Question: Why are the tribals in India referred to as ‘the Scheduled Tribes’? Indicate the major provisions enshrined in the Constitution of India for their upliftment.
Answer: Tribals in India consists of various groups distributed unevenly across the country and some among them are referred to as Scheduled Tribes. This is because the name of those tribes are contained in the Schedule 5th and 6th of the constitution and provisions are applicable to those particular groups only.
Major provisions enshrined in the constitution for upliftment of tribals
The best form of provision is given through reservation to the community. The tribal groups mentioned in the schedule are entitled to educational and employment benefits that plans to bring them with par with other communities.
Tribal culture and beliefs are different from the rest of the country and certain care has to be taken in order to provide them governance. This is fulfilled through self governance measures in the form of Tribal councils, Autonomous District Councils, PESA etc. This will reduce interference in tribal areas.
In addition to above mentioned benefits, there are other benefits that are added through legislative actions. This includes Forest Rights Act, that provides non-timber economic rights to tribals for items such as Tendu leaves, Mahua flowers, Bamboo shoots etc. They are also provided with land rights and prevention from forceful eviction from their lands.
Thus, constitution of India has been sympathetic to the cause of tribal communities in India and provisions have provided some relief from exploitation. Still there is a long way to go for them to come at par with others.