POLA SATWIK BHASKAR
PARITOSH SINGH RANA
THURAKA VEDA SAMHITH REDDY
TRIBALS IN INDIA
According to Article 342 of the Constitution, the
Scheduled Tribes are the tribes or tribal communities
or part of or groups within these tribes and tribal
communities which have been declared as such by the
President through a public notification.
The Scheduled Tribes account for 84.32 million
representing 8.2 percent of the country’s population.
Scheduled Tribes are spread across the country mainly
in forest and hilly regions.(2001 census)
The essential characteristics of these communities are
(This criterion is not spelt out in the Constitution but
has become well established). :-
Shy of contact with community at large
Employed mostly in primary sector
High levels of poverty and illiteracy, low
provisions for the promotion of educational
and economic interest of Scheduled Tribes and
their protection from social injustice and all
forms of exploitation.
GENERAL PERSPECTIVES ON DEVELOPMENT
Earlier , Tribals were themselves seen as hindrance
Hence, the emphasis has been on introducing values
attitudes, and institutions that would help them
take advantages of fruits of development.
This strategy, of late has been changed and it is now
recognized that development would be more
effective if it is in line with traditional values of
Development without or at minimal cost to ecology
Tribes are now seen as ‘alternate’ in which a
Realization that conservation is not possible without
participation of rural and tribal communities.
TRIBALS v/s DEVELOPMENT
But, the approach adopted has
been quite the contrary.
Tribal interests and welfare
often was at loggerheads with
imperatives of national
Development was seen as a
important tool to bring tribals
into societal mainstream.
Infrastructure, industries, dams,
mines etc .
Mineral and forest resources
Much of India's mineral and
forest wealth lay in tribal areas,
leading to an inevitable conflict.
Historically, Tribals have always
been in a continuous process of
integration with ever larger
Food gathering to peasants.
Communal ownership to private
ownership of land.
TRIBALS v/s DEVELOPMENT
After independence numerous measures were taken
to ensure tribal development.
To ensure spread of education, medical facilities,
bringing them into mainstream society.
Broadly divided into three categories 1)
Worldwide experience of modern development
process often leading to conflict and destruction of
tribal lifestyle( in America, Africa, Australia) was
kept in mind, and a slow process directed by
Panchsheel principle was to be adopted.
The customary rights of the tribals over resources
were to be honored.
BACKGROUND TO THE TRIBAL
DEVELOPMENT IN INDIA
Inequality in tribal societies was not as striking as
non-tribal caste societies.
This dispossession from land and restriction of
control over forest during colonial era pushed
tribals into labor market.
They were, over the centuries, systematically
dominated by rulers who claimed sovereignty over
their lands and controlled them often ruthlessly
from far off areas.
By the beginning of 20th century they were
pushed into plantation sector and newly coming
industries in Bengal, Assam and Bihar.
They mostly did low or unskilled jobs getting
very little economic compensation as they had
little access to modern education.
Before independence, tribe's had a history of
common ownership of land, forest resources and
the produce. Economic autarky.
Slowly, non-tribal started to settle on tribal land,
and when British rule made land a saleable
property vast amount of land was passed into nontribal hands.
Classes emerged among tribal.
They were declared encroachers on the very same
land that they had lived on for centuries.
Development in the colonial period
- The British tried to bring tribals to the mainstream culture through
- Engaged revenue collectors, forest officials, and local people to
collect data pertaining to these people
- The Forest Act 1927, meant to protect forests, went against the
tribal as well as non-tribal communities dependent on the forests for
FOREST RIGHTS ACT (2006)
The law concerns the rights of forest dwelling
communities to land and other resources, denied to
them over decades as a result of the continuance of
colonial forest laws in India.
The Law as passed in 2006 has the following basic
points. 1) Types of Rights
2) Eligibility Criteria
3) Process of Recognition of Rights
Resettlement for Wildlife Conservation
Supporters of the Act claim that it will redress the
Any corresponding law for mineral and rights over
other kind of resources yet to be formulated.
It will provide a legal right for communities
themselves to protect the forest.
Mechanism needed to divert benefits to people
rather than government machinery or private sector.
Opponents of the law claim it will lead to massive
forest destruction and should be repealed.
They see it as a ‘land redistribution exercise’.
THE PRESENT SCENARIO
India is not the only country where mining and
industrialization in tribal areas is linked with
retarded economic performance.
Blame on institutional weakness and political
It gains popularity by focusing on attainment of
tribal self determination and control over local
Crisis of political empowerment.
Naxalites have attacked both private companies
and government institutions.
The government has acted in a stubborn manner,
myopically seeing it as only a ‘internal security
Need to recognize the failure of governance,
understand the basic reasons and to have political
will to institutionalize alternative policies.
To give people and communities the right to say
‘no’ to a developmental project.
People embrace Naxalism due to present model of
IMPACT OF THE PRESENT MODEL OF DEVELOPMENT
Contradictions and paradoxes of India:
Firstly, the old India and the new India - The India after Independence, the
old India, was perceived by the Indians, particularly by the tribals, the
peasants, and the marginalized sections of the society, as a socialist state.
- Today’s India seems to be on the side of the rich and the elite.
Secondly, the rich India and the poor India - This is the time when the
country claims to have more than 8% economic growth. The irony, however,
is that majority of the people, especially living in the rural areas, who are
mostly tribals, are not benefiting from the development process. Hence, it
appears as if there are two Indians—one is the India of the rich and the
is the India of the poor.
- There is scientific and technological progress on the one hand, however,
very few people are benefiting from the process of development.
Thirdly, the mainstream India and subalternity - The dominant
societies of India, those that are powerful and affluent economically,
educationally, and politically, claim to be the mainstream.
- Minority societies across the country claim that they are the
mainstream and that there is no need for them to be assimilated into
the so-called national mainstream.
- The marginalized groups are the victims of various forms of
violence and hence the claim of the country to be ‘civilized’ can be
Fourthly, democracy of the rich and the democracy of the poor - India
claims to be the largest democracy in the world but in fact there are two
democracies in India - the democracy of the rich and the democracy of
- There are incidences of rampant displacement, migration,
unemployment, land grabbing, and so on account of the so-called
- The worst affected are the women and children. In the last 60 years
more than 60 million people have been displaced due to various
‘development’ projects. Of the total displaced more than 40% are
tribals. Of the total displaced only 24% have been rehabilitated.
Fifthly, consciousness among marginalized people (peasants,
tribals/indigenous peoples) - In the past Tribal/Indigenous
Peoples/Peasant revolted against the British, the landlords, contractors
- At present, there is extremism/violence in tribal areas known as ‘Red
corridor’ and many believe that this form of violence is the consequence of
lack of development in tribal areas, their exploitation, and alienation of the
natural resources and other means of livelihood.
- Growing extremism in tribal areas as a result of absence of development.
- The state that used to be perceived as a ‘welfare’ state after
independence has come to be experienced as a ‘terrorist’ state primarily
by the marginalized sections of the society.
- The 'socialist' model of development enshrined in the constitution of
India, implying equality and equity of each and every citizen of India no
matter what caste, religion, and ethnic group one belonged to, has shifted
to 'neo-liberal' model which favors the rich and neglects the poor.
SOCIAL CONSEQUENCES OF DEVELOPMENT
Depletion of forest resources.
Furthermore, developmental projects have seen
large scale immigration of people from outside, in
search of employment, thus distorting
Employment opportunities are denied to them.
Overall development of tribal areas has had a
deleterious effect on tribals. They are increasingly
subjected to oppression and exploitation.
Often tribals become minorities in their own
traditional living areas.
This has contributed to rise of Naxalite movements .
The above policies have also led to environmental
Sometimes it has also lead to oppression of
The benefits of large scale expansion of industries
and infrastructure, never reaches these tribals .
SOCIAL CONSEQUENCES OF DEVELOPMENT
The Developmental policies drastically altered
the relationship of tribes with natural
environment and resources.
Changed the pattern and methods of
ownership and usage.
Land and forest most exploited,
fundamentally altering the tribal way of life.
Land made a saleable private property.
Unscrupulous methods used. Modern
communication and transport technologies
hastened the process.
High migrations and uprooting.
The dissatisfied tribals now turn to Naxalites.