in the country so far.
  4. Irular and Konda Reddi tribes are included in the list of PVTGs.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

Your score is

The average score is 50%



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