of Indian population live under disadvantageous condition mainly
because their traditional method of earning became obsolete and
uneconomical in present context. When vast majority of people
acquired various skills to reap the benefit of modern economy,
these people remained cut off from the stream of change in
national economy. Reasons are various, from indifference of the
administrators or other neighboring people to uplift these
ignorant groups from redundant ways of earning to sheer reluctance
by the people themselves. Those who remained in the inaccessible
hilly forest for many generations clinging to forest dependent
economy remained ignorant about the modern technology that caused
changes in the economy outside of their territory.
In many parts of India, the forest dwellers
were exposed to Western culture through the Catholic Missionaries,
tea planters, mine owners, etc. and imbibed the technology of
joining the mainstream of development mainly through formal
education. The areas where modern education did not penetrate the
people, obviously, could not get exposed to the changes that the
modern technology brought about.
Since independence Government has been
taking measures to educate such people whose interest have been
protected by the constitution. Some Ethnic groups have been marked
as "Tribe" and some as "caste" protected under
constitutional schedules. Whatever label is put, these people
remained in same socio-economic condition in similar eco-zones.
In spite of efforts by various
agencies, these people continue to remain backward.
Government has rigidly guarded the entry of persons from this
category into legislative bodies, educational institutions and
government services. Those who have been benefited from these
offers have improved their personal lives and those of their
descendants. But vast majority of people belonging to the
protected communities is still groping in the darkness of
ignorance, ill health and poverty.
Half century of experiment to develop the
deprived section of Indian citizen leaves a question to the
intellectuals who frame policies for the nation. Whether simply
providing facilities and protection from competition with other
people can create an urge for development? Whether simply being
born in an ethnic community can make one eligible for protected
facilities? This type of community-specific Constitutional
facilities, initially introduced with benevolent motive, is now
being utilized for gaining political power and material wealth.
The legally recognized descendancy of children born out of parents
of tribal and non-tribal categories is too complicated. Probably
it is time to review the efficacy of existing provisions in order
to hand out a better way of development of deprived communities
(Scheduled Tribe and Scheduled Cast) of India.