Tribes of India & Tribal welfare programmes

A group of people, often of related families, who live together, sharing the same language, culture, and history, especially those who do not live in towns or cities: a tribe of Amazonian Indians.

Tribes can include:

  • Many families and relatives
  • A large family
  • A community of customs and traditions
  • Adherence to the same leaders
  • Similar rules of living or a specific purpose

Tribes often live outside towns or cities. They may live off of forest products and the land. Examples of tribes include

  • The Amazonian Indians
  • The Masai tribe
  • The three divisions of the ancient Romans: the Latins, Sabines, and Etruscans
  • The 12 divisions of ancient Israel

The word “tribe” comes from the Latin word tribus, which was a division of the Roman people. The word was first used in the 14th century.

In Indian Context

A growing number of tribal activists are concerned about the state’s systematic erosion of protections for tribal people, and a general intolerance towards tribal autonomy. The founding fathers of the Republic of India were acutely aware of the disadvantageous position of the tribespeople and made special provisions like the Fifth and Sixth Schedules of the Indian Constitution.

According to Lokur Committee (1965), the essential characteristics are:

  • Indication of Primitive Traits
  • Distinctive Culture
  • Shyness of Contact with the Community at Large
  • Geographical Isolation
  • Backwardness


  • 700 tribes that have been notified under Article 342 of the Indian constitution.
  • The scheduled tribes make up 8.6% of the total population in India.
  • The places with maximum tribal settlements 
    • Mizoram (94.4% of the population)
    • Lakshadweep (94%)
    • Meghalaya (86.1%)
    • Nagaland (86.5%)
    • Notable number of tribes also in – Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Assam and West Bengal



Article 46 of Part IV (“Directive Principles of State Policy”) of the Constitution enjoins upon the State to promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people, in particular, of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes. 

Pre-Matric scholarship

  • Centrally Sponsored Scheme implemented through States/UTs disbursement of scholarship to eligible ST students through DBT 
  • Applicable to students who are studying in Classes IX – X.
  • Parental income from all sources should not exceed Rs.2.50 lakhs per annum.

Post Matric Scholarship (PMS) for ST students

  • Centrally Sponsored Scheme implemented through States/UTs 
  • covers higher education from class XI to Post Graduation courses in India. 
  • Parental income from all sources should not exceed Rs.2.50 lakhs per annum.
  • Scholarship has 2 components. First is payment of compulsory fees charged by educational institutions and second payment of maintenance amount depending upon the course pursued.

National Scholarship Scheme for Higher Education of ST Students

  • Central Sector Scholarship Scheme for ST students launched since 2007-08 
  • to encourage meritorious ST students for pursing studies at Degree and Post Graduate level.
  • Preference is given to girls, Divyang and PVTGs.

National Fellowship Scheme for Higher Education of ST Students

  • Central Sector Scheme fully funded and implemented by Central Govt since 2005-06
  • for pursuing MPhil and PhD selected on merit based on marks of Master Degree.
  • Preference is given to girls, Divyangan and PVTGs.

National Overseas Scholarships for Scheduled Tribe Students

  • Central Scheme to provide financial assistance to meritorious students for pursuing higher studies in foreign university in specified files of Master Level Courses, Ph.D and Post-Doctoral research programmes, in the field of Engineering, Technology and Science. 

Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRS)

  • Launched in the year 1997-98 
  • to impart quality education to ST children in remote areas
  • focus on academic education and all-round development of the students from Class VI to XII. 
  • By 2022, every block with more than 50% ST population and at least 20,000 tribal persons, will have an EMRS. 

Centre of Excellence for Sports (CoE for Sports)

  • This Centre of Excellence will have specialized state-of-the-art facilities for one identified individual sport and one group sport in each State. 


Pradhan Mantri Janjatiya Vikas Mission (PMJVM)

  • Merger of the two earlier schemes namely, “Mechanism for Marketing of Minor Forest Produce (MFP)”, “Development of Value Chain for MFP” and “Institutional Support for Development and Marketing of Tribal Products/Produce”.
  • Aims to strengthen tribal entrepreneurship initiatives and to facilitate livelihood opportunities by promoting more efficient, equitable, self-managed, optimum use of natural resources, MFP/farm & non-farm, tribal product-based enterprises promoted under the scheme. 
  • TRIFED is the nodal implementing agency for the scheme.

Pradhan Mantri Vanbandhu Kalyan Yojana

  • aims at holistic development of tribal communities and tribal areas across the country focussing on integrated development of villages and capacity building
  • Objectives include
    • Improving the quality of life in tribal areas
    • Improving the quality of education
    • Qualitative and sustainable employment for tribal families
    • Bridging infrastructure gaps with focus on quality
    • Protection of tribal culture and heritage

Pradhan Mantri Adi Adarsh Gram Yojana (PMAAGY) 

  • Sub-scheme to Pradhan Mantri Vanbandhu Kalyan Yojana 
  • undertakes developmental activities by bridging the gaps prominently in 8 sectors of development
    • Road connectivity
    • Telecom connectivity
    • School
    • Anganwadi Centres
    • Health Sub-Centre
    • Drinking water facility
    • Drainage 
    • solid waste management

Marketing and Logistics Development for Promoting Tribal Products from the North Eastern Region (PTP-NER)

  • Launched in 2021-22 
  • to strengthen livelihood opportunities for tribal artisans of North Eastern States through increased efficiency in procurement, logistics and marketing of tribal products. 
  • TRIFED is the nodal implementing agency for the scheme.

Equity Support to National / State Scheduled Tribes Finance and Development Corporation (NSTFDC / STFDCs)

  • Under the scheme, the Ministry releases funds in the form of Equity Share Capital assistance to NSTFDC/STFDCs which is deployed for the purpose of giving concessional loans to eligible members of Scheduled Tribes.
Our Other related Story on Tribals in India : READ HERE

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