Major Tribes in India: State-wise compilation

By Hemant Kumar|Updated : February 20th, 2020

A tribe is a social division of a traditional society composed of households connected with a common culture and a dialect by social, financial, religious or blood connections. A tribe has certain features and qualities that make it a distinctive cultural, social and political entity. This post covers India's biggest tribes. In India, they are also referred to as' Adivasis.'

Major Tribes in India (State-wise List)

The nature of the Indian tribe and the very nature of the people over the course of the centuries have altered significantly.  In India, under Schedule V of the constitution, the Indian Constitution has acknowledged its tribal communities. Hence, the tribes that are acknowledged as' Scheduled Tribes' by the Constitution. India has approximately 645 separate tribes.

Major Tribes in India: 

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

Points to remember

  • The total Scheduled Tribes population, as per the 2001 Census, is 84,326,240, representing 8.2 percent of the total country population. The proportion of the inhabitants of the Scheduled Tribe in metropolitan regions is only a small 2,4%.
  • The state with more Scheduled Tribes comprises 83.2 percent of its population of Madhya Pradesh, Maharastra, Orissa, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and Karnataka. A further 15.3 percent of the complete inhabitants of the Scheduled Tribe is represented by Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Jammu and Kashmir, Tripura, Mizoram, Bihar, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. The proportion of the other states/cities is negligible.
  • Tribes in India constitute the biggest percentage in the population of Lakshadweep and Mizoram, and Nagaland and Meghalaya are followed by the planned tribes.
  • Madhya Pradesh has the largest number of scheduled Tribes.
  • There are no Scheduled Tribes in Punjab, Delhi, Chandigarh, Pondicherry, Haryana.
  • Seat reservations for Scheduled Tribes are available in Lok Sabha. The numbers of the census are also considered here. The assignment of seats in the Lok Sabha for the Scheduled Tribes is made on the basis of the proportion of the Scheduled Tribe of the state to the population as a whole, the vide provision of Article 330 of the Indian Constitution as referred to in Section 3 of the R. P. Act 1950.
  • 47 seats are booked in Lok Sabha for Scheduled Tribes. The 1st program for R. P. Act, 1950 as amended video Reporting of the People, 2008 provides rise to a state-speaking divide

Scheduled Tribes

Article 366(25) defines the scheduled tribes as "Tribal groups or tribal communities that are deemed, for the purposes of this constitution, to be scheduled tribal tribes under Article 342."

Article 342 in The Constitution Of India 1949

Scheduled Tribes

  1. The President may, by public notification after consultation with the governor of any State or territory of the Union and, when it is a State, specify the tribals, tribal communities or parts or tribal groups which are to be considered Scheduled Tribes for purposes of this Constitution, in relation to that State or territory of the Union as the case may be.
  2. By law, a tribal community or portion of or within any tribal community, or tribal group, shall be included or excluded from a list of Scheduled Tribes stipulated under section (1). 

But unless the above mentioned, notification under that provision shall not vary from any subsequent PART XVII OFFICIAL LANGUAGE CHAPTER I LANGUAGE OF THE UNION. The Parliament shall not be allowed to include any other notification.

Ministry of Tribal Affairs

The Tribal Affairs Ministry is in charge of the growth of all planned tribes in India. The Ministry was established in 1999 with the aim of providing a focused approach to integrating and coordinating the social-economic development in the Scheduled Tribes (ST), the most deprived of the Indian Society, following the bifurcation of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.

The Tribal Ministry is the Nodal Ministry of General Policies, Planning and Coordination of Scheduled Tribe Development Programs. 

The Central Ministries / Departments, State Governments and Union territorial Administrations concerned will also have responsibility for planning, monitoring, evaluation, etc., in the context of sector programs and schemes for developing such communities.

The nodal ministry or the ministry for their industry shall be each Central Ministry / Department.

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

  1. From Independence to September 1985, the Ministry of Home Affairs ' Division was appointed ' Tribal ' Division.
  2. Ministry of Welfare: From September 1985 to May 1998.
  3. Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment from May 1998 to September 1999.

National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST)

By amending of Article 338 and the incorporation of the fresh Article 338A in the Constitution (89th Amendment), 2003, the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) was set up. 

By that amendment, two distinct commissions, first the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) and the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCPST) w.e.f. 19 February 2004, have been superseded by the former National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

The Tribal Sub Plan (TSP) strategy

The TSP approach is an initiative of the Indian government to rapidly develop the socio-economic growth of tribe peoples. The funds made available under the State Tribal Sub-Plan shall be at least equivalent to each State and UT's ST population. 

Likewise, Central Ministries / Departments are also needed to allocate resources to the Tribal Sub-Plan out of their budget. The Tribal Sub Plan funds are to be non-divertible and non-lapse according to the rules published by the Planning Commission. 

It is the responsibility of the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes to engage and advise in the socio-economic growth of the STs planning method and to assess the program.


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