Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

UPSC Civils Daily Mains Question 13th May-2021

Enumerate various constitutional provisions for Tribes in India. Mention challenges that are particularly faced by PVTG in India.

The PVTGs are the marginalized section of the Scheduled tribes of India. They are a section who are relatively isolated, educationally, and socio-economically backward, living in a habitat far away from amenities. PVTG is not a Constitutional category, nor are these constitutionally recognized communities. It is a government of India classification created with the purpose of enabling improvement in the            conditions of certain communities with particularly low development

The criteria followed for determination of PVTGs are as under:

1.       A pre-agriculture level of technology.

2.       A stagnant or declining population.

3.       Extremely low literacy; and

4.       A subsistence level of economy.

Following are the special provisions for the Scheduled Tribes in the constitution-

1. Fundamental Rights- Article 14 confers equal rights and opportunities to all, Article 15 prohibits discrimination against any citizen on the grounds of sex, religion, race, caste etc; Article 15(4) enjoins upon the State to make special provisions for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes; Article 16(4) empowers the State to make provisions for reservation in appointments or posts in favour of any backward class of citizens, which in the opinion of the State, is not adequately represented in the services under the State.

2. DPSP– Article 46 enjoins upon the State to promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people and the STs and promises to protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation.

3. Article 275(1) promises grant-in-aid for promoting the welfare of STs and for raising the level of administration of the Scheduled Areas, Articles 330, 332 and 335 stipulate reservation of seats for STs in the Lok Sabha and in the State Legislative Assemblies and in services.

4. Finally, the Constitution also empowers the State to appoint a Commission to investigate the conditions of the socially and educationally backward classes (Article 340) and to specify those Tribes or Tribal Communities deemed to be as STs (Article 342).

5. The Fifth Schedule to the Constitution lays down certain prescriptions about the Scheduled Areas as well as the Scheduled Tribes and setting up of Tribal Advisory Councils to advise on matters pertaining to the welfare and advancement of the STs (Article 244(1)).

6. Likewise, the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution also refers to the administration of Tribal Areas in the states of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Mizoram by designating certain tribal areas as Autonomous Districts and Autonomous Regions and by constituting District Councils and Regional Councils (Article 244(2)).

Challenges faced by PVTG

1.       Incoherency in identification: The process of identification of PVTG adopted by the states differ in its methods. The spirit of the direction made by MoTA was loosely considered as a result there has been no uniform principle adopted in identifying the PVTGs.

2.       Outdated List: The Anthropological Survey of India observes that the list of PVTG is overlapping and repetitive. For example, the list contains synonyms of the same group such as the Mankidia and the Birhor in Odisha, both of which refer to the same group.

3.       Lack of baseline surveys: The Anthropological Survey of India observed 75 PVTGs, base line surveys exists for about 40 groups, even after declaring them as PVTGs. Lack of baseline surveys hinder effective implementation of welfare schemes

§  Note: Base line surveys are done to precisely identify the PVTG families, their habitat and socio-economic status, so that development initiatives are implemented for these communities, based on the facts and figures

4.       Unequal Benefits from welfare schemes:In some cases, a PVTG receives benefits only in a few blocks in a district, while the same group is deprived in adjacent blocks.  For example, the LanjiaSaora are recognized as a PVTG across Odisha but the micro-projects are established only in two blocks. The rest of the LanjiaSaora are treated among the Scheduled Tribes (STs) and do not receive benefit from these projects.

5.       Impact of developmental projects:In 2002, a Standing Committee formed by the MoTA to review the ‘Development of Primitive Tribal Groups,’ shared that the tribal people, especially PVTGs, are worst affected by developmental projects like dams, industries and mines.

6.       Denial of land rights:

  •  PVTGs have faced systematic alienation from their resources due to conservation purposes-declaration of Reserved Forests and Protected Forests.For example: In 2009, 245 Baiga families were forced out from the Achanakmar Tiger Reserve, when it was notified so under the Project Tiger
  • Further, despite Forest Rights Act (2006) in place, habitat rights of PVTGs are still being forfeited in many instances. For Example: Mankidia community of Odisha are denied habitat rights in Similipal Tiger Reserve (STR) by state’s forest department

7.       Livelihood issues: Due to shrinking forests, environmental changes and forest conservation policies, their Non Timber Forest Produce (NTFP) collection is affected. They lack awareness about market value of NTFP and are exploited by middle men.

8.       Health Issues:

  •  PVTGs suffer from many health problems like anaemia, malaria; gastro-intestinal disorders; micro nutrient deficiency and skin diseases due to poverty, lack of safe drinking water, bad sanitation, lack of health services, superstition and deforestation
  • Uncontacted tribal group such as the Sentinelese tribe of Andaman are also at the very high risk of contracting diseases in case of contact with outsiders

9.       Illiteracy: Though literacy rate among many PVTGs have increased over the past years, it still remains low at 30-40%. Further, poor female literacy is a major concern

10.   Vulnerabilities of tribes in Andaman and Nicobar:The fragile tribal communities have been facing expropriation of their ecosystem by outsiders. The outside influences are impacting their land use patterns, use of the sea, overall biodiversity leading to material and non-material changes.

 

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