Rights of indian tribes – Today Current Affairs
- The election of Draupadi Murmu as the 15th President of India is symbolic of utmost importance. She will be the first person from tribal/tribal background to hold this position.
- The election of Ms. Murmu is a milestone in the journey of tribal empowerment. In colonial India, 101 years after two tribal people were elected to the legislative bodies for the first time, a person of this class has been elected to the highest office of the country. The Hindu Analysis
- Although the founders of the Republic of India were fully aware of the non-profit status of the tribal people and made special provisions like the Fifth and Sixth Schedules of the Constitution, the systematic erosion of the safeguards they enjoyed, There is a growing concern among tribal activists regarding their harassment and repression by the police and a general intolerance towards tribal autonomy by the state.
What are the essential characteristics for a community to be recognized as a Scheduled Tribe? The Hindu Analysis
- According to the Lokur Committee (1965), they should have five essential characteristics:
- Signs of primitive traits
- Distinctive Culture
- Hesitation to get in touch with the community at large
- Geographical isolation
What are the basic safeguards provided by the Constitution of India for Scheduled Tribes? The Hindu Analysis
- The Constitution of India does not attempt to define the word ‘Tribe’, although the term ‘Scheduled Tribe’ was included in the Constitution through Article 342.
- It stipulates that “the President may, by public notification, specify the tribes or tribal communities or parts of or groups within tribes or tribal communities which shall be deemed to be Scheduled Tribes for the purposes of this Constitution.”
- The Fifth Schedule of the Constitution provides for the establishment of a Tribes Advisory Council in every State having Scheduled Areas.
Educational and Cultural Safety Measures : The Hindu Analysis
- Article 15(4): Special provision for the advancement of other backward classes (this includes Scheduled Tribes)
- Article 29: Protection of interests of minorities (this includes Scheduled Tribes)
- Article 46: The State shall promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people, in particular the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, and shall protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation.
- Article 350: Right to protection of a specific language, script or culture.
Political Security Measures : The Hindu Analysis
- Article 330: Reservation of seats in Lok Sabha for Scheduled Tribes
- Article 337: Reservation of seats for Scheduled Tribes in State Legislative Assemblies
- Article 243: Reservation of seats for Scheduled Tribes in Panchayats.
Administrative Security Measures : The Hindu Analysis
- Article 275: It provides for the provision of special funds by the Central Government to the State Government for promoting the welfare of the Scheduled Tribes and for providing them a better administration.
Recent Initiatives taken by the Government for the Scheduled Tribes : The Hindu Analysis
- Digital Transformation of Tribal Schools
- Development of Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups
- Pradhan Mantri Van Dhan Yojana
- Eklavya Model Residential Schools
Problems faced by tribes in India:
Losing control over natural resources : The Hindu Analysis
- As India industrialized and natural resources were discovered in tribal-populated areas, tribal rights were eroded and state control over natural resources replaced tribal control.
- With the advent of the concept of protected forests and national forests, the tribal people felt themselves uprooted from their cultural roots and had no secure means of livelihood.
Lack of education : The Hindu Analysis
- Most of the schools in tribal areas lack basic infrastructure and there are no minimum teaching materials and even minimum sanitation provisions.
- Tribal parents prefer to engage their children in gainful employment as there is no immediate economic benefit from education.
- Most of the tribal education programs have been prepared in official/regional languages, which are unfamiliar and incomprehensible to tribal students.
Displacement and Rehabilitation : The Hindu Analysis
- Acquisition of tribal land by the government for the development process of key areas like large steel plants, power projects and large dams has resulted in large scale displacement of tribal population.
- Tribal areas of Chotanagpur region, Orissa, West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh have suffered the most.
- Migration of these tribal people to urban areas causes psychological problems for them as they are not able to adjust well to the urban lifestyle and values.
Health and nutrition problems : The Hindu Analysis
- Due to economic backwardness and insecure livelihood, tribal people face health problems related to spread of diseases like malaria, cholera, diarrhea and jaundice.
- They are also victims of malnutrition related problems like iron deficiency and anemia, high infant mortality rate etc.
Gender Issues : The Hindu Analysis
- The degradation of the natural environment, especially the destruction of forests and the rapidly shrinking resource base, has had a massive impact on the status of women.
- Opening up of tribal areas for mining, industry and commercialization has brought men and women of the tribal group under the brutal operation of the market economy where consumerism and commoditization of women is on the rise.
Erosion of Identity : The Hindu Analysis
- The traditional institutions and laws of the tribals are coming into conflict with the modern institutions which is giving rise to apprehensions among the tribals about maintaining their identity.
- The extinction of tribal dialects and languages is another cause for concern as it indicates the erosion of tribal identity.
What should be done to empower the tribes in India?
Improvement in health facilities : The Hindu Analysis
- Mobile medical camps can play a major role in improving access to remote tribal population.
- Provision of emergency transport for pregnant tribal women for access to health facilities for maternity care is one of their major needs.
- Health workers of tribal communities become a link between health facilities and tribal communities in guiding patients, explaining doctors’ prescriptions, helping patients in availing welfare schemes and counseling them about preventive and promotive health practices.
Improving Food and Nutrition Facility : The Hindu Analysis
- Formation of Mini-Anganwadis on a large scale with easy norms and expansion of Village Grain Banks in Tribal Areas are some of the strategies which have been adopted to reach out to the hitherto ‘unreachable’ people in tribal areas.
Employment and Income Generation : The Hindu Analysis
- Employment and income generation opportunities should be ensured for the tribal areas. Improving their economic condition by providing them with paid employment or self-employment opportunities and thus freeing them from the shackles of poverty and indebtedness would be a necessary step.
- Efforts should also be made to extend micro-credit to self-employed undertakings and implement other schemes like MGNREGA on non-availability of work opportunities.
- There is also a need to encourage the collection and marketing of minor forest produce.
Management of Water Resources : The Hindu Analysis
- There is a need for more effective implementation of the National Water Policy in tribal areas to cover expansion of irrigation facilities and provision of drinking water (with special emphasis on watershed management, rainwater harvesting and water saving practices).
- For effective water resource management and to protect water resources from pollution, it is also necessary to spread mass education and public awareness among the rural and tribal population.
Empowerment of Tribal Women : The Hindu Analysis
- Effective measures should be taken to improve the condition of tribal women. For this the following steps can be taken:
- To promote joint forest management and their leadership role in Panchayati Raj Institutions.
- To take legal and administrative measures to stop the practice of victimization of women suspected of witchcraft, along with a massive campaign for social awareness and rehabilitation of the victim women through women’s organizations.
Inclusion of Tribal Population:
Cultivation of medicinal plants : The Hindu Analysis
- India holds the top position in the export of generic drugs in the world. Tribal group people should be encouraged to cooperate with the government for self-consumption as well as identification and collection of medicinal plants from the forest for sale as well as cultivation of suitable plant species.
- The Government of India has decided to take advantage of this business and for this a National Medicinal Plant Board has been established.
Infrastructure Development : The Hindu Analysis
- The government can cooperate with tribal groups for the development of infrastructure in their local areas.
- Meghalaya is known for its ‘living root bridge’. These bridges are traditionally built by trained Khasi and Jaintia tribesmen, who have mastered the art of building these bridges on the raised banks of streams flowing through the dense forest of Meghalaya.
Social inclusion : The Hindu Analysis
- The social exclusion experienced by tribal people is mainly due to discrimination at the social and institutional level. This has created a situation of their isolation, shame and humiliation and has consequently given opportunity for self-exclusion among the tribes.
- There is a dire need of awareness among the non-tribal population of the country to recognize the potential and dignity of the tribal people so as to ensure the unity and integrity of the country and the spirit of fraternity.