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Topic : Marginalized Communities: Denotified and Nomadic Tribes (DNTs & NTs)

GS-1 Mains : Geography

Revision Notes

A Plight of Neglect

  • DNTs and NTs in Andhra Pradesh face social stigma and neglect for centuries.
  • 2008 report by National Commission for DNTs & NTs:
    • 59 Denotified communities
    • 60 Nomadic tribes in Andhra Pradesh
  • Lambadas (STs) and Vadderas (BCs) have more visibility compared to Yanadis, Yerukulas, and Nakkalas communities.

Understanding the Terminology

  • Nomadic/Semi-Nomadic Tribes (NTs/SNTs): Move from place to place for livelihood.
  • Denotified Tribes (DNTs): Communities labelled “born criminals” by British Raj under the Criminal Tribes Act (1871).
    • Some DNTs are categorized as SCs, STs, or OBCs, while others are not included in any category.

Historical Background

  • “De-notified Tribes”: Communities once classified as criminals under British rule (1871-1947).
    • These Acts were repealed in 1952 by independent India, leading to their “de-notification.”
  • Nomadic/Semi-nomadic communities: Traditionally moved seasonally for work.
    • The distinction between nomads and semi-nomads reflects the degree of mobility, not ethnicity.

National Scenario

  • South Asia has the world’s largest nomadic population.
  • Around 10% of India’s population is Denotified or Nomadic.
    • 150 Denotified Tribes
    • 500+ Nomadic Tribe communities
  • Denotified Tribes have largely settled, while Nomadic Communities remain mobile for traditional professions.

A Legacy of Marginalization

  • Lack of Recognition and Documentation: Denotified communities lack citizenship documents, hindering their access to rights and benefits.
  • Limited Political Representation: Weak political voice makes it difficult to advocate for their rights.
  • Social Stigma and Discrimination: Historical bias and distinct way of life lead to social exclusion.
  • Economic Marginalization: Limited access to resources and opportunities traps them in poverty.
  •  Educational Deprivation: Lack of educational opportunities results in high illiteracy rates.

Idate Commission Recommendations (2014)

  • Acknowledge the stigma caused by the Criminal Tribes Act (1871) and Habitual Offenders Act (1952).
  • Formulate specific policies for NTs, SNTs, and DNTs (separate from SC/ST/OBC).
  • Establish a permanent commission for these communities.
  • Identify barriers in accessing basic necessities (education, healthcare, etc.).

Government Initiatives

  • Development and Welfare Board for DNTs, SNTs &NTs (DWBDNCs) – 2019
  • NITI Aayog Committee for identification of DNTs, SNTs, and NTs.
  • Scheme for Economic Empowerment of DNTs (SEED) – 2022 (Rs. 200 crore budget)
    • Provides coaching for competitive exams.
    • Offers health insurance.
    • Supports livelihood initiatives.
    • Grants financial assistance for house construction.

The Road Ahead

  • Dismantle the colonial stereotype of “criminal tendencies” associated with Denotified Tribes.
  • Expedite documentation to ensure access to welfare schemes and basic necessities.
  • Increase political representation in Parliament, government institutions, and higher education (as suggested by NHRC).
Source : https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/prejudiced-past-and-forsaken-future-the-dnts-battle-for-dignity/article68207551.ece

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