Tribal Welfare : Constitutional and Statutory provisions

March 21, 2018


The framers of the Constitution took note of the fact that certain communities in the country were suffering from extreme social, educational and economic backwardness arising out of age-old practice of untouchability and certain others on account of this primitive agricultural practices, lack of infrastructure facilities and geographical isolation, and who need special consideration for safeguarding their interests and for their accelerated socio-economic development. These communities were notified as Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes as per provisions contained in Clause 1 of Articles 341 and 342 of the Constitution respectively. As per Census 2011, there are 104 million tribal population in India. It is important to look after tribal welfare so as to bring them up to speed to modern life at their pace while also conserving their traditions, culture and practices.

Constitutional Provisions for Tribal Welfare:


Educational and Cultural Safeguards:

  • Article 15(4) : 

    • Special provisions for advancement of other backward classes (it includes STs)

  • Article 29 : 

    • Protection of Interests of Minorities (it includes STs)

  • Article 46 : 

    • The State shall promote, with special care, the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people, and in particular, of the Scheduled Castes, and the Scheduled Tribes, and shall protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation,

  • Art. 350 : 

    • Right to conserve distinct Language, Script or Culture;

  • Article 350 : 

    • Instruction in Mother Tongue.

Social Safeguards:

  • Article 23 : 

    • Prohibition of traffic in human beings and beggar and other similar form of forced labour;

  • Article 24 : 

    • Forbidding Child Labour.

Economic Safeguards:

  • Article 244 : 

    • Clause(1) Provisions of Fifth Schedule shall apply to the administration & control of the Scheduled Areas and Scheduled Tribes in any State other than the states of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura which are covered under Sixth Schedule, under Clause (2) of this Article.

  • Article 275 : 

    • Grants in-Aid to specified States (STs&SAs) covered under Fifth and Sixth Schedules of the Constitution.

Political Safeguards:

  • Article 164(1) :

    • Provides for Tribal Affairs Ministers in Bihar, MP and Orissa;

  • Article 243 : 

    • Reservation of seats in Panchayats.

  • Article 330 : 

    • Reservation of seats for STs in Lok Sabha;

  • Article 337 : 

    • Reservation of seats for STs in State Legislatures;

  • Article 334 : 

    • 10 years period for reservation (It has been amended several times to extend the period.)

  • Article 371 : 

    • Special provisions in respect of NE States and Sikkim

Service Safeguard:

  • Article.16(4) :

    • Reservation in appointment for backward classes in services who are not adequately represented.

  • Article 16(4A) :

    • Provision for consequential seniority against reservation.

  • Article 16(4B) :

    • Recognition of vacant seats against reservation as a distinct class of vacancy in future jobs

  • Article 320(4) :

    • No need to consult Public service commission for making provisions against Article 16(4) of the constitution.

  • Article 335 :

    • Claims of SC& ST to be taken into consideration in making appointments.

Other Provisions:

  • Article 15(4) :

    • Promotion of Social, Economic and Education interests.

  • Article 19(5) :

    • Safeguard of tribal interests by imposition of special restrictions.

  • Article 23 :

    • Prohibition of Human Trafficking

  • Article 29 :

    • Cultural and Educational Rights.

  • Article 164 :

    • Minister in charge for tribal affairs in the states of MP, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand and Odisha. 


Government Schemes for Tribal Welfare:

  1. Special Central Assistance to Tribal Sub Scheme (SCA to TSS):

    1. It is 100% grant from Government of India to states.

    2. It is charged on the consolidated fund of India except for North eastern states where it is voted upon. 

    3. It is utilised for economic development of Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA), Integrated Tribal Development Project (ITDP), Modified Area Development Approach (MADA) Pockets and Clusters, PVTGs and dispersed tribal population.

  2. Grant in Aid under Article 275 (1) of the Constitution:

    1. Same provisions as the above scheme

  3. Scheme of Grant-in-Aid to Voluntary Organizations working for the Welfare of Scheduled Tribes 

    1. The prime objective of the scheme is to enhance the reach of welfare schemes of Government and fill the gaps in service deficient tribal areas, in the sectors such as education, health, drinking water, agro-horticultural productivity, social security net etc. through the efforts of voluntary organizations, and to provide favourable environment for socio-economic upliftment and overall development of the Scheduled Tribes (STs).

    2. It is a centrally sponsored scheme

  4. Scheme of Strengthening Education among ST Girls in Low Literacy Districts:

    1. The scheme aims to bridge the gap in literacy levels between the general female population and tribal women, in the identified districts or blocks, more particularly in naxal affected areas and in areas inhabited by Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs), by creating the required ambience for education for ST girls. 

    2. It is a Central Sector gender specific scheme and the Ministry provides 100% funding.

  5. Scheme of Vocational Training in Tribal Areas:

    1. develop the skills of the ST youth for a variety of jobs as well as self-employment and to improve their socio-economic condition by enhancing their income. 

    2.   It is not an area-specific scheme, the condition being that free vocational training facilities are extended only to tribal youth, 100% grants under the scheme are provided to the States, Union Territories and other Associations implementing the Scheme.

  6. Development of Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs):

    1. The scheme covers only the 75 identified Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups. The scheme is very flexible and it enables every State to focus on any developmental activity for PVTGs, viz., housing, land distribution, land development, agricultural growth, cattle development, connectivity, installation of non-conventional sources of energy for lighting purpose, social security or any other innovative activity meant for the comprehensive socio-economic development of PVTGs.

  7. Scheme of Girls & Boys Hostels for STs:

    1. Central assistance is given to States/UTs/Universities for construction of new hostel buildings and/or extension of existing hostels.

  8. Scheme of Ashram Schools in Tribal Sub-Plan Area:

    1. Provide residential schools for STs in an environment conducive to learning to increase the literacy rate among the tribal students and to bring them at par with other population of the country.

  9. Scholarship Schemes

  10. Support to Tribal Research Institute (TRIs)

  11. Mechanism for Marketing of Minor Forest Produce (MFP) through Minimum Support Price (MSP)and Development of Value Chain for MFP

  12. National Scheduled Tribes Finance and Development Corporation (NSTFDC), under the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, extends financial assistance at concessional rates of interest to Scheduled Tribes for undertaking income generation activities. 



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