UPSC Sociology Mains Syllabus
Paper 2 – Section B – Social Structure
(iii) Tribal communities in India:
(a) Definitional problems.
(b) Geographical spread.
(c) Colonial policies and tribes.
(d) Issues of integration and autonomy.
The tribal population of the country, as per 2011 census, is 10.43 crore, constituting 8.6% of the total population. 97% of them live in rural areas and 10.03% in urban areas.
WHO ARE THE TRIBALS?
D.N Majumdar defines tribe as a social group with territorial affiliation, endogamous with no specialization of functions ruled by tribal officers hereditary or otherwise, united in language or dialect recognizing social distance with other tribes or castes.
Lucy Mair defines tribe as an independent political division of a population with a common culture.
Gillin and Gillin considers any collection of pre-literate local group that occupies a common general territory speaks a common language and practices a common culture as a tribe.
- Some common problems of the tribal people are:
1) Poverty and exploitation.
2) Economic and technological backwardness.
3) Socio-cultural handicaps.
4) Problems of assimilation with the non-tribal population.
- Early participation of children into work, abject poverty, lack of supportive education culture at home and in the community have contributed to the high incidence of illiteracy and very high rate of early dropout among the tribal population in the region.
- Land is their primary source of livelihood. But over a period, land have been grabbed not only through acquisition for public purpose but even fraudulent motives.
- The displacement of tribals has taken place on account of various development projects like irrigation dams, under-ground coal mines, mineral based industries in various parts of the country. This has added to their economic woes.
- They lost their land rights at the altar of economic growth or development The emergence of community forest management has led to growth of state control over their natural habitat.
- The socio-economic and demographic problems include health challenges (e.g., Sickle cell anemia), illiteracy, poverty, indebtedness, hunger and food insecurity, primitive agriculture, Small holdings, unaware of modern skills, high unemployment etc.
- Available trends on tribal migration indicate that mostly migration of tribal population is distress-driven. They are joining the informal labour force as contract labourers in the construction industry and domestic workers in major cities.
- In the name of upgradation of lifestyle of poor indigenous tribal people, the market forces have created wealth for their interests at the cost of livelihood and security of these tribes in the areas.
- Primary resources such as fuel, fodder and minor forest produce which were available free to villagers are today either non-existent or have to be brought commercially.
- Inadequate social and economic infrastructure in areas that have insufficient resources for participation in mainstream development also has been at the root of various “sub-national movements” such as the Jharkhand, Uttarakhand and Bodoland.
GOVERNMENT INITIATIVES AND CONSTITUTIONAL SAFEGUARDS
Central Themes or Initiatives
Nehruvian Tribal Panchsheel
Forest Rights Act 2006
Educational safeguards-Article 15(4) and 29
Safeguards for employment -Articles 16(4), 320(4) and 333
Economic safeguards -Article 19
Abolition of bonded labour -Article 23
Protection from social injustice and all forms of exploitation -Article 46
Reservation of seats for ST in Lok Sabha and Assemblies-Article 330,332,164
Appointment of Minister in charge of Tribal welfare
Special provisions in respect of Nagaland,Assam and Manipur -Articles-371(A),371(B) and 371
Promoting the educational and economic interests of the Scheduled Tribes-Articles 46
Grants from Central Government to the states for welfare of Scheduled Tribes and raising the level of administration of Scheduled Areas-Article 75.
Exploitation of tribals by the non tribals have to be checked vigorously. The statutory provisions and legislations meant for the protection of tribal and safeguard the tribal life and livelihood has to be implemented in letter and spirit. The true spirit of development of tribals lies in making them to realise their rights and ensuring that the rights are protected through institutional means.