Published on: December 27, 2022

Nomadic tribes

Nomadic tribes

Why in news? The parliamentary panel on Social Justice and Empowerment has pulled up the government over the “very slow” process to categorise over 260 denotified, nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes (DNT/NT/SNT) under the SC/ST/OBC lists.


  • This delay is mainly for the approval of benefits under the SEED (Scheme for Economic Empowerment of DNTs)
  • More than over 1,400 communities are either denotified, nomadic or semi-nomadic.
  • Idate Commission had categorised 1,262 communities under SC/ST/OBC lists and 267 communities were left uncategorised.
  • Even the communities categorised by the Idate Commission are not accurate with many communities appearing in SC lists in one State or district and on the ST list in another.

About SEED (Scheme for Economic Empowerment of DNTs)

  • Parent Organization : Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment
  • Eligibility criteria : All sources of Rs.2.50 lakh or less per annum and not availing any such benefits from similar Scheme of Centre Government or the State Government.
  • Finance : Approximate cost of Rs 200 crore to be spent over a period of 5 years
  • Time Period: 2021-22 to 2025-26.
  • Other implementing agencies : Ministry of Rural Development, National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) and National Health Authority (NHA).
  • The funds will be transferred directly to the beneficiaries in their account.

Major Components of the scheme

  • To provide coaching of good quality for DNT/NT/SNT candidates to enable them to appear in competitive examinations.
  • To provide health insurance to DNT/NT/SNT Communities.
  • To facilitate livelihoods initiative at community level to build and strengthen small clusters of DNT/NT/SNT Communities institutions.
  • To provide financial assistance for construction of houses to members of the DNT/NT/SNT Communities.

 Nomadic Tribes and Denotified Tribes

  • They consist of about 60 million people in India, out of which about five million live in the state of Maharashtra.
  • There are 315 Nomadic Tribes and 198 Denotified Tribes.
  • Largely Nomadic pastoralist (vimukta jatis or ‘free/ liberated jatis)’ were classed as such under the Criminal Tribes Act 1871, enacted under British rule in India.
  • After Indian Independence, this act was repealed by the Government in 1952.
  • In Maharashtra, these people are not been included in the list of Scheduled Tribes due to historical circumstances, but are listed as Scheduled Castes or “Nomadic Tribes”.
  • The tribes designated as “Denotified”, “Nomadic” or “Semi-Nomadic” are eligible for reservation in India.
  • The Government of India established the National Commission for De-notified, Nomadic and Semi Nomadic tribes in 2005 to study the developmental aspects of such tribes.