• Recently, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has said that only 402 online applications are received to avail benefits under SEED (Scheme for Economic Empowerment of Denotified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes).
  • More than 10 crore Indians from 1,400 communities belong to these groups, as per the latest estimates available with the government.


  1. The Scheme for Economic Empowerment of Denotified/Nomadic/SemiNomadic (SEED) communities was launched in February 2022 by the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment.
  2. It aims to provide free competitive exam coaching to these students, to provide health insurance to families, to uplift clusters of these communities through livelihood initiatives, and to provide financial assistance for housing.

De-Notified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes

  • These are communities that are the most vulnerable and deprived.
  • DNTs are communities that were ‘notified’ as being ‘born criminals’ during the British regime under a series of laws starting with the Criminal Tribes Act of 1871.
  • These Acts were repealed by the Independent Indian Government in l952, and these communities were “De-Notified”.
  • A few of these communities which were listed as de-notified were also nomadic.
  • Nomadic and semi-nomadic communities are defined as those who move from one place to another rather than living in one place all the time.
  • Historically, Nomadic Tribes and De-notified Tribes never had access to private land or home ownership.
  • While most DNTs are spread across the Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST) and Other Backward Classes (OBC) categories, some DNTs are not covered in any of the SC, ST or OBC categories.
  • Many commissions and committees constituted since Independence have referred to the problems of these communities.
  • These include the Criminal Tribes Inquiry Committee, 1947 constituted in the United Provinces (now Uttar Pradesh),
  • AnanthasayanamAyyangar Committee in 1949 (it was based on the report of this committee the Criminal Tribes Act was repealed),
  • Kaka Kalelkar Commission (also called first OBC Commission) constituted in 1953.
  • The B P Mandal Commission constituted in 1980 also made some recommendations on the issue.
  • The National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution (NCRWC), 2002 held that DNTs have been wrongly stigmatised as crime prone and subjected to high handed treatment as well as exploitation by the representatives of law and order and general society.
  • The NCRWC was established under the chairmanship of Justice M N Venkatachaliah.
  • It has been estimated that South Asia has the world’s largest nomadic population.
  • In India, roughly 10% of the population is Denotified and Nomadic.
  • While the number of Denotified Tribes is about 150, the population of Nomadic Tribes consists of about 500 different communities.


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