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Addition of Tribes to ST List

  Sep 07, 2022

Addition of Tribes to ST List

Q. Why is this in News?

A. Recently, government has approved the inclusion of certain communities in the lists of Scheduled Tribes in Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, fulfilling long-pending demands from these states.


Q. What is the Process of Inclusion in the ST List?


  • The process to include tribes in the ST list begins with the recommendation from the respective State governments, which are then sent to the Tribal Affairs Ministry, which reviews and sends them to the Registrar General of India for approval.
  • This is followed by the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes’ approval before the list is sent to the Cabinet for a final decision.


Q. What do we Know about the Newly Added Tribe?


  • Hatti Tribe (Himachal Pradesh):
    • The Hattis are a close-knit community who got their name from their tradition of selling homegrown vegetables, crops, meat and wool etc. at small markets called ‘haat’ in towns.
    • The community has been making the demand since 1967, when tribal status was accorded to people living in the Jaunsar Bawar area of Uttarakhand, which shares a border with Sirmaur district.
    • Their demand for tribal status gained strength because of resolutions passed at various maha Khumblis over the years.
  • Narikoravan and Kurivikkaran (Tamil Nadu):
    • Nomadic tribes like the Narikuravas and Kuruvikaras (jackal catchers and bird eaters) pride themselves on their traditional occupations of hunting and gathering.
  • Binjhia (Chhattisgarh):
    • The Binjhia in Chhattisgarh were listed as ST in Jharkhand and Odisha but not in Chhattisgarh.
      • The Binjhia are non-vegetarians and agriculture is the mainstay of their economy. They do not eat beef and pork but consume alcoholic drinks including the handia (rice beer).
  • Gond Community (Uttar Pradesh):
    • The Cabinet approved a proposal to bring the Gond community residing in 13 districts of Uttar Pradesh, under the ST list from the Scheduled Caste list.
    • This includes the five subcategories of the Gond community (Dhuria, Nayak, Ojha, Pathari, and Rajgond).
  • ‘Betta-Kuruba’ (Karnataka):
    • The ST status granted to the Betta-Kuruba community as a synonym of Kadu Kuruba of Karnataka.
    • Betta-Kuruba community has been demanding to include in the ST category for the last 30 years.

Q. What will be the Benefits in the Inclusion in the ST List?

  • The move will enable members of the communities newly listed in the revised list of Scheduled Tribes to derive benefits meant for STs under the existing schemes of the government.
  • Some of the major benefits include post-matric scholarship, overseas scholarship and the national fellowship, besides education, concessional loans from the National Scheduled Tribes Finance and Development Corporation, and hostels for students.
  • In addition, they will also be entitled to benefits of reservation in services and admission to educational institutions as per the government policy.


Q. What is the Status of Scheduled Tribes in India?


  • About:
    • As per Census-1931, Schedule tribes are termed as "backward tribes” living in the "Excluded" and "Partially Excluded" areas. The Government of India Act of 1935 called for the first time for representatives of "backward tribes" in provincial assemblies.
    • The Constitution does not define the criteria for recognition of Scheduled Tribes and hence the definition contained in 1931 Census was used in the initial years after independence.
    • However, Article 366(25) of the Constitution only provides process to define Scheduled Tribes:“Scheduled Tribes means 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.”
      • 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.
    • The Fifth Schedule of the Constitution lays out provision for Administration and Control of Scheduled Areas and Scheduled Tribes in states other than Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram.
    • The Sixth Schedule deals with the administration of the tribal areas in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram.
  • Legal Provisions:
    • Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955 against Untouchability.
    • Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
    • Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996.
    • Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006.
  • Related Initiatives:
    • TRIFED
    • Digital Transformation of Tribal Schools
    • Development of PVTGs
    • Pradhan Mantri Van Dhan Yojana
  • Related Committees:
    • Xaxa Committee (2013)
    • Bhuria Commission (2002-2004)
    • Lokur Committee (1965)