Jan 22, 2023
India is multicultural and geographically diverse, with various tribes of varying origins and sizes. Let us look at a few of the major ones that are relevant from a UPSC-GS point of view.
Over 700 tribes have been notified under Article 342 of the Indian Constitution. The scheduled tribes consist of 8.6% of the total population of India. For UPSC aspirants, it is essential to know about the proportions and distributions of the tribes of India.
In this blog post, we shall look at the significant tribes of India that are relevant to know from a UPSC point of view. This is an important topic for your UPSC Prelims and Mains preparation.
India's tribal population is spread across the country in different pockets. Across the mainland, the places with the maximum tribal population are
In addition to these states, the territories of Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Assam and West Bengal also have significant tribal settlements.
A tribe is a group or a social division in a society consisting of families linked by social, economic, religious, or blood ties with a common culture and dialect. Each tribe is unique because everyone contains a distinct cultural, social and political identity. In India, tribes are known as ‘Adivasis.’
The tribal communities in India have been recognised under Schedule 5 of the Indian Constitution. This is the reason these tribes are called the ‘Scheduled Tribes.’
Under Article 366 (25), scheduled tribes are defined as “such tribes or tribal communities or parts of or groups within such tribes or tribal communities as are deemed under Article 342 to be Scheduled Tribes for the purposes of this constitution.”
Now let us look at the major tribes in India from each state.
Andhra Pradesh: Andh, Sadhu Andh, Bhagata, Bhil, Chenchus (Chenchawar), Gadabas, Gond, Goundu, Jatapus, Kammara, Kattunayakan, Kolawar, Kolam, Konda, Manna Dhora, Pardhan, Rona, Savaras, Dabba Yerukula, Nakkala, Dhulia, Thoti, Sugalis, Banjara, Kondareddis, Koya, Mukha Dhora, Valmiki , Yenadis, Sugalis, Lambadis.
Arunachal Pradesh: Apatanis, Abor, Dafla, Galong, Momba, Sherdukpen, Singpho, Nyishi, Mishmi, Idu, Taroan, Tagin, Adi, Monpa, Wancho.
Assam: Chakma, Chutiya, Dimasa, Hajong, Garos, Khasis, Gangte, Karbi, Boro, Borokachari, Kachari, Sonwal, Miri, Rabha, Garo.
Bihar: Asur, Baiga, Birhor, Birjia, Chero, Gond, Parhaiya, Santhals, Savar, Kharwar, Banjara, Oraon, Santal, Tharu.
Chhattisgarh: Agariya, Bhaina, Bhattra, Biar, Khond, Mawasi, Nagasia, Gond, Binjhwar, Halba, Halbi, Kawar, Sawar.
Goa: Dhodia, Dubia, Naikda, Siddi, Varli, Gawda.
Gujarat: Barda, Bamcha, Bhil, Charan, Dhodia, Gamta, Paradhi, Patelia, Dhanka, Dubla, Talavia, Halpati, Kokna, Naikda, Patelia, Rathawa, Siddi.
Himachal Pradesh: Gaddis, Gujjars, Khas, Lamba, Lahaulas, Pangwala, Swangla, Beta, Beda Bhot, Bodh.
Jammu and Kashmir: Bakarwal, Balti, Beda, Gaddi, Garra, Mon, Purigpa, Sippi, Changpa, Gujjar.
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Jharkhand: Birhors, Bhumij, Gonds, Kharia, Mundas, Santhals, Savar, Bedia, Ho, Kharwar, Lohra, Mahli, Parhaiya, Santal, Kol, Banjara.
Karnataka: Adiyan, Barda, Gond, Bhil, Iruliga, Koraga, Patelia, Yerava, Hasalaru, Koli Dhor, Marati , Meda, Naikda, Soligaru.
Kerala: Adiyan, Arandan, Eravallan, Kurumbas, Malai arayan, Moplahs, Uralis, Irular, Kanikaran, Kattunayakan, Kurichchan, Muthuvan.
Madhya Pradesh: Baigas, Bhils, Bharia, Birhors, Gonds, Katkari, kharia, Khond, Kol, Murias, Korku, Mawasi, Pardhan, Sahariya.
Maharashtra: Bhaina, Bhunjia, Dhodia, Katkari, Khond, Rathawa, Warlis, Dhanka, Halba, Kathodi, Kokna, Koli Mahadev, Pardhi, Thakur.
Manipur: Naga, Kuki, Meitei, Aimol, Angami, Chiru, Maram, Monsang, Paite, Purum, Thadou, Anal, Mao, Tangkhul, Thadou, Poumai Naga.
Meghalaya: Chakma, Garos, Hajong, Jaintias Khasis, Lakher, Pawai, Raba, Mikir.
Mizoram: Chakma, Dimasa, Khasi, Kuki, Lakher, Pawi, Raba, Synteng, Lushai.
Nagaland: Angami, Garo, Kachari, Kuki, Mikir, Nagas, Sema, Ao, Chakhesang, Konyak, Lotha, Phom, Rengma, Sangtam.
Odisha: Gadaba, Ghara, Kharia, Khond, Matya, Oraons, Rajuar, Santhals, Bathudi, Bathuri, Bhottada, Bhumij, Gond, Juang, Kisan, Kolha, Kora, Khayara, Koya, Munda, Paroja, Saora, Shabar, Lodha.
Rajasthan: Bhils, Damaria, Dhanka, Meenas(Minas), Patelia, Sahariya, Naikda, Nayaka, Kathodi.
Sikkim: Bhutia, Khas, Lepchas, Limboo, Tamang.
Tamil Nadu: Adiyan, Aranadan, Eravallan, Irular, Kadar, Kanikar, Kotas, Todas, Kurumans, Malayali.
Tripura: Bhil, Bhutia, Chaimal, Chakma, Halam, Khasia, Lushai, Mizel, Namte, Mag, Munda, Riang.
Uttarakhand: Bhotias, Buksa, Jannsari, Khas, Raji, Tharu.
Uttar Pradesh: Bhotia, Buksa, Jaunsari, Kol, Raji, Tharu, Gond, Kharwar, Saharya, Parahiya, Baiga, Agariya, Chero.
West Bengal: Asur, Khond, Hajong, Ho, Parhaiya, Rabha, Santhals, Savar, Bhumij, Bhutia, Chik Baraik, Kisan, Kora, Lodha, Kheria, Khariam, Mahali, Mal Pahariya, Oraon.
Andaman and Nicobar: Oraons, Onges, Sentinelese, Shompens.
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According to the 2011 Census, the total population of Scheduled Tribes in India is 10.43 crore, approximately 8.6% of the country's total population. Most of the population is concentrated in rural areas. In urban areas, Scheduled Tribes constitute a meagre 2.8% of the total population.
83.2% of the total Scheduled Tribe population of the country is concentrated in a few states, namely, Orissa, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and Karnataka.
In addition to the above states, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Jammu and Kashmir, Tripura, Mizoram, Bihar, Arunachal Pradesh, and Manipur constitute another significant share of 15.3% of the total Scheduled Tribe population.
In the states of Lakshadweep and Mizoram, the Scheduled Tribes form the majority population of the total state population, followed by the states of Nagaland and Meghalaya.
Among states, in terms of size, Madhya Pradesh has the most significant number of scheduled tribes, followed by Orissa in second place. States like Punjab, Delhi, Chandigarh, Pondicherry and Haryana contain no scheduled tribes.
In the Lok Sabha, there are 47 seats reserved in Lok Sabha. Census figures are taken into account while deciding the number of seats to be allocated for Scheduled Tribes in each state. This provision is contained in Article 330 of the Constitution of India, read with section 3 of the Representation of People’s Act (RPA), 1950.
Article 342 in the Constitution of India 1949 defines who would be considered a Schedule Tribe in the territory of India. Here is how it is written in the Constitution:
The government entity responsible for the overall development of the scheduled tribes in India is the Ministry of Tribal Affairs. In 1999 the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment was bifurcated to set up the Ministry of Tribal Affairs.
The reason behind this division was to provide a more focused approach to the socioeconomic development of Scheduled Tribes in the country. This became the nodal Ministry or Department regarding matters relating to Scheduled Tribes.
What are other critical national bodies for the welfare of Scheduled Tribes?
The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) is an important body that works for the welfare of the Scheduled Tribes in India. The NCST was established by amending Article 338 and adding Article 338A to the Constitution. The National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes was replaced by two separate Commissions - one for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) and the other for Scheduled Castes (NCSC).
The Tribal Sub-Plan(TSP) is a strategy for developing areas with a high tribal population. It is a strategy of the Government of India that aims for the socioeconomic development of the tribal population in India. The funds provided under the Tribal Sub Plan of a state must be in equal proportion to the tribal population of the respective state.
And that concludes everything you need to know about the Major Tribes in India.
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