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Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) UPSC NOTE

 Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs)

  • In India, tribal population makes up for 8.6% of the total population.

  • 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 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 PVTGs.

  • 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.

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

  • Among the 75 listed PVTG’s the highest number are found in Odisha.


Socio-economic conditions and challenges

  • According to official data, they comprise around 14.6 lakh households. 

  • These tribes reside in scattered, remote, and often inaccessible areas, characterised by their reliance on methods and tools for their livelihood that predate the advent of agriculture, low literacy rates, economic backwardness, and stagnant populations

PM-JANMAN

  • Recognising their backwardness, the Government of India announced the Pradhan Mantri PVTG Development Mission in 2023-24 to improve the socio-economic conditions of PVTGs

  • In line with this initiative, the Pradhan Mantri Janjati Adivasi Nyaya Maha Abhiyan (PM-JANMAN) was launched in November 2023, with a budget of ₹24,000 crore.

  • The PM JANMAN seeks to provide essential services to PVTGs, which includes safe housing, clean drinking water, and sanitation through 11 critical interventions

Challenges in Implementation:

  • Lack of current data on PVTGs is a significant challenge, as the last available census data for PVTGs is from 2001, which counted a total of around 27.6 lakh individuals belonging to these communities.

  • The complexity and diversity of the needs and capacities of the PVTGs across different regions and states and the need for customized and flexible approaches and interventions.

  • The stigma and discrimination faced by the PVTGs in mainstream society and the state and the need for sensitization and awareness among the stakeholders and the public.

  • The coordination and convergence of the scheme with the existing schemes and programmes of the central and state governments and the need for effective and efficient delivery and utilization of the resources and services.


Awaas+ App

  • The Government of India has provided an ‘Awaas+’ mobile app to block/panchayat-level officials to register PVTG households for the PM JANMAN Housing scheme

  • The app gathers beneficiaries data in three primary areas — it records the geographical location of households, noting their block, panchayat, and village; it captures household profiles, incorporating geo-tagging for planned construction locations, and then collects bank account details for cash transfers.

  • Having a job card is mandatory for PM JANMAN Housing registration

  • However, the widespread deletion of over eight crore MGNREGA workers in the past two years — some are from PVTGs — has led to their ineligibility to register for the scheme

  • Additionally, numerous beneficiaries have reported cases of someone else registering with their job cards, further exacerbating the issue.

  • A notable aspect of the mobile app provided for registration is the pre-populated list of villages

  • However, there found discrepancies in the number of villages populated in the app and MGNREGA job cards, leading to confusion among beneficiaries and officials

  • For instance, the app’s dropdown has 22 villages while the MGNREGA Management Information System (MIS) has 31 villages for ‘Vanjari’ Panchayat in Alluri Sitharama Raju (ASR) district in Andhra Pradesh.

  • The app requires the names of the family members as in Aadhaar but does not provide guidance on what name should be provided in the absence of Aadhaar. 

  • Moreover, the app does not capture any explicit information about PVTGs, including in the social category field which has a default ‘ST’ [Scheduled Tribe] option

  • This results in non-PVTGs registrations as well. 

  • These ineligible registrations have prompted local officials asking PVTGs to submit certification from sarpanches/mukhiyas in some areas

  • In villages where PVTGs and non-PVTGs coexist, we have come across instances of non-PVTG sarpanches/mukhiyas acting against the interests of PVTGs in providing certification

  • Also discovered that the geo-tagging option is causing chaos due to network issues.

  • The app prompts the enumerator to choose from three options — Cooperative Bank; Commercial Bank, or Regional Rural Bank

  • Upon selection, a dropdown list of banks corresponding to the chosen category appears. 

  • For example, selecting ‘Commercial Bank’ presents over 300 options. 

  • Additionally, upon choosing a specific option, such as ‘State Bank of India’, for registration in Andhra Pradesh, the dropdown shows over 500 options for its branches. 

  • This cumbersome process introduces unnecessary complexity for both PVTGs and officials.

  • Despite the Government of India’s initiative to establish an India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) to improve banking services, especially in areas with limited banking infrastructure, the app does not include the IPPB in the list of banks.

Way forward

  • Streamlining the registration process, updating the mobile app, and incorporating the IPPB as an option are essential steps to facilitate a greater participation of PVTGs in the scheme

  • Proactive measures to reinstate deleted job cards and also community engagement initiatives such as involving gram sabhas, can improve the effectiveness of the scheme.

  • Despite numerous initiatives aimed at addressing their vulnerabilities, the narrative of PVTGs in independent India persistently echoes the words of Adivasi rights activist B.D. Sharma, who described the plight of Adivasis as an “unbroken history of broken promises”. 

  • If set right, the PM JANMAN presents yet another opportunity to transform the lives of PVTGs, albeit a small step, in enabling them to access the benefits from India’s growth story.

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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) UPSC NOTE
Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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