Scheduled Tribes under the Constitution of India: Literacy rates and characteristics

The Constitution of India does not define Scheduled Tribes as such. Article 366(25) refers to scheduled tribes as those communities who are scheduled in accordance with Article 342 of the Constitution. 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. As per the 1991 Census, the Scheduled Tribes account for 67.76 million representing 8.08 percent of the country’s population. Scheduled Tribes are spread across the country mainly in forest and hilly regions. […]

The 1991 Census figures reveal that 42.02 percent of the Scheduled Tribes populations were main workers of whom 54.50 percent were cultivators and 32.69 per cent agricultural laborers. Thus, about 87 percent of the main workers from these communities were engaged in primary sector activities. The literacy rate of Scheduled Tribes is around 29.60 percent, as against the national average of 52 percent. More than three-quarters of Scheduled Tribes women are illiterate. These disparities are compounded by higher dropout rates in formal education resulting in disproportionately low representation in higher education. Not surprisingly, the cumulative effect has been that the proportion of Scheduled Tribes below the poverty line is substantially higher than the national average. The estimate of poverty made by Planning Commission for the year 1993-94 shows that 51.92 percent rural and 41.4 percent urban Scheduled Tribes were still living below the poverty line. […]

Source: Tribal Affairs and Hills
Address: http://tahmanipur.gov.in/Pages/schedule%20tribes.aspx
Date Visited: Sat Feb 20 2016 12:09:43 GMT+0100 (CET)

The essential characteristics of these communities are:-

Primitive Traits
Geographical isolation
Distinct culture
Shy of contact with community at large
Economically backward

[…] In order to give more focussed attention to the development of Scheduled Tribes, a separate Ministry, known as the Ministry of Tribal Affairs was constituted in October 1999. The new Ministry carved out of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, is the nodal Ministry for overall policy, planning and coordination of programmes and schemes for the development of Scheduled Tribes. […]

Source: Ministry of Tribal Affairs
Address : http://tribal.nic.in/index2.asp?sublinkid=542&langid=1
Date Visited: Sat Jun 25 2011 01:41:31 GMT+0200 (CEST)

[Bold typeface added above for emphasis]

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