Status of Scheduled Tribes


Scheduled Tribes are recognized as a socially and economically backward class. ST word 1st used in the Constitution of India to remove the tag of backward and bring equally among all the people. Tribes follow different cultures, languages, and other things that make them different from other people.  Tribes mostly lived in the hilly areas and they loved to stay with nature. According to the Census of 1961, from the population, 30 million are tags as a tribe. Totems are considered the rising of the ST groups.

As per the Constitution of India, under Article 342 President will be notified who will be recognized as Tribal groups. According to the recent news, Karbis, which a tribes group has signed an agreement with the center that Bodos which is other Tribes grouped will not be given the status of the Tribes.


Karbi Students’ Association (KSA ) refused the decision of the center that Bodo people will give the status of Tribes and along with other people who live in the Assam hill. According to clause 8 of the 2003 Bodo accord had granted ST which live in the hill area in Assam status to Bodos living in Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao districts. Bodos are more advanced than other tribes so it harms the tribal culture.

How is ST status awarded?

Bodos in Karbi Anglong are not indigenous and harm the cultural life. This will also affect the status enjoyed by the Karbis. Bodos as an ethnic group are want to be the status of ST since 1972. According to the Bodo Peace Accord 2020, which has assured the Bodos as Scheduled Tribe who are living in the Hills areas in Assam.

Benefits of such status

ST is regarded as a backward class so as to lift from the backward class there are certain benefits to those people.  They got tangible benefits such as reservation in school, political representation, and reservation in employment, reservation in academics, special scholarship, and other things. ST have their own culture which makes them different from others. Their various activities are trying to maintain the culture of the country and it makes India a cultural country.

Constitutional basis

Scheduled Tribes are specified by the President under Article 342 with the consultation of the Governor.   Constitution does not specify the criteria on which basis the ST will be selected. But most of the time geographical isolation, various culture, practices, and other things are considered to be recognized as an ST group.

According to the1931 Census, the reports of the First Backward Classes Commission 1955, Kalelkar Advisory Committee, and Revision of SC/ST list by the Lokur Committee. However, more than a half-century later, these broad criteria leave a lot of discretion.

Major scheduled tribes in India

According to the census of 1951, from the total population 5.6% was tribal in the country. As per Census 2011, in India, the number of scheduled tribes are 10, 42, 81,034. Almost it is 8.6% of the total population of India. A total of 9, 38, 19,162 people belonging to scheduled tribes reside in rural areas whereas 1, 04, 61,872 people in urban areas.  The scheduled tribes are 11.3% of the total population of rural areas and 2.8% of urban areas. There are about 550 tribes in India.


ST is regarded as a backward class in society and they are different for cultural practices. There is no such condition on which basis the group of people can be called scheduled Tribes. But the conditions are followed which may be enough, but there must be the criteria. So ST tribes are trying to hold the culture of the country but on the other side, they are socio & economically backward.



Author: Sonali Gorai,
Adamas University/ 3rd Year/ Perusing BALLB(H)

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