The Scheduled Tribes ("STs") or adivasis consist of a number of heterogeneous tribal groups that have historically self-identified, and been identified by the Indian state as lying outside the mainstream of society, partly because of their 'distinctive culture and way of life as a group’, and partly because of their ‘geographical isolation’. There are as many as 750 Scheduled Tribes in 26 states and 6 union territories of India. The Indian Constitution enshrines special political representation and affirmative action provisions for STs, and also delineates special protections for land rights of Scheduled Tribes, vis-à-vis the state and other communities, in geographically demarcated tribal majority areas known as "Scheduled Areas". This is because land is not only the most important source of tribal livelihoods, it is also central to tribal identity, history, and culture.
The CPR Land Rights Initiative report on "The legal and political economy of land rights of Scheduled Tribes in the Scheduled Areas of India", shows that despite these special protections, Scheduled Tribes remain impoverished and victims of displacement. 47.1% of all STs in rural areas, and 28.8% of all STs in urban areas, are below the poverty line. While STs constitute only 8.6% of the total population, it is estimated that they constitute 40% of all people who have been displaced during the period 1951 to 1990. The conference will feature findings from the CPR LRI Report on reasons for displacement, landlessness, and impoverishment of STs.
The conference will also showcase findings from an ongoing research study, which evaluates issues in controversy following the Supreme Court judgment in Dr Subhash Kashinath Mahajan v. State of Maharashtra, which read down certain provisions of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. Although Parliament in the recently concluded monsoon session has amended this Act to reverse the effect of the Supreme Court’s judgment, the debate on this issue has remained contentious. CPR LRI research shows that criminal convictions of STs in a majority of states remain disproportionately high, but criminal convictions for atrocities against STs are disproportionately low; and 20% of all atrocities include crimes against tribal women.
Many distinguished speakers including Dr Nand Kumar Sai, Hon'ble Chairperson, National Commission for Scheduled Tribes, Members of the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes, and senior government officials, community representatives from Fifth and Sixth Schedule Area states and academics from various disciplinary backgrounds, will deliberate on the research findings, and make recommendations for protection of ST rights and promotion of their welfare. These recommendations will form part of the NCST's Annual Report.
Proposed agenda for the National Seminar may be accessed here.
Please register at this link.
Videos of previous conferences and events of the CPR Land Rights Initiative can be accessed here: