Published on: January 12, 2023

Scheduled Tribes

Scheduled Tribes

Why in news? The Office of the Registrar-General of India (RGI) is following the set of criteria set out by the Lokur Committee nearly 60 years ago to define any new community as a Scheduled Tribe


  • Approval of the Office of the RGI is mandatory for the inclusion of any community on ST lists, as per the procedure for scheduling tribes

Lokur Committee

  • The criteria set out by this committee for defining a community as a tribe are:
  • Indications of primitive traits
  • Distinctive culture
  • Geographical isolation
  • Shyness of contact with the community at large

What is the problem with classification criteria?

  • Government task force on Scheduling of Tribes, under Hrusikesh Panda(then Tribal Affairs Secretary) in  2014, had concluded that these criteria may have become obsolete considering the process of transition and acculturation
  • Primitive and the requirement of primitively to be a characteristic of Scheduled Tribe indicates a superior attitude by outsiders
  • Criteria like geographical isolation with in which that infrastructure development continued across the country, and tribes cannot remain as isolated

What are the newly Proposed criteria?

  • Proposed criteria under the government’s consideration includes
  • Socio-economic, including educational, backwardness, vis-a-vis, the rest of the population of the State;
  • Historical geographical isolation (may or may not exist today)
  • Distinct language/dialect
  • Presence of a core culture relating to life-cycle, marriage, songs, dance, paintings, folklore
  • Endogamy, or in case of exogamy, marital relationship primarily with other STs (This criterion is for scheduling of a community as ST and not for determining ST status of an individual)”.

About Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India

  • Formation: 1961
  • Parent organisation: Ministry of Home Affairs
  • Current Registrar General & Census Commissioner: Vivek Joshi
  • The position of Registrar is usually held by a civil servant holding the rank of Joint Secretary.
  • They mainly involve in arranging, conducting and analysing the results of the demographic surveys of India including Census of India and Linguistic Survey of India.