Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups

andaman tribes
andaman tribes

Tribal communities are often identified by some specific signs such as primitive traits, distinctive culture, geographical isolation, shyness to contact with the community at large and backwardness.

Along with these, some tribal groups have some specific features such as dependency on hunting, gathering for food, having pre-agriculture level of technology, zero or negative growth of population and extremely low level of literacy. These groups are called Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups.

andaman tribes

The need for identification

PVTGs are more vulnerable among the tribal groups. Due to this factor, more developed and assertive tribal groups take a major chunk of the tribal development funds, because of which PVTGs need more funds directed for their development.

In this context, in 1975, the Government of India initiated to identify the most vulnerable tribal groups as a separate category called PVTGs and declared 52 such groups, while in 1993 an additional 23 groups were added to the category,making it a total of 75 PVTGs out of 705 Scheduled Tribes, spread over 17 states and one Union Territory(UT), in the country (2011 census).

How they are identified

Government of India designed a procedure to identify PVTGs. According to the procedure, the state governments or UT governments submit proposals to the Central Ministry of Tribal Welfare for identification of PVTGs.

The Central Ministry then examines the proposals in consultation with the Planning Commission.After ensuring the criteria is fulfilled, the Central Ministry selects those groups as PVTGs.

State / UT NamePVTGs Name
Andhra Pradesh1. Bodo Gadaba 2. Bondo Poroja 3. Chenchu 4. Dongria Khond 5. Gutob Gadaba 6. Khond Poroja 7. Kolam 8. Kondareddis 9. Konda Savaras 10. Kutia Khond 11. Parengi Porojal2. Thoti
Bihar13. Asurs 14. Birhor 15. Birjia 16. Hill Kharia 17. Konvas 18. Mal Paharia 19. Parhaiyas 20. Sauda Paharia 21. Savar
JharkhandSame as above
Gujarat22. Kathodi 23. Kohvalia 24. Padhar 25. Siddi 26. Kolgha
Karnataka27. Jenu Kuruba 28. Koraga
Kerala29. Cholanaikayan (a section of Kattunaickans) 30. Kadar 31. Kattunayakan 32. Kurumbas 33. Koraga
Madhya Pradesh34. Abujh Macias 35. Baigas 36. Bharias 37. Hill Korbas 38. Kamars 39. Saharias 40. Birhor
ChhattisgarhSame as above
Maharashtra41. Katkaria (Kathodia) 42. Kolam 43. Maria Gond
Manipur44. Marram Nagas
Odisha45. Birhor 46. Bondo 47. Didayi 48. Dongria-Khond 49. Juangs 50. Kharias 51. Kutia Kondh 52. Lanjia Sauras 53. Lodhas 54. Mankidias 55. Paudi Bhuyans 56. Soura 57. Chuktia Bhunjia
Rajasthan58. Seharias
Tamil Nadu59. Kattu Nayakans 60. Kotas 61. Kurumbas 62. Irulas 63. Paniyans 64. Todas
Tripura65. Reangs
Uttar Pradesh66. Buxas 67. Rajis
UttarakhandSame as above
West Bengal68. Birhor 69. Lodhas 70. Totos
Andaman & Ni- cobar Islands71. Great Andamanese 72. Jarawas 73. Onges 74. Sentinelese 75.

Shorn Pens

The characteristics of PVTGs

In 1973, the Dhebar Commission created Primitive Tribal Groups (PTGs) as a separate category, who are less developed among the tribal groups. In 2006, the Government of India renamed the PTGs as Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs).

PVTGs have some basic characteristics -they are mostly homogenous, with a small population, relatively physically isolated, social institutes cast in a simple mould, absence of written language, relatively simple technology and a slower rate of change etc.


In India, tribal population makes up for 8.6% of the total population. Tribal people live in about 15% of the geographical area of the country. The places they live vary from plains,forests, hills, inaccessible areas etc. PVTGs are scattered in different geographical areas of the country.

According to the 2001 census, the PVTGs populationongeee Tribes is approximately. 27,68,322. There are 12 PVTGs having a population above 50,000 and the remaining groups have a population of 1000 or less. The PVTG of Sahariyas has the highest population of 4,50,217, while the PVTGs of Sentinelets and Andamanese has a very small population of 39 and 43, respectively.

Social conditions and declining population

The cultural practices, systems, self governance and livelihood practices andaman tribes of PVTGs have a lot of variations, depending on the group and locality. These tribal groups are widely different culturally. The level of inequalities in social and economical conditions is very high amongst PVTGs.

Their problems are also very different from group to group.The growth of PVTGs’ population is either stagnating or declining, compared to the general population growth, particularly in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands where the declining rate is very high.

sentinelese tribes

There are five PVTGs in the Andaman islands such as Great Andamanese, Jarawas, Onges, Sentineles and Shom Pens. In 1858, the Great Andamanese were estimated at nearly 3500,in 1901 their number declined to 625. According to the2001 Census, the Great Andamanese stood at just 43, Jarawas are 241, Onges are 96, Sentineles are 39 and Shom Pens are 398..

jarawa tribes


PVTGs depend on various livelihoods such as food gathering,Non Timber Forest Produce (NTFP), hunting, livestock rearing, shifting cultivation and artisan works.Most of their livelihoods depend on the forest. The forest is their life and livelihood. They collect various NTFP items such as honey, gum, amla, bamboo, shrubs, fuel wood,dry leaves, nuts, sprouts, wax, medical plants,roots and tubes.

Most of the NTFP items they gather are for consumption and they sell the remaining to middle men. But due to the shrinking forests, environmental changes and new forest conservation policies, their NTFP collection is getting hampered. Because of the lack of awareness about the value of NTFP produce, PVTGs have been exploited by the middle men.

ongeee Tribes

Health conditions

Health is a prerequisite for human development and it is an essential component in well-being of humankind.Health problems of any community are influenced by different factors such as social, economical and political factors. The health status of PVTGs is in an awful condition because of multiple factors like poverty,illiteracy, lack of safe drinking water, bad sanitary conditions, difficult terrain, malnutrition, poor maternal and child health services, unavailability of health and nutritional services, superstition and deforestation.

The diseases like anemia, upper respiratory problem, malaria; gastro-intestinal disorders like acute diarrhea,Intestinal protozoan; micro nutrient deficiency and skin infection diseases are common among PVTGs. Many of these diseases can be prevented by providing nutrition food, timely medical facilities and health awareness. The condition of education is also very poor, with an average literacy rate of 10% to 44% in PVTGs.

Scheme for PVTGs, 2008

The Scheme for Development of Primitive Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs), came into effect from April 1,2008. The Scheme defines PVTGs as the most vulnerable among the Scheduled Tribes and the Scheme therefore seeks to prioritise their protection and development.

It identifies 75 PVTGs. The Scheme seeks to adopt a holistic approach to the socio-economic development of PVTGs and gives state governments flexibility in planning initiatives that are geared towards the specific socio-cultural imperatives of the specific groups at hand. Activities may thus include housing, land distribution, land development, agricultural development, cattle development, construction of link roads, installation of non conventional sources of energy, social security, etc.

Funds are available only for activities essential for the survival, protection and development of PVTGs and not already funded by any other Scheme of the central/state governments. Each state and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands’ administration, is required to prepare a long term Conservation-cum-Development (CCD) plan, valid for a period of five years for each PVTG within its territory, outlining the initiatives it will undertake, financial planning for the same and the agencies charged with the responsibility of undertaking the same. The CCD Plan has to be approved by an Expert Committee, appointed by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs. The Scheme is funded entirely by the Central government.

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