India is a country that symbolizes the term “Unity in Diversity.” India is a home to people who belong to various castes, religions, and tribes. Even though India is one of the most developed countries, people are deprived of growth and development in many areas. Of those people, the tribal community forms a significant part. Approximately, tribal communities constitute 8.6% of the Indian population. There are still many tribal groups that are not officially recognized as a scheduled tribe (ST). Not many of us know the problems they have to face for their daily basic needs. They are the most fragile and vulnerable community in our country. They don’t have basic amenities like healthcare, primary education, sanitation, etc. Due to isolated demographic conditions, they often fail to receive the schemes implemented for them by the government. Sometimes, due to social discrimination, they often become victims of the human rights revolution. This article aims to address the social, economic, religious issues faced by them in our society.

The Literacy Rate (LR) increased from 8.53 percent in 1961 to 58.96 percent in 2011 for Scheduled Tribes (STs), while the corresponding increase of the total population was from 28.30 percent in 1961 to 72.99 percent in 2011. LR increased by 11.86 percentage points from 2001 to 2011 for STs and 8.15 percentage points for the total population during the same period. Dropout rates among the tribal students, particularly at the secondary and senior secondary stages, are very high. Higher education also suffers from dropout rates of 73 percent at Class X, 84 percent at Class XI, and 86 percent at Class XII. The latest dropout reports from the IITs also justify this point. From the above information, we can assess the condition of education in tribal areas. Even though the government is implementing a free universal education scheme that mandates primary education to children as their fundamental rights, there are many errors in the grass-root implementation of this scheme. One of the reasons that attribute to their low literacy rate is the reluctance and hesitancy towards education. This is also because of their superstitions and lack of trust in government. Poverty also plays a significant role in this context.

Social backwardness is one of the main reasons due to which tribal communities find it hard to accustom and cope with our society, leading to their social alienation. The major social issues are child marriage, belief in occult activities like black magic, polygamy, infanticide, which are utterly unwelcome in our society. Language is also one of the adversaries in an attempt to educate them.

Due to their isolated geographic conditions, it is often difficult to give proper health care to them. Also, the staffing is inadequate because the majority of the people are not willing to work in those areas. It also accounts for poor grass root level administration. The poor sanitation and water facilities are also significant issues that desperately need to be addressed.

Over the years, in the name of development, many forests were cut down, home to many tribal communities. Urbanization forced many tribes to leave their places. Lack of stability, high dependency on agriculture, and deforestation are the major factors that resulted in their constant migration. Many hydroelectric and mining projects proposed by governments also lead to the displacement of people. In many of the above cases, the tribal people don’t get compensation for their land loss.

Over many decades, tribal people were constantly exploited and discriminated against by the upper class of society. They were also considered untouchable. Even today, many heinous crimes are committed against them. According to Crime in India- 2015, a total of 6,275 cases of atrocities against a person belonging to Scheduled Tribe (in which SC/ST(POA) Act applied) were registered in the country during 2015, showing a decrease of 8.1% (from 6,826 cases in 2014 to 6,375 cases in 2015) during 2015 over 2014. Women and children of tribal communities are often tortured, killed, and raped in remote rural areas.

Tribals are often the suppressed and backward community in our country. Even though the government designed some laws to protect their interest, the implementation of those laws is rather unsatisfactory due to their poor ground-level administration. Even though there is some considerable development in the lifestyle of the tribal people, it is still far from getting better. We have discussed many issues faced by tribal people, and we hope the government will soon take a step further in addressing their problems and protecting their interests.