Society > Features of Indian Society > Tribal affairs
Recently, the Prime Minister launched the ?24,000-crore Pradhan Mantri Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PM PVTG) Mission for the holistic development of around 28 lakh PVTGs in the country.
Under the mission, basic facilities such as road and telecom connectivity, electricity, safe housing, clean drinking water and sanitation, improved access to education, health and nutrition,, and sustainable livelihood opportunities will be provided to PVTG habitations, which are mostly remote, scattered, and inaccessible.
TRIBES OR ADIVASIS:
Tribal groups or Adivasis are considered to be the earliest inhabitants of India. The term Adivasi is commonly translated as ‘indigenous people’ or ‘original inhabitants.
The government recognizes most Adivasis under the Constitutional term “Scheduled Tribes” derived from a schedule in the Constitution Order of 1950.
TRIBES & INDIAN CONSTITUTION
The Constitution of India uses the term Scheduled Tribes or “Anusuchit Janjati” to describe tribes.
Article 342 says that only those communities who have been declared as such by the President through an initial public notification or through a subsequent amending Act of Parliament will be considered to be scheduled tribes.
PARTICULARLY VULNERABLE TRIBAL GROUPS
PVTGs are more vulnerable among the tribal groups.
They have some basic characteristics: they are mostly homogenous, with a small population, relatively physically isolated, social institutes cast in a simple mould, absence of written language, relatively simple technology and a slower rate of change etc.
Government of India follows the following criteria for identification of PVTGs.
Pre-agricultural level of technology
Low level of literacy
A declining or stagnant population
Accordingly, 75 tribal groups have been categorized by Ministry of Home Affairs as PVTGs.
AFFIRMATIVE ACTION FOR TRIBAL WELFARE:
I. Educational, Economic and Employment related safeguards:
Article 15(4): empowers the state to make special provisions for advancement of Socially and Educationally Backwards (SEBCs)or SC/STs.
Article 16(4A): empowers the state to make reservation in Promotions for SCs and STs.
Article 46: Promotion of educational and economic interests of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and other weaker sections.
Article 335:The claims of the members of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes shall be taken into consideration in making the appointments to services and posts in connection with the affairs of the Union or of a State.
Article 330 and 332:Provides for specific representation through reservation of seats for SCs and STs in the Parliament and in the State Legislative Assemblies respectively
Article 243D:Provides reservation of seats for SCs and STs and not less than 1/3rd for women in every Panchayat.
Article 233T:Provides reservation of seats for SCs and STs in every Municipality.
Article 338A:National Commission for Scheduled Tribe
Fifth Schedule: deals with the administration and control of scheduled areas and scheduled tribes in any state except the four states of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram.
Sixth Schedule:deals with the administration of the tribal areas in the four northeastern states of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram.
Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act:
PESA extends the provision of three-tier Panchayati Raj system to fifth Schedule areas with certain modifications and exceptions.
National Commission for De-notified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes (NCDNT):
DNTs are communities that were ‘notified’ as being ‘born criminals’ during the British regime under laws like the Criminal Tribes Act of 1871.
These Acts were repealed by the Independent Indian Government in l952, and these communities were "De-Notified".
To ensure their protection and welfare, the NCDNT was created.
Various efforts towards Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTG).
V. Recent Government schemes:
Zonal Cultural Centres (ZCCs):
The Government has established seven ZCCs which are responsible for organising cultural activities and programs across the nation on a regular basis, which will help in conserving tribal languages and culture across the country as well.
Promotion of Tribal Languages:
Grants are provided to State Tribal Research Institutes for the promotion of tribal languages, the development of bilingual primers for the preservation of tribal languages and the promotion of tribal literature.
Tribal Research Information, Education, Communication and Events (TRU-ECE) Scheme.
Eklavya Model & Museums:
Under the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, the Ministry of Tribal Affairs has resolved to establish nearly 750 Eklavya Model Residential Schools to support the education of tribal students.
Adivasi Grants Management System (ADIGRAMS).
Recognition of historical contributions:
15th November of every year is celebrated as Janjatiya Gaurav Divas to mark the birth anniversary of tribal freedom fighter Birsa Munda.
The government has also sanctioned ten tribal freedom fighter museums in order to acknowledge the heroic and patriotic deeds of tribal people.
Under the Ministry of Culture, several Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsavas and a minimum of 42 regional festivals are organised through the ZCCs every year.
Erosion of tribal culture:
The rapid pace of urbanisation in tribal-dominated districts is leading to a fast decline in traditions and cultural practices.
Eviction from forest lands and weak rehabilitation in the name of development and conservation is resulting in loss of cultural linkage with land and means of livelihood for the people.
Eg: As per a recent report, coal mines under development threaten to displace at least 165 villages and affect 87,630 families, of which 41,508 families live in areas where the predominant population is tribal communities.
Lagging in human development:
Despite positive discrimination in matters like education, employment and healthcare, the indicator of human development among tribal is lagging. Eg:
Literacy rate among STs stood at 59 percent in 2011 while national average stood at 74 percent.
Infant health: Infant Mortality Rate stood to 41.6 among STs, while the national average was 30 per 1000 births.
There is also a high prevalence of malnutrition, genetic disorders and alcohol abuse among tribals.
Governments have often used other legislations to bypass the gram sabha’s permission on matters like land acquisitions and mining lease.
Eg: In Korba district of Chhattisgarh, government is acquiring land using the Coal Bearing Act of 1957 – something that experts argue is illegal and against the spirit of PESA.
Limited implementation of provisions:
Implementation of various effort for tribal welfare remains a challenge because of factors like poorawareness among the people, corruption, weak political will among bureaucracy etc.
Eg: PESA remains disempowered as 40% of the states under its purview, like Jharkhand, have not framed their rules for its implementation.
Colonial attitude of officials:
Eg: There is a huge resistance from the forest department in the sharing of power with Gram Sabha for conservation and management of forest resources.
Developmental imbalances have been a root cause behind the emergence of tribal belts as hotspots of insurgence. Eg: The red corridor of Maoism.
Also, occasional skirmishes and human right violations have created resentment against security forces in tribal belts.
National plan of action:
A national plan of action for comprehensive development which would serve as a road map for the welfare of the tribals should be prepared and implemented. (2nd ARC)
Convergence of regulatory and development programmes:
Convergence of regulatory and development programmes in the tribal areas(2nd ARC): For the purpose, a decadal development plan should be prepared and implemented in a mission mode with appropriate mechanism for resolution of conflicts and adjustments.
Provide Employment and Income Generation opportunities:
Extend micro-credit for self-employment ventures and implementation of mirror schemes of MGNREGA when no work opportunities are available.
Collection of minor forest produce and their marketing can be encouraged.
Devolution of Powers and Responsibilities:
State governments should follow the principle of subsidiarity and devolve more powers to the tribal gram sabhas to enhance tribal voice on issues related to mining leases and infrastructure development in tribal areas.
Development of Healthcare Facilities:
Provide 24x7 working Health & Wellness centers in tribal areas along with mobile medical camps having specialist doctors.
Train health workers from tribal communities to act as a link between the healthcare facilities and tribal communities to guide patients & counsel them on preventive and promotive health.
Expansion of Nutrition Facilities:
Large scale opening of Mini-Anganwadis with much relaxed norms and expansion of Village Grain Banks to tribal areas
Provision of Primary education:
Provision of Primary education facilities in each tribal hamlet with free learning materials.
Technological development by providing telecom services with help of state carrier BSNL and utilization of CSR funds of private carriers.
Personnel Management(2nd ARC):
Government should select such police, revenue and forest officials who have the training and zeal to work in tribal areas and understand as well as empathize with the population they serve.
Strong awareness generation among the non-tribal population of India to recognize the ability and dignity of tribes.
Q. "The challenges faced by the tribal population in India are significant and multifaceted". Discuss. (10 marks, 150 words)