The Ministry of Tribal Affairs was set up in 1999 after the bifurcation of Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment with the objective of providing more focused approach on the integrated socio-economic development of the Scheduled Tribes (STs), the most underprivileged of the Indian Society, in a coordinated and planned manner. Before the formation of the Ministry, tribal affairs were handled by different Ministries as follows: -

1.   As a Division of the Ministry of Home Affairs named as ‘Tribal Division’ since independence up to September, 1985. 

2.   Ministry of Welfare: From September 1985 to May 1998. 

3.   Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment from May 1998 to September 1999. 

The Ministry of Tribal Affairs is the nodal Ministry for overall policy, planning and coordination of programmes for development of ST’s. To this end, Ministry of Tribal Affairs has undertaken activities that follow from the subjects allocated under the Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules, 1961. The subjects allocated to the Ministry of Tribal Affairs are as under:-

1.   Social security and social insurance to the Scheduled Tribes; 

2.   Tribal Welfare: - Tribal welfare planning, project formulation, research, evaluation, statistics and training; 

3.   Promotion and development of voluntary efforts on tribal welfare;

4.   Scheduled Tribes, including scholarship to students belonging to such tribes; 

5.   Development of Scheduled Tribes 

5A)   All matters including legislation relating to the rights of forest dwelling Scheduled Tribes on forest lands

Note: The Ministry of Tribal Affairs shall be the nodal Ministry for overall policy, planning and coordination of programmes of development for the Scheduled Tribes. In regard to sectoral programmes and schemes of development of these communities policy, planning, monitoring, evaluation etc. as also their coordination will be the responsibility of the concerned Central Ministries/ Departments, State Governments and Union Territory Administrations. Each Central Ministry/Department will be the nodal Ministry or Department concerning its sector.

6      (a)   Scheduled Areas;

        (b)   Regulations framed by the Governors of States for Scheduled Areas; 

7     (a) Commission to report on the administration of Scheduled Areas and the welfare of the Scheduled Tribes; and 

       (b)   Issue of directions regarding the drawing up and execution of schemes essential for the welfare of the Scheduled Tribes in any State. 

8.   The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes;

9.   Implementation of the Protection of Civil  with a working strength of 101 officials. There are Rights Act, 1955 (22 of 1955) and the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 (33 of 1989), excluding administration of criminal justice in regard to offences in so far as they relate to Scheduled Tribes”.49 Group ‘A’ posts, 56 Group ‘B’ posts (Gazetted/ non-Gazetted), 32 Group ‘C’ posts, which includes 16 formerly Group ‘D’ posts which have now become Group ‘C’ posts as per Sixth Central Pay Commission’s recommendations. The organizational chart of the Ministry is seen in this website ( Home -- About Us --Organizational chart)

The Role

The programmes and schemes of the Ministry are intended to support and supplement, through financial assistance, the efforts primarily of other Central Ministries, the State Governments and partly of voluntary organizations, and to fill critical gaps in institutions and programmes taking into account the situation of STs. The primary responsibility for promoting the interests of Scheduled Tribes rests with all the Central Ministries. The Ministry supplements their efforts by way of various developmental interventions in critical sectors through specially tailored schemes. These, comprising schemes for economic, educational and social development and through institution building are administered by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs and implemented mainly through the State Government/ Union Territory Administrations.