Saturday, June 4, 2011

Scheduled Tribe Women and Children: Issues and Challenges for Development

Equality of status and opportunity to all citizens of the country is enshrined under the Indian Constitution, which provides that no individual shall be discriminated against on the grounds of religion, caste, sex or occupation. The Indian democracy has been rooted on the twin pillars of distributive justice and inclusive growth. Recognizing this, the State has been empowered to take affirmative action in favour of certain historically disadvantaged social groups such as the Scheduled Tribes (STs) through reservation in educational institutions and in employment.

Tribal communities live in about 15% of the country’s areas in various ecological and eco-climatic conditions as diverse as remote snowbound hills of Arunachal Pradesh to remote islands of Andaman and Nicobar and Lakshadweep Island.  The term “Scheduled Tribes” is defined in Article 366(25) of the Constitution and Article 342 prescribes the procedure to be followed for specifying STs. Although the Constitution does not spell out any criteria, the well established criteria for specification of a community as a ST includes (a) indications of primitive traits (b) distinctive culture (c) shyness of contact with communitie at large (d) geographical isolation and (e) backwardness. 

So far,  705 scheduled tribes have been notified under Article 342 of the Constitution spread over different States and Union Territories.  Many tribes are present in more than one state. The different tribal groups are highly heterogeneous, and their differences are a function of the environment they live in, the degree of exposure to the other communities, their economic status and past history. The total population of STs, as per 2001 census, is 8.43 crores constituting 8.2% of total population. They are mostly concentrated in populous states of Madhya Pradesh (14.51%); Maharashtra (10.17%); Orissa (9.66%); Gujarat (8.87%); Rajasthan (8.42%); Jharkhand (8.40%); Chhattisgarh (7.85%); and Arunachal Pradesh (5.96%).  In the States/Union Territories of Lakshadweep, Mizoram, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Dadra & Nagar Haveli, tribals form a majority of their population.

A comparative analysis of the status of ST communities, particularly of women and children on some of the indicators such as literacy, workforce participation rate (WPR), health, availability of electricity, drinking water and household assets shows that concerted effort is required to bridge the gap between the ST population and the general population.

The demographic statistics, based on 2001 census, and the disaggregated data on ST population in five year age group, by sex, in States/UTs are at Annexure-I and Annexure-II respectively. 

As can be seen from Annexure-1, the decadal growth in percentage of tribal population is 24.45% which is higher than the total population growth of 22.66%.  It is encouraging to note that STs have a much higher sex ratio as well as child sex ratio. The sex ratio amongst STs was favourable at 977 as compared to national average of 933 and child sex ratio was also higher at 972 as against the national average of 927 (Census, 2001).

The literacy rate of the Scheduled Tribes showed a healthy growth between 1991 Census and 2001 census, increasing from 29.12 to 47.1. However, there still is a wide gap of 17.7% when compared with the national literacy rate of 64.8. With regard to indicators relating to health, the NFHS – 3 data shows that in respect of almost all the parameters, the gap between ST women and all-India aggregates has narrowed.

On the economic front, as per the 2001 Census, 81.6% of the main workers from these communities were engaged in primary sector activities. The cumulative effect of this and other factors such as low literacy levels has been that the proportion of STs below poverty line is markedly higher than the national average. As per Planning Commission estimates for the year 2004-05, the percentage of ST population below poverty line was 47.3% in rural areas and 39.9% in urban areas. However, on a positive note, there has been a decline in the ST population living below poverty line in 2004-05 as compared to 1993-94. The workforce participation rate for STs stands at 20% for urban areas and at 40% for rural areas (NSS July, 2007-June, 2008).  

There has been a conflict of interest between development issues and the need to protect the socio-cultural and historical rights of the tribal population.  Exploiting the tribal areas for its rich natural resources without adequately protecting the tribes is not only violative of their constitutional rights but may also be counterproductive in the long run.  The need to achieve ecological balance and environmental issues arising out of development plans in tribal belts, thus, requires serious discussion.

In order to address the disadvantages faced by ST women and children, various measures have been undertaken by the Government which aim at improving their health and nutritional status, educational and livelihood opportunities, access to productive resources, housing & civic amenities and providing protection against atrocities and forms of violence faced by them.

The Tribal Sub Plan (TSP) strategy is being implemented since 1972, for achieving rapid socio economic development of tribal people.  The object of the strategy is to provide for a budget component (8% for Central Ministries/Departments and in proportion to tribal population of States/UTs in State Budget) to be spent on programmes and schemes for the tribal.  The TSP concept is not applicable to States with 80% or more tribal population. The Government of India also formulated a Draft National Tribal Policy in 2006 mainly relating to alienation of tribal land, tribal- forest interface; conservation and development of particularly vulnerable tribal groups or the Primitive Tribal Group and other important issues concerning tribals like enhancement of Human Development Index, Gender Equity, etc.

The goal of holistic empowerment of ST women and children whether social, economic or political, cannot, however, be achieved in isolation and would require proactive participation of other stakeholders such as State Governments, civil society groups and grassroots level organisations. It also necessitates reform of existing legislations, wherever required, as well as the sensitization of law enforcement agencies and the judicial system.  It would also entail a radical transformation in the mindsets and societal perceptions within the family, the community and the nation as a whole. An integrated approach which focuses on the holistic empowerment and development of ST women and children is therefore, necessary to ensure that the constitutional vision of equality is fully realized.
On 8th March, 2010, the National Mission for Empowerment of Women was launched with the objective of socio-economic empowerment of women by strengthening coordination and convergence of schemes/programmes of all participating Ministries/Departments. The objective is to create an enabling environment for all women, irrespective of their caste, religion or community identity.
The two-day Conference on ‘Issues & Challenges for Development of ST Women & Children’ is aimed at taking stock of the existing interventions for empowerment of ST women and children. To facilitate discussions during this Conference, this compilation has been prepared, which provides a detailed description of the existing legislations, policies, programmes and schemes of various Ministries/Departments/agencies relating to ST women and children, the status of benefits that have been availed by/accrued and remedial measures that may be undertaken in order to address the current gaps and challenges. It is based on the information received from the relevant Ministries/Departments/agencies. The succeeding pages provide details on the above lines in respect of the following areas:

I. Social Empowerment, including education and health & nutrition
II. Economic Empowerment, including in agriculture, land alienation & acquisition, displacement, livelihood opportunities, forests and environment etc.
III. Protection from Atrocities
IV. Political Empowerment including implementation of PESA


Education is seen as a critical factor in breaking the inter-generational cycle of transmission of poverty. Education is not only an instrument of enhancing efficiency but also an effective tool of augmenting and widening democratic participation and upgrading the overall quality of individual and the society. The significance of education and literacy for women and children belonging to historically disadvantaged groups such as the SCs cannot be overemphasised. Not only does this mean creating basic infrastructure and facilities but it also underscores the need to improve the quality of education imparted. The power of education lies not just in imparting formal literacy, but rather in the acquisition of skills that enable access to economic, legal, health and political literacy.  The objective is not gender parity alone, but rather gender equality in, within and through education. 

Recognizing this, Article 46 of the Constitution states that, “The State shall promote, with special care, the education and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people, and, in particular of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, and shall protect them from social injustice and all forms of social exploitation.”  Articles 330, 332, 335, 338 to 342 and the entire Fifth and Sixth Schedules of the Constitution deal with special provisions for implementation of the objectives set forth in Article 46.  Similarly, Article 30 (1) provides for the rights of the minorities to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.

Between 1961 and 2001, the literacy rate of STs increased 5.32 times, while that of total population increased 2.69 times. However, the gap between the literacy rates of STs and of the general population remained during the three decades between 1971 and 2001 almost at the same level of 17.70%, with marginal variations.

Existing Policies and Legislations

The National Policy for Education, 1986 gives overriding priority to removal of women’s illiteracy and obstacles inhibiting their access to and retention in elementary education.  The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act has become operational w.e.f. 1st April, 2010.  The RTE Act includes children belonging to ST category as one of the disadvantaged groups.  The RTE Act provides, inter alia, that appropriate Governments and local authorities shall ensure that children belonging to disadvantaged groups and weaker sections are not discriminated against and prevented from pursuing and completing elementary education.

The overall literacy rate amongst STs, particularly female literacy, has lagged behind the national average.  For example, while the literacy rate of total population increased from 51.21% to 64.84% in the period 1991-2001, the STs literacy rate increased from 29.60% to 47.10% over the same period.  Though, the growth achieved is healthy, two areas of concern remain: a) there is a gap of 17.80% between literacy rate of total population and that of ST population, even though the gap has narrowed.  b) the ST female literacy was lower by 21%, compared to overall female literacy.

Table: 1
Literacy among STs and all Social Groups
All Social Groups

The percentage of literacy gap between STs and all population various from 0.5 to 31.9 percentage point during 2001 within different States/UTs. The literacy rate among tribal women is significantly higher in North-Eastern states such as Mizoram, Meghalaya and Nagaland where tribal groups constitute a large percent of the total population. On the other hand, tribal literacy rates are much lower in the states of Rajasthan, Orissa and Madhya Pradesh. In these states the tribal population constitutes a small percent of the total population although they represent a very large proportion of the total population. Socio-economic factors contribute significantly to disparities in literacy and educational attainment among women in rural and urban areas. Educational disparities which contribute a great deal to the persistence of massive inequalities in Indian society, also largely derive from more fundamental inequalities such as those of class, caste and gender. High poverty rates and dependence on agriculture call for increasing rates of child labor force participation among many of the tribes in India. The tribal dropout rate is significantly higher compared to the general population. Children often enroll in primary education and then drop out of school in order to help the family and this applies more to female child than male child.

According to the statistics collated by Ministry of Human Resource Development, the gender disparity in Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) at elementary stage declined 12.7% in 2004-05 to 10.5% in 2006-07 for ST children.  The overall GER for elementary stage (Class I to VIII) too increased from 102.4% to 109.6% during the same period.  The school enrolment details and the GER collated for the year 2008-09 are given in Annexure-III-IV.

Three important decisions in recent years are likely to impact the delivery of early education to the entire general category but particularly to the ST children who live in remote hamlets and inaccessible terrains.  The first is the rapid growth achieved in the last decade in communication sector through satellite communication and telephone connectivity to remote areas. The second is the enactment of RTE.  Third is the introduction of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and the concept of Public Private Partnership (PPP) in the field of education.  All these factors are expected to greatly enhance the delivery system of education to the deprived.

Even at the higher education level the enrolment at Post Graduation and Ph.D level have shown marked progress due to the policies of the Government.   

Schemes and Programmes of Ministry of Tribal Affairs

i)        The Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA) seeks to bridge social category gaps at the elementary stage of education. Under this, there are two focused interventions for girls through the Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya (KGBV) and the National Programme for Education of Girls at Elementary Level (NPEGEL).

ii)      Strengthening Education among ST Girls in Low Literacy Districts: a Scheme introduced in 2008 is being implemented in 54 identified low literacy districts with priority being accorded to districts affected by left-wing extremism and Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTS).  The Scheme aims at 100% enrolment, reducing drop outs at elementary level by providing necessary ambience for primary education under Sarva Siksha Abhiyan.  Setting up of block level hostels for middle and secondary schools and at Panchayat level for primary school children has been envisaged to be funded entirely by the Tribal Welfare Ministry.  Where it was not possible to have regular schools like remote inaccessible areas, a self contained educational institution with board and lodging could be considered.  In three years since financial year 2007-08, the Ministry has granted Rs. 19.75 crore, Rs. 40 crore in 2008-09, Rs. 33.50 crore in 2009-10 and 37.56 crore in 2010-11. 

Table: 2
Physical Achievements under this Scheme
Name of the Scheme
Strengthening Education of ST Girls in low Literacy district

iii)    Target District with Gender Gaps:  The Ministry of Education has identified 109 districts with high ST population with high gender gap in enrolment for according special attention under Serva Siksha Abhiyan.  The Scheme aims to provide adequate infrastructure for elementary schooling and promote Education Guarantee Scheme in remote sparingly populated regions by setting up alternative schooling facilities.  Special coaching and remedial classes and preference for admission to ST girls in Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidhyalaya Scheme are some of the initiatives under SSA.  Of the total enrolment KGBBS covered in 2009-10 27% are SCs, 29% are STs, 27% are OBC, 8% Muslims and 9% BPL.

iv)    Vocation Training Centre in Tribal Areas: The object of the scheme is to upgrade the skills of ST youth in traditional and modern vocation to help them to get employment in private sector based on their skills.  The revised scheme provides for funding up to Rs. 30,000/- per annum per ST trainee under ‘Modular Employable Skills (MES)’ and Craftsmen Training Scheme (CTS) under Ministry of Labour and Employment. 

v)                  Grant-in-aid to Voluntary Organizations working for the welfare of Scheduled Tribes including coaching for Scheduled Tribes and Award for Exemplary Services: 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. It also aims to provide an environment for socio-economic upliftment and overall development of the Scheduled Tribes (STs). Any other innovative activity having direct impact on the socio-economic development or livelihood generation of STs may also be considered through voluntary efforts. Under this scheme various projects, viz. Residential/Non-residential schools, Hostels, Mobile Dispensaries, 10-Bedded Hospitals, Computer Training Centres, Mobile Library cum Audio Visual Units, etc. are covered.

Table: 3
Physical Achievements under this Scheme
(No of Beneficiaries in Lakhs)

Name of the Scheme
Grant-in-aid to voluntary organization including special incentive

vi)    Coaching for Scheduled Tribes: The Ministry of Tribal Affairs supports a scheme for coaching for disadvantaged ST candidates in quality coaching institutions to enable them to appear in competitive examinations and succeed in obtaining an appropriate job in civil services/public sector. The scheme is implemented through reputed Professional Coaching Institutions and State Governments/UT Administrations/Universities which run Pre-examination Coaching Centres (PECs). There are efforts to shift the focus from Government run institutions to quality professional coaching institutions. The funds are provided on per student cost basis.

Table: 4
Physical Achievements under this Scheme
Name of the Scheme
Coaching for Scheduled Tribe

vii)  Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRS): With the objective of providing quality education to the tribal students, it was decided during 1997-98 to utilize a part of the grant under Article 275(I) of the Constitution of India for setting up of 100 Model Residential Schools from Class VI to Class XIII.  Till the end of X plan 100 schools were sanctioned to 22 States, of which 99 are reported to be functional.

viii)            Other Schemes of Ministry of Tribal Affairs for STs:
·                     Scheme for assistance to State Tribal Finance and Development Corporation (STEDCs)
·                     Scheme of Top Class Education – in 2010-11, there were 261 students, of which 49 were female beneficiaries.
·                     Rajiv Gandhi National Fellowship Scheme – in 2010-11, 3065 students were supported
·                     Scheme of Hostels for ST students - 11248 seats during 2010-11; 145 Hostels for girls.
·                     Ashram Schools in TSP Areas - 6025 seats during 2010-11;  29 schools for girls.
·                     Post Matric Scholarship - 15.46 lakh;  447475 female beneficiaries
·                     Upgradation of Merit – 329 students
·                     National Overseas Scholarship for ST Students.

ix)    Others Programmes under Central Social Welfare Board (CSWB): The Central Social Welfare Board under the Ministry of Women and Child Development is also implementing ‘Condensed Courses of Education for Women and Children and Vocational Training’ programme, which target adolescent girls and women above the age of 15 years from economically weaker sections of the society with special attention to girls and women from Scheduled Tribes, minority communities and other disadvantaged sections of the society.  CSWB has 5 major women related programmes.  Details of ST beneficiaries covered under these programmes are given below:

Year wise and programme wise status of benefits given under Scheduled Tribe


Total No. of Beneficiaries
No. of ST Beneficiaries
Total No. of Beneficiaries
No. of ST Beneficiaries
Total No. of Beneficiaries
No. of ST Beneficiaries
Total No. of Beneficiaries
No. of ST Beneficiaries
Family Counseling Centres
Short Stay Homes
Awareness Generation Programme
Condensed Courses
Rajiv Gandhi National Creche Scheme



The health and nutritional status of women and that of children are closely linked and while looking for  factors affecting  infants and children, the analysis is incomplete unless the health of women is looked into as well and vice-versa.

The available data on various health determinates for women and children such as teenage pregnancy and early motherhood, infant and child mortality, anemia & malnutrition etc. reveals that STs, in general, are unfavourably placed as compared to All India aggregates. This is based on the data from the National Family Health Survey, which is coordinated by the International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS) under the aegis of the Government of India on a periodic basis.
Although the NFHS – 2 (1998-99) and NFHS - 3 (2005-06) brought out data on health indicators separately for Scheduled Tribes, disaggregated data for Scheduled Tribe women and children is not available.
However, given that almost all of the health indicators relate to women and children, the available data, as detailed below, provides a clear picture of the status of ST women and children on determinates of fertility, infant and child mortality, child health as compared with all India aggregates. The data in Table 6 below shows that in respect of almost all the parameters, the gap between ST women and all-India aggregates has declined. In fact, the Neonatal mortality rate in respect of STs has improved and is better than the national average.

Table: 6

Health & Nutrition Indicators

NFHS-2 (1998-99)

NFHS-3 (2005-06)
Nutritional Status of Children

1.       4.
Prevalence of Anaemia in children (6-59 months)
Weight-for-Age (under-five) (%)

 below -3 SD
17.6 (18.0)

 below -2 SD
43 (47.0)

Vaccination Coverage

Percentage of children (12-23 months) who received all basic vaccination
Percentage of children (12-23 months) who received no vaccination
Infant and Child Mortality

Neonatal mortality rate
Post neonatal mortality rate
Infant mortality rate
Under-five mortality rate
Teenage Pregnancy and Motherhood

Percentage of women (15-19 years) who have had a live birth
Total fertility rate
Percentage of women (15-19 years) who had sexual intercourse before the age of 15 years
Nutritional Status of Women

Percentage of women with BMI <18.5 or thin
Anaemia in women (15-49 years)

Existing Legislations and Policies   
The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare is implementing the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971 (MTP Act) and the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act, 1994 (PCPNDT Act), which, taken together, prohibit sex selective determination and abortions and regulate the conditions for medical termination of pregnancy. No specific information on implementation of the above-mentioned laws with regard to ST women has been provided.

Schemes and Programmes
A.        Schemes and Programmes of Ministry of Health & Family Welfare

The schemes/programmes being implemented by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MOHFW) generally cater to all segments/people of the society including scheduled tribe women and children.

i)        National Rural Health Mission (NRHM): In order to provide effective healthcare to the rural population throughout the country with special focus on 18 States with poor health indicators and weak health infrastructure, the Government has launched the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) in April, 2005. The Mission adopts a synergistic approach by relating health to determinants of good health. Its objective is to provide accessible, affordable, accountable and reliable health care especially to the poor and vulnerable sections of the population including SCs & STs. NRHM also envisages effective integration of health concerns through decentralized management at district, with determinants of health like sanitation and hygiene, nutrition, safe drinking water, gender and social concerns.

Although not meant specifically for ST women, special mention must be made of ‘Janani Suraksha Yojana’ (JSY), which is a safe motherhood intervention under the overall umbrella of National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) to promote institutional delivery among the poor pregnant women to reduce MMR and IMR. The scheme provides cash assistance to pregnant women for delivering in central or State run PHC/CHC/FRU/general wards of District, State Hospital or accredited private medical institutions. Not only this, all BPL pregnant women aged 19 years and above, who deliver at home are also entitled for cash assistance of Rs.500/- per delivery, up to two live births.

Although there is regular reporting and availability of data on home and institutional delivery under JSY, there is no disaggregated data for SC and ST women under the scheme. 

ii)      Other Centrally Sponsored Schemes: Several other health programmes and disease control programmes have also been initiated for controlling AIDS, Cancer, Mental Health, Tobacco Control etc.  These programmes can be accessed by all, including Scheduled Tribes. The details of these schemes are at Annexure-V. 

 B.             Schemes and Programmes of Ministry of Women and Child Development

i)        Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme: This is a centrally sponsored scheme which aims at holistic development of children below 6 years of age. It also covers pregnant women & lactating mothers. The services provided under ICDS include supplementary nutrition, immunisation, health check-up, referral Services, pre-school non-formal education and health & nutrition education.  

The Scheme envisages inter-sectoral convergence with line Ministries, primarily among them being the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Three out of the six services under ICDS Scheme viz, Immunisation, Health Check-up and Referral services are related to health, which are delivered through Health Ministry’s Reproductive and Child Health (RCH) Programme.

The ICDS Scheme is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme and is open to all including SC/ST and Minorities. In the selection of projects under the Scheme in rural areas, primary consideration is, inter-alia, given to areas predominantly inhabited by tribes, particularly backward tribes. While undertaking expansion of ICDS, the States/UTs were also requested to undertake micro-level survey having regard to predominantly SC/ST/Minority Habitations while furnishing specific requirement of additional projects, AWCs and Mini-AWCs. Further, for location of AWCs, population norms for tribal project have been relaxed.  One AWC is sanctioned for habitation having 300-800 population and one Mini-AWC is sanctioned for habitation with 150-300 population.

At present, GOI has sanctioned 1066 tribal ICDS projects out of 7066 approved projects. The total number of AWCs and Mini-AWCs in tribal ICDS projects is 175263 and 19857 respectively. As on 31.3.2010, there were a total of 17675 ST beneficiaries (i.e. 12.19%) under the ICDS.

ii)      Rajiv Gandhi Scheme for Empowerment of Adolescent Girls SABLA: In November, 2010, the Government launched the Rajiv Gandhi Scheme for Empowerment of Adolescent Girls - SABLA in 200 districts across the country using the ICDS platform.  This Scheme is aimed at empowering adolescent girls in the 11-18 age group by improving their nutrition and health status and upgrading various skills - life skills, home skills and vocational training.  It is aimed at equipping the girls on family welfare, health, hygiene etc. and also imparting information and guidance on existing public services. The Scheme will be piloted initially in 200 districts across the country. Anganwadi Centre will be the focal point for delivery of services.

iii)    Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana (IGMSY): This conditional cash transfer Scheme covers Pregnant & Lactating (P&L) women, keeping in view the need for giving maternity benefit to them so as to compensate partly for their wage loss and at the same time for fulfillment of conditions essential for ensuring safe delivery and promotion of Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) practices. The Scheme is being   implemented from 2010-11 in 52 pilot districts across the country, to begin with. The scheme will use the ICDS platform and cover approximately 14 lakh women in the initial years.

iv)    Other Initiatives:
·         Introduction of New WHO Child Growth Standards in ICDS: The new WHO standards, being introduced in ICDS, prescribe how children should grow with optimal nutrition and health care. These standards are available for both girls and boys, below five years for Weight-for-age, Weight-for-height, BMI-for-age and for six motor development indicators. With these new standards, parents, communities, child care workers, programme managers, health and care advocates will know when the nutrition and care needs of children are being compromised. The use of this tool enables them to take timely corrective action at different levels.

·         Mother and Child Protection Card: A joint Mother and Child Protection Card (MCP) has been devised in consultation with the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare for wider distribution among all beneficiaries of ICDS. This card will provide useful information on growth monitoring of children and is a significant step towards convergence with Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.


1.      Economic Empowerment Initiatives


According to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) India Report 2007 on Human Poverty and Socially Disadvantaged Groups in India, the Human Development Index (HDI) for Scheduled Tribe at the all India level is estimated at 0.270, which is lower than the HDI of SCs and non SC/ST for period 1980-2000.  The Human Poverty Index (HPI) for STs is estimated at 47.79, which was higher than SC and non SC/ST for the period 1900-2000.  The incidence of poverty among STs continued to be high at 47.30% in rural areas and 39.9% in urban areas as per the poverty line estimates in 2004-05.  Women from such households tend to be more vulnerable often bearing the greater burden of poverty.

Since most of the tribal habitations are located in isolated villages and hamlets coinciding with forest areas, there are natural hurdles in their ability to access critical infrastructure facilities like health, education, drinking water, roads and communication.  Consequently most of their economic activities centre around terrace/shifting cultivation, pastoral and nomadic herding.  In fact 81.56% of ST worker are engaged in primary sector either as cultivators (44.71%) or as agriculture labourers (36.85%).

Existing Policy and Legislations
It is ironic that economically backward Scheduled Tribes occupy 60-70% of rich land endowed with minerals and other natural resources.  However, developmental projects have led to the displacement of tribals – an estimated 10 million tribals are believed to have been affected by displacement.  The Government had in 2007 laid down the National Rehabilitation and Resettlement Policy with following objectives:
·         Minimize displacement and promote least displacement alternative.
·         Ensure adequate rehabilitation alternatives with participation of Project Affected Families (PAF).
·         Create obligation on the state to protect weaker sections particularly SCs/STs.
·         Integrate rehabilitation concerns into planning and implementation.

Majority of STs depend on Minor Forest Produce (MFP), Cottage and Small Industry and Horticulture for their livelihood.  Therefore, efforts have been aimed at promoting horticulture, animal husbandry, dairy farming, sericulture etc. by extending necessary technology, credit, training and marketing infrastructure to ensure remunerative prices.

Schemes and Programmes

A.    Schemes and Programmes of National Scheduled Tribes Finance and Development Corporation (NSTFDC)

NSTFDC was set up in April, 2001 to fund the economic development of STs on sustainable basis by providing finance at concessional rate of interest for promoting income generation activities and providing marketing support assistance.

Some Strategic Initiatives taken by NSTFDC:
Ø      Introducing exclusive scheme for Scheduled Tribe Women at a highly concessional  rate of  interest (4% p.a.)
Ø      Allowing rebate on interest for timely repayment of loan by the SCAs to NSTFDC.
Ø      Introducing of Micro Credit Scheme for Self Help Groups for wider reach and raising quantum of assistance under the scheme.
Ø      Printing of NSTFDC guidelines in regional languages for the convenience of target group.
Ø      NSTFDC has prepared Model Project Profiles for 100 numbers of potential income generating activities relevant to the target group.
Ø      Sharing of loss NSTFDC & SCAs [50:50], in case of death of beneficiary(ies).
Ø      Sharing of loss by NSTFDC with the SCA(s) on account of unpaid interest on auctioned project asset(s) and not charging of further interest on outstanding from the date of auction.

Various schemes for undertaking Income Generating activities have been introduced, such as, Term Loan Scheme, Scheme for Self Help Groups (SHGs), Micro Credit Scheme, Bridge Loan Scheme and Adivasi  Mahila Sashaktikaran Yojana (AMSY).

Under the AMSY scheme, eligible Scheduled Tribe Women are provided Term Loan up-to 90% for scheme(s)/ project(s) costing up-to Rs.50000/- per unit/ profit centre at concessional rate of interest. NSTFDC’s sanctioned Rs.1,02,496.85 lakhs under Income Generating Activities since 10th April, 2001 to 31st March, 2011, for 3,62,681 beneficiaries. Further, sanction of Rs.81,000 lakhs were made to assist 21,48,530 beneficiaries under Marketing Support Assistance since inception up to 31.03.2011.

B.     Schemes and Programmes of Ministry of Rural Development

Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act-2005 (MGNREGA)          
Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act-2005 (MGNREGA) seeks enhancement of livelihood security of the households in rural areas of the country by providing at least one hundred days of guaranteed wage employment in every financial year to every household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work. It is being implemented in all areas including the tribal regions. The scheme mandates that at least 30 per cent beneficiaries are to be women. Latest data relating to implementation of the Scheme shows that close to 50 per cent of the total beneficiaries are women.
Physical achievements during the last four years from 2007-08 to 2010-11 under scheme are as under:
Table: 8
 (In crore)
Total Employment generated

Total Employment Generated for STs.
% of Employment Generated for  STs.
Total Employment Generated for Women
% of Employment Generated for Women

Swarnjayanti Gram Swarojgar Yojana (SGSY) / National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM)
The Swarnjayanti Gram Swarojgar Yojana (SGSY) is designed as a holistic self employment scheme aimed at providing sustainable income to rural BPL families through income generating assets/economic activities by organization of the rural poor (BPL) into Self-Help Groups (SHGs) through social mobilization, capacity building & training, provision of revolving fund, making available credit and subsidy, technology, infrastructure & marketing. While implementing the scheme, thrust is on empowerment of the vulnerable sections of the society, i.e. 50% for SC/STs, 40% for women, 15% for minorities and 3% for disabled persons.

The Ministry of Rural Development has restructured the Swarnjayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana (SGSY) as National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM).  Physical Achievements during the four years from 2007-08 to 2010-11 under scheme are as under:        
Table: 9
 (In Nos.)
Total Swarozgaris assisted

Total  STs. Swarozgaris assisted
%of STs Swarozgaris assisted
Total  Women Swarozgaris assisted
%of Women Swarozgaris assisted

In the current financial year 2011-12, an amount of Rs. 611.94 crore under SGSY has been earmarked under the Tribal Sub-Plan (TSP).
Indira Awaas Yojana (IAY)
Indira Awaas Yojana is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme being implemented in the rural areas of the States/UTs with the objective to provide financial assistance to BPL rural households for construction of houses. Inclusive development in the tribal regions of the country is one of the main objectives of the Scheme. As per the Scheme guidelines, 60% of the funds are to be utilized for the benefit of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.  Further, the dwelling units are invariably allotted in the name of female member of the beneficiary household.  Alternatively, the same can be allotted in the name of both husband and wife.  Only in case there is no eligible female member in the family the house is allotted in the name of an eligible male member.

The Physical achievement during the last four years from 2007-08 to 2010-11 under scheme are as under:
Table: 10
 (In Nos.)
 Houses allotted
Houses completed for the STs
House completed for the Women
% of House for the STs
%of House for the Women

In the current financial year 2011-12, an amount of Rs. 2470.00 crore under IAY has been earmarked under the Tribal Sub-Plan (TSP).

C.    Schemes and Programmes of Ministry of Women and Child Development

Support to Training & Employment Programme for Women (STEP)
The Support to Training & Employment Programme for Women (STEP) was launched as a Central Sector Scheme in 1986-87.  The endeavor is mobilize women in small viable groups so that they can thrive on a self-sustaining basis in the market place with minimal Government support and intervention.  The programme seeks to cover poor or asset less marginalized women with a special focus on SC/ST households, women headed households and BPL families.

STEP advocates the following integrated package of inputs aiming at the self-reliance and empowerment of women by enhancing their productivity and enabling them to take up income generation activities:

·         Up gradation of skills through training
·         Better and sustainable employment opportunities
·         Backward and forward linkages
·         Facilitation of organization of women
·         Support services with the coverage of Health Check-ups, Referral Services, Mobile crèches and Education facilities

At present, social-category wise data under the programme is not maintained although the same has now been proposed under the Programme Implementation Manual.

Working Women’s Hostel (WWH)
With the progressive change in the socio-economic fabric of the country more and more women are leaving their homes in search of employment in big cities as well as urban and rural industrial clusters.  One of the main difficulties faced by such women is lack of safe and conveniently located accommodation.  Recognizing this, the Working Women’s Hostel (WWH) Scheme was introduced in 1972-73.  The Scheme envisages grant-in-aid for construction of new/expansion of existing buildings for providing hostel facilities to working women, with day care facility for their children, wherever possible, in urban, semi urban, or even rural areas where employment opportunity for women exist.

Benefits under the Scheme can be availed by all working women without any distinction with respect to caste, religion, marital status etc.  Particular preference may be given to women from disadvantaged sections of the society.  The scheme has been revised recently.  At present, social category-wise date is not available.
Rashtriya Mahila Kosh (RMK)
The RMK was set up against the backdrop of the limitations in addressing the credit needs of poor women in the country, especially those in the rural and in the unorganized sectors.  The main objective of RMK is to provide micro-credit support to poor women for various livelihood support and income generating activities at concessional terms in a very client-friendly atmosphere, through eligible govt. and non-government intermediary organizations such as NGOs, Women Development Corporations, Co-operative Societies (with more than 1/3rd women members), Mahila Urban Co-op Banks, etc. Besides micro-credit, RMK is undertaking capacity building and marketing support initiatives.

Table: 11
Performance during the last three years:
(Rs. in crore)
Loan Sanction             
Loan Disbursed                      
No. of beneficiaries

Since inception to 31.3.2011

Since its inception in March, 1993 to March, 2011, RMK has sanctioned micro-credit to 68,700 SHGs from 27 states benefiting 6,87,512 women. The category-wise coverage is as under:

Table: 12
30 %
5 %
31 %
7 %
27 %
       100 %

D.    Schemes and Programmes of Ministry of MSME

Support for Entrepreneurial and Managerial Development:
DC(MSME) organizes a number of training programmes through its field institutes spread throughout the country. These include Entrepreneurship Skill Development Programme (ESDPs), Business Skill Development Programme (BSDP), Management Development Programmes (MDPs) and Industrial Motivation Campaigns (IMCs) to train the potential and existing entrepreneurs in improving their techno/managerial skills. Tailor made training for SCs/STs, OBC, Women, Minorities and other weaker sections are also conducted in rural/less developed areas. 20% of total target of ESDPs/EDPs are conducted exclusively for SCs/STs, Women and Physically Challenged persons with a stipend of Rs. 500/- per month per candidate. No fee is charged from SCs/STs, women and physically challenged.

E.     Schemes of Ministry of Tribal Affaires

Vocational Training Centres in Tribal Areas
The aim of this Scheme is to upgrade the skills of ST youth in various traditional and modern vocations to enable them to gain suitable employment or become self-employed.  The Scheme is exclusively for the benefit of the Scheduled Tribes as well as PTGs and can be taken up anywhere in the country. But, priority will be given to remote tribal areas, inhabited by PTGs and to areas affected   by extremist   activities.

Table: 15
Physical Achievements under this Scheme
Name of the Scheme
Vocational Training Centre

2.      Agriculture and Related Areas

Women constitute about 40% of the agricultural workforce, with approximately 85% of all rural female workers being engaged in agriculture and related sectors.  They work as agricultural labourers, as farmers, co-farmers and as managers of farms.

Hence, given the increasing feminization of agricultural work, there is a need to specifically focus on the issues and challenges faced by women belonging to SC communities and assess the existing Government interventions in this regard.

Existing Policies and Legislations
The National Agriculture Policy, 2000, accorded high priority to recognition and mainstreaming of women’s role in agriculture and highlighted incorporation of ‘gender issues’ in the agricultural development agenda.  Appropriate structural, functional & institutional measures are envisaged which seek to empower women and build their capacities and improve their access to inputs, technologies and other farming resources.

The National Policy for Farmers, 2007, announced by the Government envisages the following measures aimed at empowerment of women:
i)        Asset reforms under land, water and live stock for an equitable share to women farmers.
ii)      Better access to inputs and services like science and technology, implements, credit and support services like crèches, child care centres, nutrition, health and training.
iii)    Encouragement of women to participate in group activities aimed at achieving economies of scale through farming groups.
iv)    Involvement of women in conservation and development of bio-resources.

Schemes and Programmes

A.    Schemes and Programmes of Department of Agriculture and Cooperation

The important programmatic interventions for women’s empowerment including provision for SC/ST and women farmers under the schemes/ programmes of DAC are as under. 16% and 8% of the Plan allocation are earmarked for SC and ST farmers/beneficiaries under Scheduled Caste sub Plan (SCSP) and Tribal Sub Plan (TSP) respectively and at least 30% of the allocation for women beneficiaries/farmers under Women Component Plan (WCP).

Under the National Horticulture Mission, Micro Irrigation and Technology Mission of Integrated Development of Horticulture in North Eastern States, Sikkim, Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand (TMNE)- During the financial year 2010 – 2011, as per the norms suggested and directives issued by the Planning Commission/Ministry of Finance, under Women Component Plan (WCP), 30% of the allocation has been earmarked for women beneficiaries/farmers. During 2010-11 (up to January, 2011) 81,946 women entrepreneurs have been trained on different aspects of Horticulture and 9087 Women SHGs have been established.

Agriculture Extension
The Centrally Sponsored Scheme “Support to State Extension Programmes for Extension Reforms” (ATMA Scheme) is under implementation in 598 districts of 28 States and 3 UTs.  A total number of 5,07,884 farm women have participated in the farmer oriented activities like exposure visit, training, demonstrations and Kisan Melas. 

Under “Mass Media Support to Agricultural Extension”, special programmes are being produced and broadcast by Doordarshan and All India Radio (AIR)in areas in which women are pre-dominantly involved such as Honey-bee keeping, Seed treatment, Mushroom cultivation, kitchen-gardening, post-harvest management of fruits and vegetables, cultivation of aromatic and medicinal plants, gender friendly tools, etc.

Under the Central Sector Scheme “Establishment of Agri-Clinic & Agri-Business” (ACABC), During 2010-11, 225 women agriculture graduates have been trained, of whom 57 trained graduates have set up their agriculture ventures.  The subsidy component has been simplified by changing it to composite subsidy (44% of the project cost for NE & Hill States, SC/ST, Women and 36% of the project cost for the others).

Under the ‘National Programme for Organic Farming’ (NPOF), 25% seats have been reserved for training of women farmers in organic farming.

Under the revised scheme “Macro Management for Agriculture” States have been instructed to allocate funds for SC/ST Women Farmers in proportion to their population and to utilize the 10% to 20% provided under ‘new initiatives’ for implementing activities for gender empowerment, development of risk prone / backward /tribal areas and to include schemes which encourage group formation among women / SC/ST Farmers in the work plan.

National Watershed Development Project for Rainfed Areas
Under the Scheme, since 2007-08, about 24,348 Women Self Help Groups & 18,075 User Groups of women have been formed in the project areas.

National Food Security Mission (NFSM)
Under NFSM, the States have been advised that benefit to the tune of 33% of the allocation should flow to women. 

Promotion and Strengthening of Agricultural Mechanization through Training, Testing and Demonstration
To reduce drudgery of women farmers 30 gender friendly tools/ equipments have been developed by Research & Development Organization for use in different farm operations. These equipments are being distributed amongst women farmers to popularize them. During 2010-2011 around 2925 gender friendly tools/equipments have been distributed amongst farm women. 
National Cooperative Union of India
NCUI is now running 4 exclusive women development projects located at Shimoga (Karnataka), Berhampur (Orissa), Imphal (Manipur) and Bhopal (MP) under the Special Scheme of Intensification of Cooperative Education in the cooperatively under developed states.

National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC)
NCDC encourages women’s cooperatives to avail assistance under its various schemes.  Prominent among the women cooperatives which have so far been assisted by the NCDC include sectors like textiles (spinning, handloom, power loom), poultry, fisheries, plantation crops, service cooperatives and integrated cooperative development projects etc.

3.      Tribal Women and Forest Rights
The Scheduled Tribes are primarily forest dependent communities and depend almost entirely for their livelihood needs on forest.  Forests and forest resources, primarily minor forest products (MFP), play an important role in the viability and survival of tribal households in India, because of the importance of forests in their social, cultural and economic context. Collecting and processing of MFPs are economically significant activities for forest dependent tribals. Some of the key activities under this include; collection of mahua flowers (Madhuca indica), tendu leaves (Diospyros melanoxylon) used in making indigenous cigarettes (or bidi); collection of mushrooms, mahua seeds, tamarind, medicinal plants and herbs, etc. However  low, the income from the collection of MFPs is a very important contribution to the overall economy of a tribal household. MFPs not only play an important role in meeting the subsistence needs but also in poverty alleviation of tribals.
It is important to note that the primary players in the collection, processing, and marketing of MFPs are women who gather the bulk of forest produce, including food and fuel-related forest products. Throughout India, collection of MFPs generates part time employment for a majority of the tribal women. Recognizing this importance of MFPs is critical to crafting tribal sensitive forest policies. More importantly, however, any community-based strategy to use and manage forests must consider the gender issue in order to have a lasting impact. At the same time, suitable schemes needs to be undertaken for regeneration of forest to enhance minor forest produce resource base which contribute towards sustenance and livelihood needs of tribals.
Another important issue in the context of forest rights is the recognition of entitlement of tribals to forest lands. Although tribals have been residing in forests for generations, their rights as traditional forest dwellers went unrecognized for long. Now when the Union Government has recognized these rights, it is important that proper implementation is ensured through effective monitoring. Further, it is also necessary that women are recognized as a major stakeholder on these lands and the pattas/titles being provided are in joint names.

Existing Policies and Legislations
In 2006, the Government of India enacted “The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act 2006. A copy of the Act is placed at Annexure-VI. This Act addresses the long standing insecurity of tenurial and access rights of forest dwelling Scheduled Tribes and other traditional forest dwellers who were forced to relocate their dwelling due to State development interventions. This Act is meant for redressing the historical injustice done to forest dwelling Scheduled Tribes and other traditional forest dwellers. Section 4(4) of this Act provides that right conferred under this Act shall be registered jointly in the name of both the spouses in case of married persons. Section 3(1) of the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Rules, 2007 provides that the Forest Rights Committee at the Gram Panchayat level shall have not less than one third female members. Till 30-04-2011, 31,09,387 claims have been received and 26,34,782 claims have been disposed/settled.11,69,379 titles have been distributed and 30,790 titles are ready for distribution. Titles for approximately 35 lakh acre land have been distributed.
The Government of India also formulated a Draft National Tribal Policy in 2006 mainly relating to alienation of tribal land, tribal- forest interface; conservation and development of particularly vulnerable tribal groups or the Primitive Tribal Group and other important issues concerning tribals like enhancement of Human Development Index, Gender Equity, etc.

Schemes and Programmes of Ministry of Tribal Affairs
Market Development of Tribal Products/Produce
The Ministry extends Grants in Aid to the Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India Ltd (TRIFED), under the Center Sector Scheme “Market Development of Tribal Products/Produce”. These fund are utilized for undertaking activities such as, retail marketing development; MFP marketing development; vocational training & capacity building of ST Artisans and MFP gatherers; and research & development/ Intellectual Property Rights.

Grants in Aid to State Tribal Development Cooperative Corporations (STDCCs) etc. for Minor Forest Produce (MFP) Operations
Under the scheme, grants are extended to STDCCs, etc through their respective State Governments for undertaking MFP operations like procurement, processing, construction of warehouses, etc.


Protection from Atrocities

One of the areas that continue to require serious attention is the issue of violence perpetrated on women and children.  It is one of the most pervasive forms of human rights violation, be it rape, dowry and domestic violence; trafficking and sexual exploitation; and discrimination of all forms to which women are subjected to. 
The NCRB data, shows that there has been a decrease in crimes reported against all STs in 2009 as compared to 2008. The incidence of rape of women belonging to ST communities has also witnessed a corresponding decline of about 0.3% in 2009 over 2008.
However, with increasing extremism in some of the tribal dominated areas, there are concerns about other forms of violence that the ST women and children may face. Legal empowerment of ST women and children cannot be achieved unless the legislations enacted in the recent years are effectively implemented. Sensitization of the law enforcement agencies and the judiciary, adequate infrastructural support and awareness building from the grassroots level is equally crucial.
Table: 16
Existing Legislations and Policies
The Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment (MoSJE) administers two legislations viz. the Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955, and the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, which provide for offences of the practice of untouchability and atrocities against members of SCs and STs, by persons not belonging to SCs and STs, respectively.  Section 3 (1) (xi) and (xii) of the PoA Act specifically relates to offences of atrocities against SC/ST women and provides that whoever, not being a member of the SC and ST:

“(xi) assaults or uses force to any woman belonging to a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe with intent to dishonor or outrage her modesty;

              (xii) being in a position to dominate the will of a women belonging to a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe and uses that position to exploit her sexually to which she would not have other-wise agreed

              shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than six months but which may extend to five years and with fine”

In addition, the existing legislations on violence against women such as the IPC provisions on rape (Section 375 to 376D), cruelty to married woman (Section 498A), dowry death (Section 304B), outraging and insulting the modesty of a woman (Sections 354 and 509), importation of girls (Section 366A), Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 and Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 can also be used by SC women and children.  The Protection of Women against Sexual Harassment Bill, 2010 of the Ministry of Women & Child Development has recently been introduced in the Lok Sabha, which seeks to cover women working both in the organised and unorganised sectors as well as those who enter the workplace as clients, apprentices, students, patients etc. 

The Ministry of Home Affairs has issued an ‘Advisory on Crime against Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes’ in April, 2010 which is at Annexure-VII.

Schemes and Programmes of Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment

For effective implementation of the Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955 and the SCs & STs (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, the Government has released Rs. 68.7 crores during 2009-10 and Rs. 57.5 crores during 2010-11 (as on 6.1.2011) as central assistance to the State Governments/UT Administrations.  The assistance is provided mainly for:

·         State level Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Protection Cells;
·         Special Police Stations;
·         Exclusive Special Courts;
·         Awareness generation;
·         Incentive for inter-caste marriages;
·         Relief to atrocity victims


Political Empowerment

A key aim of good governance is the promotion of people’s participation in decision-making. This includes the participation of women in governance at all levels. Gender mainstreaming of decision-making institutions is essential in order to ensure that women’s issues and their concerns are included within the political discourse.
The 73rd and 74th amendments to the Constitution of India provided 33% reservation for women in rural and urban local bodies. This has enabled women to engage in the mainstream discourse of decision-making and development. It also applies to the seats and offices reserved for candidates belonging to Scheduled Tribes.

A separate Panchayat (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 was passed to increase women’s participation from Scheduled Tribes in Schedule V areas.  Besides in order to further promote women’s political empowerment and to make PRIs inclusive institutions, a Constitutional Amendment Bill is also under active consideration of the Government, which aims at enhancing reservation for women in Panchayats at all the three tiers of PRIs from one third to 50% in the total number of seats.

The last 15 years of Panchayati Raj in India have seen women go from strength in terms of their political participation. Today there are an estimated 1 million elected women representatives in grassroots politics in India. The basic statistics on Panchayat and Elected Representative shows that Panchayats in States with large tribal population have huge level of participation of women perhaps mainly attributable to the 73rd and 74th Amendment to the Constitution.  Example of Madhya Pradesh (1,34,368), Maharastra (74,620), Rajasthan (40,0044) Uttar Pradesh (2,73,229), Chhattisgarh (54,145) and Bihar (58,044) show that ST women have come into the political processes.

However, a majority of the women who have entered political decision-making through the Constitutional amendments continue to be hampered by capacity and knowledge shortfalls and institutional, political and societal constraints. Many EWRs are first timers and lack technical knowledge and administrative skills. Their own lack of self-confidence makes it difficult for the EWRs to maneuver an unfriendly bureaucratic and administrative landscape leading them to exercise their powers only tentatively. Family based patriarchy; societal negatives and lack of political awareness also make them unable to confidently assert their positive instincts.

Existing Policies and Legislations
The provision of Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act 1996 (PESA) extends Part IX of the Constitution with certain modifications and exceptions, to the Schedule V areas of 9 States viz. Andhra Pradesh (AP), Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh (HP), Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh (MP), Maharashtra, Orissa and Rajasthan.

The Gram Sabhas under PESA are deemed to be ‘competent’ to safeguard and preserve the traditions of their people, community resources and customary mode of dispute resolution. The Gram Sabhas further have:
(a)        Mandatory executive functions to approve plans of the Village Panchayats, identify   beneficiaries for schemes, issue certificates of utilization of funds,
(b)        Right to mandatory consultation in matters of land acquisition, resettlement and rehabilitation, and prospecting licenses/mining leases for minor minerals,
(c)        Power to prevent alienation of land and restore alienated land;
(d)       Power to regulate and restrict sale/consumption of liquor;
(e)        Power to manage village markets, control money lending to STs;
(f)        Ownership of minor forest produce;
(g)        Power to control institutions and functionaries in all social sectors;
(h)        Power to control local plans and resources for such plans including TSP, etc.

In spite of the critical importance of implementing PESA in the Schedule V areas, there have been many difficulties in implementation of PESA. Panchayats being a ‘State Subject’, States are yet to frame appropriate rules under PESA, and therefore the PESA have not been implemented in letter and spirit. Besides, some State and Central subject laws relating to mines and minerals, forests, land acquisition etc. are not PESA compliant.  In spite of repeated urging by MoPR, appropriate action in this regard has not been taken. There is also need to make the Gram Sabhas more active and build capacities of Gram Sabha, Panchayat Representatives and officials.

For effective implementation of PESA, MoPR has taken following initiatives:
·         Three Sub-Committees: MoPR constituted three sub-committees, namely the B. D. Sharma sub-committee on ‘Model Guidelines to vest Gram Sabhas with Powers as envisaged in PESA’; the Raghav Chandra sub-committee on ‘Land Alienation, Displacement, Rehabilitation & Resettlement’ and the A.K. Sharma sub-committee on ‘Minor Forest Produce’. Report and recommendations of all the sub-committees have been forwarded to the PESA States
·         PESA Model Rules: Draft Model Rules for PESA were prepared by the Ministry and circulated to all PESA States for framing of rules for effective implementation of PESA.
·         Guidelines of PESA: Guidelines on implementation of PESA have been issued to all nine Fifth Schedule States.
·         Amendment to PESA Act: A Cabinet note on Amendment to PESA to remove infirmities has been circulated to all PESA States and concerned Union Ministries for comments.
·         Visits and meetings in PESA States: Field visits have been made PESA States. Meetings were held with officials of State Departments concerned with PESA implementation viz. Panchayati Raj, Revenue, Excise, Environment and Forest and Mining, and suggestions were made to bring relevant amendments in provisions, where required, make rules and take steps towards implementation.
·         Committee on Minor Forest Produce (MFP): A Committee has been formed to look into the aspects of Minimum Support Price (MSP), value addition and marketing MFP of in Fifth Schedule Areas. The Committee has submitted its Report.
·         Workshop on PESA: A workshop was held at Mohanlal Sukhadia Upniversity, Udaipur on 7.1.2011 to discuss a future agenda for the implementation of PESA in 4 States viz. Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Himachal Pradesh. The workshop’s participants included elected Panchayat members, officials, representatives of NGOs, activists and academics. The Workshop’s deliberations resulted in several recommendations for better implementation of PESA.
·         Action Research Study: MoPR has commissioned an action research study for preparation of training modules on PESA to the National Institute of Rural Development.
·         Study of State subject laws: MoPR has commissioned a study on compliance of State subject laws with the provisions of PESA.
·         Study of Central laws: MoPR had commissioned a study of a few central laws to suggest amendments to make them compliant with PESA. The study report has been sent to the Central Ministries concerned for necessary action.

MoPR has given the following suggestions to States in its advisory dated 21 May, 2010:
·         Adopt Model PESA Rules circulated by MoPR with suitable modifications so that the field functionaries have a clear framework for implementing PESA.
·         Amend State Panchayati Raj Acts for consonance with PESA.
·         Amend laws, rules and executive instructions on Mines & Minerals, Minor Forest Produce, Excise, Money Lending etc. to make them PESA compliant.
·         Include a prominent section on the implementation of PESA in the Annual Governor’s Report, as mandated in Schedule V.
·         Strengthen administrative machinery in the PESA Areas through filling up all vacancies, creation of separate cadres, hardship allowance, preference in education, accommodation etc.

Schemes and Programmes of Ministry of Panchayati Raj (MoPR)
The MoPR has been implementing the Panchayat Mahila Evam Yuva Shakti Abhiyan (PMEYSA) which aims at building from the substantial representation of women in Panchayats.  It facilitates them to use their collective strength more effectively.  It also provides women with specific kinds of support which goes beyond the usual training given to PRI representatives.  It addresses the lack of technical knowledge, communication and administrative skills to women to fulfill their leadership role.  Disaggregated data on the number of ST women beneficiaries of the above-mentioned schemes has not been reflected.

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