Enlarge the Panchsheel approach to tribal upliftment

Source:  This post is based on the article “Enlarge the Panchsheel Approach for Tribal upliftment” published in the Livemint on 2nd  September 2021.

Relevance: This article explains India’s Tribal development policy.

Synopsis: Despite Indian independence, tribal development is lacking in India.


This article highlights the problems/ difficulties faced by tribals because of globalisation.

Impact of Globalisation on Tribals

Livelihood: It forced tribes to give up their traditional occupations. Now, most of them work as migrants, daily wageworker in unorganized sectors.

Culture: It severely impacted their ancient culture. Globalisation unrestrained interactions between tribal populations. This has resulted in indigenous culture being suppressed.

What is Panchsheel? How it will address tribal Issues?

To address the issues of Tribals, Jawahar Lal Nehru advocated “Panchsheel” for Tribal development. The major components of the Panchsheel are:

Self-Governance: It advocates the non- imposition of outside rule/culture from external agencies by encouraging self-governance. It affirms that the forest and land rights of tribals must be protected.

Inclusivity: It encourages the inclusion of tribals in development and administration. It additionally mandates that schemes and administrative insurance policies meant for Tribal beneficiaries shouldn’t be cumbersome.

Integration and Development: It requires that the standard of judging progress for Tribals be based mostly on life-quality indices, with an intention to strike a steadiness between isolationism and their assimilation.

What are provisions in the Indian Constitution for Tribal Upliftment?

Part X of the Constitution: It entails provisions for the administration and management of Scheduled Areas and Schedule Tribes (STs).

Article 330 and 332: It reserves seats for ST in Schedule areas, thus granting them representation to safeguard their rights and interests.

89th Amendment: It introduced National Commission for ST, which further derives its power from Article 338 A.

Tribal Advisory Council: It is mandatorily constituted to inculcate the value of self-governance, which is the cornerstone of democracy.

PESA (Panchayat Extensions of Scheduled Areas) Act, 1995: In 1991, after the recommendation of Bhuria committee, the government enacted the PESA. It confers the powers of local self-governance, ownership and management of natural resources to the local Tribal communities.

Read more: Panchayat Extensions of Scheduled Areas(PESA) Act
Recommendation of various Commissions and committees

Kaka Kalekar Commission, 1953: It suggested the recognition of ST as an exclusive group that belongs to no specific religion.

Bandhopadhyay and Mungekar Committee: It was constituted to examine governance issues in Schedule areas affected by extremism.

Xaxa Panel, 2014: It was constituted to look extensively into Tribal livelihood, employment, health, migration and legal matters. This committee observed that the PESA and the Forests Rights Act are slow to absorb the rapidly evolving circumstances of tribals.

There are some more committees constituted for tribal reforms like Elwin panel 1959, UN Debar Commission 1960, Lokur Committee 1965, Shilu Ao Panel 1965. These all are largely focused on Tribal development, governance mechanism and welfare system.

What are the Supreme Court rulings for Tribal rights?

The judiciary acts as a torchbearer of Tribal rights in its role as Panchsheel enforcer.

In Samatha vs state of Andhra Pradesh 1977: It held that granting of mining lease in Schedule areas by state amounts to transfer of land to “non-tribal” is in violation of the Fifth schedule.

In Orissa Mining Corporation vs Ministry of Environment and Forests: The SC held that forest dwellers and STs have a right under FRA (Forest Right Act) to be consulted before their ancient homelands are converted into commercial lands.

What are the government’s efforts?

‘Stand Up India’ scheme 2021: It is launched by SIDBI (Small Industries Development Bank of India). It seeks to provide loans to ST ranging from 10 lakh to 1 crore to set up enterprises.

Budget 2021-22: I reduced the margin money requirement for loans from 25% to 15%. It also allows credit for agricultural allied activities.

A proposal has been made for building 750 Eklavya model Residential schools in Tribal majority areas to inculcate heritage-based education. It will also focus on vocational skill training.

What more can be done?

Despite seven decades of independence, several constitutional and legal safeguards, the condition of tribal leaves much to be desired.

India’s ratification of the International Labor Convention’s 1989 convention on Rights of Indigenous people which recognizes their rights on land and natural resources can be the pragmatic step that may use in the development of Tribal people.

Terms to know

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