Tribals in India suffer due to social exclusion

New Delhi, Nov 20 (ANI): Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari on Friday said that tribal population of India is around 70 million and most of them suffer from geographical and social exclusion, high poverty rates and lack of access to appropriate administrative and judicial mechanisms.

Addressing the "Eighth India Today Chief Ministers Conclave" here today, he said: "These citizens score the lowest in the Human Development Index when compared to other population groups."

He said that low level of infrastructural endowments and growing gap in infrastructure creation in tribal areas, as compared to the rest of India, has further diminished prospects for progress.

The Vice President also said that across the nation gigantic industrial, power, irrigation and mining projects representing the current development paradigm have caused Adivasi protests against land acquisition and displacement.

"An equitable solution to this has to be found. Inclusive growth necessitates aligning our development needs with Adivasi rights and enhancing their Human Development Index," he added.

He further said over 80 per cent of the Scheduled Tribes population works in the primary sector, with 45 per cent of them being cultivators and 37 per cent being agricultural labourers.

"The alienation of tribal land is the single most important cause of pauperisation of tribals, rendering their vulnerable economic situation more precarious. This is sought to be reversed by the Forest Rights Act of 2006," he added.

He said in comparison to other disadvantaged communities and groups, the Adivasis have been less effective in constituting themselves as a Pan-Indian interest group and in articulating their grievances through the formal political system.

"Besides being Scheduled Tribes, many of the Adivasis are also religious and linguistic minorities. It is therefore essential that the protections afforded by the Constitution to the religious and linguistic minorities be fully made available to tribal communities that qualify," he added.

He further hoped that the deliberations of this Conclave would lead to a better understanding of the issues involved and, hopefully, better implementation of the constitutional and legislative provisions for the safeguard of the rights of tribal. (ANI)