Major Tribes in India: State-wise compilation

A tribe is a social division in a traditional society consisting of families linked by social, economic, religious, or blood ties, with a common culture and dialect. A tribe possesses certain qualities and characteristics that make it a unique cultural, social, and political entity. This post is about the major tribes in India. They are also known by the name ‘Adivasis’ in India.

Tribes in India

Major Tribes in India

The nature of what constitutes an Indian tribe and the very nature of tribes have changed considerably over the course of centuries. Constitution of India has recognized tribal communities in India under ‘Schedule 5’ of the constitution. Hence the tribes recognized by the Constitution are known as ‘ Scheduled Tribes’. There are around 645 distinct tribes in India.

Major Tribes in India: Arranged State-wise

  1. Andhra Pradesh:  Andh, Sadhu Andh, Bhagata, Bhil, Chenchus (Chenchawar), Gadabas, Gond, Goundu, Jatapus, Kammara, Kattunayakan, Kolawar, Kolam, Konda, Manna Dhora, Pardhan, Rona, Savaras, Dabba Yerukula, Nakkala, Dhulia, Thoti, Sugalis.
  2. Arunachal Pradesh: Apatanis, Abor, Dafla, Galong, Momba, Sherdukpen, Singpho.
  3. Assam: Chakma, Chutiya, Dimasa, Hajong, Garos, Khasis, Gangte.
  4. Bihar: Asur, Baiga, Birhor, Birjia, Chero, Gond, Parhaiya, Santhals, Savar.
  5. Chhattisgarh: Agariya, Bhaina, Bhattra, Biar, Khond, Mawasi, Nagasia.
  6. Goa: Dhodia, Dubia, Naikda, Siddi,Varli.
  7. Gujarat: Barda, Bamcha, Bhil, Charan, Dhodia, Gamta, Paradhi, Patelia.
  8. Himachal Pradesh: Gaddis, Gujjars, Khas, Lamba, Lahaulas, Pangwala, Swangla.
  9. Jammu and Kashmir: Bakarwal, Balti, Beda, Gaddi, Garra, Mon, Purigpa, Sippi.
  10. Jharkhand:  Birhors, Bhumij, Gonds, Kharia, Mundas, Santhals, Savar.
  11. Karnataka: Adiyan, Barda, Gond, Bhil, Iruliga, Koraga, Patelia, Yerava.
  12. Kerala: Adiyan, Arandan, Eravallan, Kurumbas, Malai arayan, Moplahs, Uralis.
  13. Madhya Pradesh: Baigas,  Bhils, Bharia, Birhors, Gonds,Katkari, kharia, Khond, Kol, Murias.
  14. Maharashtra:  Bhaina, Bhunjia, Dhodia, Katkari, Khond, Rathawa, Warlis.
  15. Manipur: Aimol, Angami, Chiru, Kuki, Maram, Monsang, Paite, Purum, Thadou.
  16. Meghalaya: Chakma, Garos, Hajong, Jaintias Khasis, Lakher, Pawai, Raba.
  17. Mizoram: Chakma, Dimasa, Khasi, Kuki, Lakher, Pawai, Raba, Synteng.
  18. Nagaland:  Angami, Garo, Kachari, Kuki, Mikir, Nagas, Sema.
  19. Odisha:  Gadaba, Ghara, Kharia, Khond, Matya, Oraons, Rajuar, Santhals.
  20. Rajasthan: Bhils, Damaria, Dhanka, Meenas(Minas), Patelia, Sahariya.
  21. Sikkim:  Bhutia, Khas, Lepchas.
  22. Tamil Nadu: Adiyan, Aranadan, Eravallan, Irular, Kadar, Kanikar, Kotas, Todas.
  23. Telangana: Chenchus.
  24. Tripura: Bhil, Bhutia, Chaimal, Chakma, Halam, Khasia, Lushai, Mizel, Namte.
  25. Uttarakhand: Bhotias, Buksa, Jannsari, Khas, Raji, Tharu.
  26. Uttar Pradesh: Bhotia, Buksa, Jaunsari, Kol, Raji, Tharu.
  27. West Bengal: Asur, Khond, Hajong, Ho, Parhaiya,  Rabha, Santhals, Savar.
  28. Andaman and Nicobar:  Oraons, Onges, Sentinelese, Shompens.
  29. Little Andaman: Jarawa.
  30. North-East: Abhors, Chang, Galaong, Mishimi, Singpho, Wancho.
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Points to remember

  • Total population of Scheduled Tribes is 84,326,240 as per the Census 2001 which accounts for 8.2% of the total population of country. The share of the Scheduled Tribe population in urban areas is a meager 2.4%.
  • Madhya Pradesh, Maharastra, Orissa, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, and Karnataka are the State having larger number of Scheduled Tribes These states account for 83.2% of the total Scheduled Tribe population of the country. Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Jammu & Kashmir, Tripura, Mizoram, Bihar, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu, account for another 15.3% of the total Scheduled Tribe population. The share of the remaining states / Uts is negligible.
  • The scheduled Tribes in India form the largest proportion of the total population in Lakshadweep and Mizoram followed by Nagaland and Meghalaya.
  • Madhya Pradesh has the largest number of scheduled Tribes followed by Bihar.
  • Bastar district of Madhya Pradesh consists of largest number of Scheduled Tribes.
  • There are no Scheduled Tribes in Punjab, Delhi, Chandigarh, Pondicherry, Haryana.
  • In Lok Sabha there is reservation of seats for Scheduled Tribes. Here also census figures are taken into account. Allocation of seats for Scheduled Tribes in the Lok Sabha are made on the basis of proportion of Scheduled Tribes in the State concerned to that of the total population, vide provision contained in Article 330 of the Constitution of India read with Section 3 of the R. P. Act, 1950.
  • For Scheduled Tribes, 47 seats are reserved in Lok Sabha. The 1st schedule to R. P. Act, 1950  as amended vide Representation of People (Amendment) Act , 2008 gives the Statewise break up
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Scheduled Tribes

Article 366 (25) defined scheduled tribes as “such tribes or tribal communities or parts of or groups within such tribes or tribal communities as are deemed under Article 342 to be Scheduled Tribes for the purposes of this constitution”.

Article 342 in The Constitution Of India 1949

Scheduled Tribes

(1) The President may with respect to any State or Union territory, and where it is a State, after consultation with the Governor thereof, by public notification, specify the tribes or tribal communities or parts of or groups within tribes or tribal communities which shall for the purposes of this Constitution be deemed to be Scheduled Tribes in relation to that State or Union territory, as the case may be

(2) Parliament may by law include in or exclude from the list of Scheduled Tribes specified in a notification issued under clause ( 1 ) any tribe or tribal community or part of or group within any tribe or tribal community, but save as aforesaid a notification issued under the said clause shall not be varied by any subsequent notification PART XVII OFFICIAL LANGUAGE CHAPTER I LANGUAGE OF THE UNION.

Ministry of Tribal Affairs

Ministry of Tribal Affairs is responsible for the over all development of the scheduled tribes in India. This Ministry was set up in 1999 after the bifurcation of Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment with the objective of providing more focused approach on the integrated socio-economic development of the Scheduled Tribes (STs), the most underprivileged of the Indian Society, in a coordinated and planned manner.

The Ministry of Tribal Affairs shall be the nodal Ministry for overall policy, planning and coordination of programmes of development for the Scheduled Tribes. In regard to sectoral programmes and schemes of development of these communities policy, planning, monitoring, evaluation etc. as also their coordination will be the responsibility of the concerned Central Ministries/ Departments, State Governments and Union Territory Administrations. Each Central Ministry/Department will be the nodal Ministry or Department concerning its sector.

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Before the formation of the Ministry, tribal affairs were handled by different Ministries as follows:

  1. As a Division of the Ministry of Home Affairs named as ‘Tribal Division’ since independence up to September, 1985.
  2. Ministry of Welfare: From September 1985 to May 1998.
  3. Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment from May 1998 to September 1999.

National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST)

The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) was established by amending Article 338 and inserting a new Article 338A in the Constitution through the Constitution (89th Amendment) Act, 2003. By this amendment, the erstwhile National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes was replaced by two separate Commissions namely- (i) the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC), and (ii) the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) w.e.f. 19 February, 2004.

The Tribal Sub Plan (TSP) strategy

The Tribal Sub Plan (TSP) strategy is a Government of India initative aimed for the rapid socio-economic development of tribal people. The funds provided under the Tribal Sub Plan of the State have to be at least equal in proportion to the ST population of each State or UTs. Similarly Central Ministries/Departments are also required to earmark funds out of their budget for the Tribal Sub-Plan. As per guidelines issued by the Planning Commission, the Tribal Sub Plan funds are to be non-divertible and non-lapsable. The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes is vested with the duty to participate and advise in the planning process of socio-economic development of STs, and to evaluate the progress of their development under the Union and any State.

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Article by: Priyanka Sunil

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