This article is missing information about Scheduled Tribes. Please expand the article to include this information. Further details may exist on the talk page. (November 2023)

The Scheduled Castes[1] and Scheduled Tribes are officially designated groups of people and among the most disadvantaged socio-economic groups in India.[2] The terms are recognized in the Constitution of India and the groups are designated in one or other of the categories.[3]: 3  For much of the period of British rule in the Indian subcontinent, they were known as the Depressed Classes.[3]: 2 

Scheduled castes distribution map in India by state and union territory according to 2011 Census.[4] Punjab had the highest percentage of its population as SC (~32%), while Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep had 0%.[4]
Scheduled Tribes distribution map in India by state and union territory according to 2011 Census.[4] Mizoram and Lakshadweep had the highest percentage of its population as ST (~95%), while Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, and Chandigarh had 0%.[4]

In modern literature, the Scheduled Castes are sometimes referred to as Dalit, meaning "broken" or "dispersed" for the untouchables.[5][6] The term having been popularised by the Dalit leader B. R. Ambedkar during the independence struggle.[5] Ambedkar preferred the term Dalit over Gandhi's term Harijan, meaning "people of Hari" (lit.'Man of God').[5] Similarly, the Scheduled Tribes are often referred to as Adivasi (earliest inhabitants), Vanvasi (inhabitants of forest) and Vanyajati (people of forest). However, the Government of India refrains from using derogatory and anthropologically incorrect terms. Instead, it uses the terms Anusuchit Jati and Anusuchit Janjati, as defined by the Constitution of India, for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.[7][8] In September 2018, the government "issued an advisory to all private satellite channels asking them to refrain from using the derogatory nomenclature 'Dalit', though rights groups and intellectuals have come out against any shift from 'Dalit' in popular usage".[9]

The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes comprise about 16.6% and 8.6%, respectively, of India's population (according to the 2011 census).[10][11] The Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950 lists 1,108 castes across 28 states in its First Schedule,[12] and the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950 lists 744 tribes across 22 states in its First Schedule.[13]

Since the independence of India, the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes were given Reservation status, guaranteeing political representation, preference in promotion, quota in universities, free and stipended education, scholarships, banking services, various government schemes and the Constitution lays down the general principles of positive discrimination for SCs and STs.[14][15]: 35, 137 

Definition

Scheduled Castes

As per Article 366 (24) of Constitution of India the Scheduled Castes is defined as;[16]

Such castes, races or tribes or part of or groups within such castes, races or tribes as are deemed under Article 341 to be Scheduled Castes for the purpose of this [Indian] constitution.

Scheduled Tribes

As per Article 366 (25) of Constitution of India the Scheduled Tribes is defined as;[17][16]

Such tribes or tribal communities or part of or groups within such tribes or tribal communities as are deemed under Article 342 to the Scheduled Tribes for the purposes of this [Indian] Constitution.

Identification and procedures

Article 341

(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 castes, races or tribes or parts of or groups within castes, races or tribes which shall for the purposes of this Constitution be deemed to be Scheduled Castes 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 Castes specified in a notification issued under clause of any caste, race or tribe or part of or group within any caste, race or tribe, but save as aforesaid a notification issued under the said clause shall not be varied by any subsequent notification.[16]

Article 342

(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 purpose 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 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.[16]

In a broader sense, the term 'Schedule' refers to the legal listing of specific castes and tribes in the Indian constitution, with the purpose of their upliftment and integration into mainstream society, by providing adequate representation in education and governance.[18] The process of including and excluding communities, castes, or tribes to/from the list of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes adheres to certain silent criteria and procedures established by the Lokur committee in 1965.[19][20] For Scheduled Castes (SCs), the criteria involve extreme social, educational, and economic backwardness resulting from the practice of untouchability.[21] On the other hand, Scheduled Tribes (STs) are identified based on indications of primitive traits, distinctive culture, geographical isolation, shyness of contact with the larger community, and overall backwardness.[21] The scheduling process refers back to the definitions of communities used in the colonial census along with modern anthropological study and is guided by Article 341 and 342. Per the first clause of Article 341 and 342, the list of Scheduled communities is subject to specific state, union territories or districts.[22][23][24]

History

The evolution of the lower caste into the modern-day Scheduled Castes is complex. The caste system as a stratification of classes in India originated about 2,000 years ago, and has been influenced by dynasties and ruling elites, including the Mughal Empire and the British Raj.[25][26] The Hindu concept of Varna historically incorporated occupation-based communities.[25] Some low-caste groups, such as those formerly called untouchables[27] who constitute modern-day Scheduled Castes, were considered outside the Varna system.[28][29]

Since the 1850s, these communities were loosely referred to as Depressed Classes, with the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. The early 20th century saw a flurry of activity in the British authorities assessing the feasibility of responsible self-government for India. The Morley–Minto Reforms Report, Montagu–Chelmsford Reforms Report and the Simon Commission were several initiatives in this context. A highly contested issue in the proposed reforms was the reservation of seats for representation of the Depressed Classes in provincial and central legislatures.[30]

In 1935, the UK Parliament passed the Government of India Act 1935, designed to give Indian provinces greater self-rule and set up a national federal structure. The reservation of seats for the Depressed Classes was incorporated into the act, which came into force in 1937. The Act introduced the term "Scheduled Castes", defining the group as "such castes, parts of groups within castes, which appear to His Majesty in Council to correspond to the classes of persons formerly known as the 'Depressed Classes', as His Majesty in Council may prefer".[3] This discretionary definition was clarified in The Government of India (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1936, which contained a list (or Schedule) of castes throughout the British-administered provinces.[3]

After independence the Constituent Assembly continued the prevailing definition of Scheduled Castes and Tribes, giving (via articles 341 and 342) the president of India and governors of the states a mandate to compile a full listing of castes and tribes (with the power to edit it later, as required). The complete list of castes and tribes was made via two orders: The Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950[31] and The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950,[32] respectively. Furthermore, independent India's quest for inclusivity was incident through the appointment of B. R. Ambedkar as the chair of the drafting committee for the Constitution. Ambedkar was a scheduled caste constitutional lawyer, a member of the low caste.[33]

Government initiative to improve the situation of SCs and STs

The Constitution provides a three-pronged strategy[34] to improve the situation of SCs and STs:

National commissions

To effectively implement the safeguards built into the Constitution and other legislation, the Constitution under Articles 338 and 338A provides for two constitutional commissions: the National Commission for Scheduled Castes,[38] and the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes.[39] The chairpersons of both commissions sit ex officio on the National Human Rights Commission.

Constitutional history

In the original Constitution, Article 338 provided for a special officer (the Commissioner for SCs and STs) responsible for monitoring the implementation of constitutional and legislative safeguards for SCs and STs and reporting to the president. Seventeen regional offices of the Commissioner were established throughout the country.[citation needed]

There was an initiative to replace the Commissioner with a committee in the 48th Amendment to the Constitution, changing Article 338. While the amendment was being debated, the Ministry of Welfare established the first committee for SCs and STs (with the functions of the Commissioner) in August 1978. These functions were modified in September 1987 to include advising the government on broad policy issues and the development levels of SCs and STs. Now it is included in Article 342.[citation needed]

In 1990, Article 338 was amended for the National Commission for SCs and STs with the Constitution (Sixty fifth Amendment) Bill, 1990.[40] The first commission under the 65th Amendment was constituted in March 1992, replacing the Commissioner for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and the commission established by the Ministry of Welfare's Resolution of 1989. In 2003, the Constitution was again amended to divide the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes into two commissions: the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes. Due to the spread of Christianity and Islam among schedule caste communities converted are not protected as castes under the Indian Reservation policy. Hence, these societies usually forge their community certificate as Hindus and practice Christianity or Islam afraid for their loss of reservation.[41]

Scheduled Castes Sub-Plan

The Scheduled Castes Sub-Plan (SCSP) of 1979 mandated a planning process for the social, economic and educational development of Scheduled Castes and improvement in their working and living conditions. It was an umbrella strategy, ensuring the flow of targeted financial and physical benefits from the general sector of development to the Scheduled Castes.[42] It entailed a targeted flow of funds and associated benefits from the annual plan of states and Union Territories (UTs) in at least a proportion to the national SC population. Twenty-seven states and UTs with sizable SC populations are implementing the plan. Although the Scheduled Castes population according to the 2001 Census was 16.66 crores (16.23% of the total population), the allocations made through SCSP have been lower than the proportional population.[43] A strange factor has emerged of extremely lowered fertility of scheduled castes in Kerala, due to land reform, migrating (Kerala Gulf diaspora) and democratization of education.[44]

Demographics

Scheduled Caste population by state

States with population of Scheduled Castes as per 2011 census[45]
State Total population Scheduled Caste population Scheduled Caste (%)
Andhra Pradesh 84,580,777 13,878,078 16.41
Arunachal Pradesh 1,383,727 0 0.00
Assam 31,205,576 2,231,321 7.15
Bihar 104,099,452 16,567,325 15.91
Chhattisgarh 25,545,198 3,274,269 12.82
Goa 1,458,545 25,449 1.74
Gujarat 60,439,692 4,074,447 6.74
Haryana 25,351,462 5,113,615 20.17
Himachal Pradesh 6,864,602 1,729,252 25.19
Jammu & Kashmir 12,541,302 924,991 7.38
Jharkhand 32,988,134 3,985,644 12.08
Karnataka 61,095,297 10,474,992 17.15
Kerala 33,406,061 3,039,573 9.10
Madhya Pradesh 72,626,809 11,342,320 15.62
Maharashtra 112,374,333 13,275,898 11.81
Manipur 2,570,390 97,042 3.78
Meghalaya 2,966,889 17,355 0.58
Mizoram 1,097,206 1,218 0.11
Nagaland 1,978,502 0 0.00
Odisha 41,974,218 7,190,184 17.13
Punjab 27,743,338 8,860,179 31.94
Rajasthan 68,548,437 12,221,593 17.83
Sikkim 610,577 28,275 4.63
Tamil Nadu 72,147,030 14,438,445 20.01
Tripura 3,673,917 654,918 17.83
Uttar Pradesh 199,812,341 41,357,608 20.70
Uttarakhand 10,086,292 1,892,516 18.76
West Bengal 91,276,115 21,463,270 23.51
India 1,210,854,977 201,378,086 16.63

Scheduled Tribe population by state

Percent of scheduled tribes in India by tehsils by census 2011
States with population of Scheduled Tribes as per 2011 census[46]
State Total population Scheduled Tribe population Scheduled Tribe (%)
Andhra Pradesh 84,580,777 5,920,654 7.00
Arunachal Pradesh 1,383,727 951,865 68.79
Assam 31,205,576 3,885,094 12.45
Bihar 104,099,452 1,332,472 1.28
Chhattisgarh 25,545,198 7,821,939 30.62
Goa 1,458,545 148,917 10.21
Gujarat 60,439,692 8,914,854 14.75
Haryana 25,351,462 0 0.00
Himachal Pradesh 6,864,602 391,968 5.71
Jammu & Kashmir 12,541,302 1,492,414 11.90
Jharkhand 32,988,134 8,646,189 26.21
Karnataka 61,095,297 4,246,123 6.95
Kerala 33,406,061 484,387 1.45
Madhya Pradesh 72,626,809 15,316,994 21.09
Maharashtra 112,374,333 10,507,000 9.35
Manipur 2,570,390 903,235 35.14
Meghalaya 2,966,889 2,555,974 86.15
Mizoram 1,097,206 1,036,201 94.44
Nagaland 1,978,502 1,710,612 86.46
Odisha 41,974,218 9,591,108 22.85
Punjab 27,743,338 0 0.00
Rajasthan 68,548,437 9,240,329 13.48
Sikkim 610,577 205,886 33.72
Tamil Nadu 72,147,030 793,617 1.10
Tripura 3,673,917 1,166,836 31.76
Uttar Pradesh 199,812,341 1,138,930 0.57
Uttarakhand 10,086,292 292,502 2.90
West Bengal 91,276,115 5,294,014 5.80
India 1,210,854,977 104,254,613 8.61

See also

References

Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain: Constitution of India.

  1. ^ "Scheduled Caste Welfare – List of Scheduled Castes". Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. Archived from the original on 13 September 2012. Retrieved 16 August 2012.
  2. ^ "Scheduled Castes And Scheduled Tribes". United Nations in India. Archived from the original on 22 November 2021. Retrieved 21 November 2021.
  3. ^ a b c d "Scheduled Communities: A social Development profile of SC/ST's (Bihar, Jharkhand & West Bengal)" (PDF). Planning Commission (India). Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 October 2019. Retrieved 1 October 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d "Census of India 2011, Primary Census Abstract (28 October 2013)" (ppt). Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, Office of the Registrar General & Census Commissioner, Government of India. 23 September 2015. Archived from the original on 23 September 2015.
  5. ^ a b c Roychowdhury, Adrija (5 September 2018). "Why Dalits want to hold on to Dalit, not Harijan, not SC". The Indian Express. Archived from the original on 29 November 2021. Retrieved 29 November 2021.
  6. ^ "Dalit". Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary. Archived from the original on 6 October 2022. Retrieved 6 October 2022.
  7. ^ Bali, Surya (26 October 2018). "We are 'Scheduled Tribes', not 'Adivasis'". Forward Press. Retrieved 5 December 2023.
  8. ^ Dasgupta, Sangeeta (October 2018). "Adivasi studies: From a historian's perspective". History Compass. 16 (10). doi:10.1111/hic3.12486. ISSN 1478-0542.
  9. ^ Union minister: Stick to SC, avoid the term 'Dalit' Archived 22 October 2018 at the Wayback Machine "Union social justice minister Thawarchand Gehlot said media should stick to the constitutional term "Scheduled Castes" while referring to Dalits as there are objections to the term to the term "Dalit" – backing the government order which has significant sections of scheduled caste civil society up in arms." Times of India 5 September 2018.
  10. ^ "2011 Census Primary Census Abstract" (PDF). Censusindia.gov.in. Archived (PDF) from the original on 5 August 2020. Retrieved 1 October 2017.
  11. ^ "Half of India's dalit population lives in 4 states". The Times of India. 2 May 2013. Archived from the original on 11 November 2020. Retrieved 1 October 2017.
  12. ^ "Text of the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950, as amended". Lawmin.nic.in. Archived from the original on 19 June 2009. Retrieved 1 October 2017.
  13. ^ "Text of the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950, as amended". Lawmin.nic.in. Archived from the original on 20 September 2017. Retrieved 1 October 2017.
  14. ^ Kumar, K Shiva (17 February 2020). "Reserved uncertainty or deserved certainty? Reservation debate back in Mysuru". The New Indian Express. Archived from the original on 21 November 2021. Retrieved 29 November 2021.
  15. ^ "THE CONSTITUTION OF INDIA [As on 9th December, 2020]" (PDF). Legislative Department. Archived (PDF) from the original on 26 November 2021. Retrieved 29 November 2021.
  16. ^ a b c d "Chapter- II, Social Constitutional Provisions for Protection and Development of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes" (PDF). ncsc.nic.in.
  17. ^ "Chapter III" (PDF). dopt.gov.in. Archived (PDF) from the original on 5 December 2022. Retrieved 5 December 2022.
  18. ^ "Reservation Is About Adequate Representation, Not Poverty Eradication". The Wire. Retrieved 26 January 2024.
  19. ^ "Office of Registrar-General of India follows 'obsolete' criteria for scheduling of tribes". The Hindu. 11 January 2023. ISSN 0971-751X. Archived from the original on 4 April 2023. Retrieved 20 June 2023.
  20. ^ "Centre Still Employs 'Obsolete' Criteria to Categorise Groups Under ST Lists: Report". The Wire. Retrieved 2 February 2024.
  21. ^ a b "Inclusion Into SC List" (Press release). Press Information Bureau, Government of India. Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment. 24 February 2015. Retrieved 17 June 2023.
  22. ^ "FAQ : National Commission for Scheduled Tribes". ncst.nic.in. Retrieved 17 June 2023.
  23. ^ Bodhi, Sainkupar Ranee; Darokar, Shaileshkumar S. (9 November 2023). "Becoming a Scheduled Tribe in India: The History, Process and Politics of Scheduling". Contemporary Voice of Dalit. doi:10.1177/2455328X231198720. ISSN 2455-328X.
  24. ^ Xaxa, Virginius (May 2014). Report on the high level committee on socio-economic, health and educational status of tribal communities of India (Report). Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Government of India. hdl:2451/36746. Archived from the original on 2 February 2024. Retrieved 2 February 2024.
  25. ^ a b "What is India's caste system?". 20 July 2017. Archived from the original on 4 October 2019. Retrieved 6 April 2019.
  26. ^ Bayly, Susan (July 1999). Caste, Society and Politics in India from the Eighteenth Century to the Modern Age by Susan Bayly. doi:10.1017/CHOL9780521264341. ISBN 9780521264341. Archived from the original on 6 April 2019. Retrieved 6 April 2019. ((cite book)): |website= ignored (help)
  27. ^ Pletcher, Ken; Staff of EB (2010). "Untouchable - social class, India". Encyclopaedia Britannica. Archived from the original on 9 June 2021. Retrieved 25 June 2021.
  28. ^ "Civil rights | society". Encyclopædia Britannica. Archived from the original on 26 March 2019. Retrieved 6 April 2019.
  29. ^ "Jati: The Caste System in India". Asia Society. Archived from the original on 6 April 2019. Retrieved 6 April 2019.
  30. ^ Jyoti, Dhrubo (1 October 2019). "Gandhi, Ambedkar and the 1932 Poona Pact". Hindustan Times. Archived from the original on 29 November 2021. Retrieved 29 November 2021.
  31. ^ "THE CONSTITUTION (SCHEDULED CASTES) ORDER, 1950". lawmin.nic.in. Archived from the original on 19 June 2009. Retrieved 28 January 2008.
  32. ^ "1. THE CONSTITUTION (SCHEDULED TRIBES)". lawmin.nic.in. Archived from the original on 20 September 2017.
  33. ^ Metcalf, Barbara D.; Metcalf, Thomas R. (2012). A Concise History of Modern India. New York: Cambridge. p. 232. ISBN 978-1-107-67218-5.
  34. ^ [1] Archived 8 May 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  35. ^ Sengupta, Chandan (2013). Democracy, Development, and Decentralization in India: Continuing Debates. Routledge. p. 23. ISBN 978-1136198489.
  36. ^ Metcalf, Barbara D.; Metcalf, Thomas R. (2012). A Concise History of Modern India. New York: Cambridge. p. 274. ISBN 978-1-107-67218-5.
  37. ^ Sengupta, Chandan (2013). Democracy, Development and Decentralization in India: Continuing Debates. Routledge. p. 23. ISBN 9781136198489.
  38. ^ "National Commission for Schedule Castes". Indiaenvironmentportal.org. Archived from the original on 31 August 2013. Retrieved 1 October 2017.
  39. ^ "THE CONSTITUTION (EIGHTY-NINTH AMENDMENT) ACT, 2003". Indiacode.nic.in. Archived from the original on 15 September 2008. Retrieved 1 October 2017.
  40. ^ "Constitution of India as of 29 July 2008" (PDF). The Constitution of India. Ministry of Law & Justice. Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 September 2014. Retrieved 13 April 2011.
  41. ^ "Community status lapses on conversion, rules Madras High Court". Thehindu.com. 24 June 2013. Archived from the original on 20 February 2020. Retrieved 1 October 2017.
  42. ^ Sridharan, R (31 October 2005). "Letter from Joint Secretary (SP) to Planning Secretaries of All States/UTs". Planning Commission (India). Archived from the original on 26 February 2009. Retrieved 1 October 2017.((cite web)): CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  43. ^ Bone, Omprakash S. (2015). Mannewar: A Tribal Community in India. Notion Press. ISBN 978-9352063444.
  44. ^ S., Pallikadavath; C., Wilson (1 July 2005). "A paradox within a paradox: Scheduled caste fertility in Kerala". Economic and Political Weekly. 40 (28): 3085–3093. Archived from the original on 1 October 2017. Retrieved 1 October 2017.
  45. ^ "Government of India, Ministry of Social Justice website". Archived from the original on 5 March 2021. Retrieved 6 March 2021.
  46. ^ "Statewise Total & Tribal Population of India (As per 2011 Census)". Archived from the original on 11 May 2021. Retrieved 6 March 2021.

Further reading