Scheduled Tribes is an important aspect that you must cover for the UPSC exam. You must know how many tribes in India? And the important tribes in India along with the scheduled tribes in India.

According to Article 366(25) of the Constitution of India, they are certain groups which are scheduled in compliance with Article 342 of the Constitution. Article 342 of the Constitution of India also states that: The Scheduled Tribes are the tribes or tribal communities or are part of or groups within those tribes and tribal communities that have been designated as such by the President in a public notice.

According to the 2011 Census, 104 million Scheduled Tribes constitute 8.6 per cent of the population of the nation. These Scheduled Tribes are spread primarily in forested and hilly regions throughout the country.

The main aspects of these groups are

  • Primitive Features
  • Isolation in geography
  • Distinguished society
  • Shy of touch at large with the group
  • Economically retrograde

Who are Tribes?

A tribe is a group of persons in a common geographical region who live and work together. A tribe has a history, dialect and religion that are traditional. Typically, the tribe is headed by a chief. A collective of tribes structured around kinships is a tribal culture. Tribes play a role in the social transition between communities and countries.

As notified under Article 342 of the Constitution of India, there are over 500 tribes (with several overlapping populations in more than one State), scattered over the country’s various States and Union Territories.

Gonds are one of the world’s largest tribal groups. They are located mainly in the Madhya Pradesh district of Chhindwara, the Chhattisgarh district of Bastar and parts of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Odisha

How Many Tribes in India? A-List of Tribes in India

As in the case of the SCs, a three-pronged policy of civic mobilisation, economic empowerment and social justice completes the plan’s goal of empowering the tribals.

A significant issue relevant to the Scheduled Tribes-Atrocities Reduction Act, 1989

The following is a list of the major tribes in India.

Major Tribes of India


  • Nagasia
  • Biar
  • Khond
  • Agariya
  • Bhattra
  • Mawasi
  • Bhaina


  • Varli
  • Dubia
  • Siddi
  • Naikda
  • Dhodia


  • Patelia
  • Bhil
  • Dhodia
  • Bamcha
  • Barda
  • Paradhi
  • Charan
  • Gamta

Himachal Pradesh

  • Swangal
  • Gujjars
  • Lahaulas
  • Khas
  • Pangwala
  • Lamba
  • Gaddis

Jammu and Kashmir

  • Balti
  • Garra
  • Sippi
  • Bakarwal
  • Mon
  • Gaddi
  • Purigpa
  • Beda


  • Gonds
  • Birhors
  • Savar
  • Mundas
  • Santhals
  • Khaira
  • Bhumji


  • Gond
  • Patelia
  • Barda
  • Yerava
  • Bhil
  • Koraga
  • Adiyan
  • Iruliga


  • Malai
  • Aarayan
  • Arandan
  • Uralis
  • Kurumbas
  • Arandan
  • Eranvallan

Madhya Pradesh

  • Kharia
  • Bhils
  • Murias
  • Birhors
  • Baigas
  • Katkari
  • Kol
  • Bharia
  • Khond
  • Gonds


  • Warlis
  • Khond
  • Bhaina
  • Katkari
  • Bhunjia
  • Rathawa
  • Dhodia.


  • Thadou
  • Aimol
  • Maram
  • Paite
  • Chiru
  • Purum
  • Kuki
  • Monsang
  • Angami


  • Pawai
  • Chakma
  • Raba
  • Hajong
  • Lakher
  • Garos
  • Jaintias
  • Khasis


  • Dimasa
  • Raba
  • Chakma
  • Lakher
  • Khasi
  • Synteng
  • Kuki
  • Pawai

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Other Major Tribes Spotted in India


Nagas, Angami, Sema, Garo, Kuki, Kachari, Mikir


Gadaba, Ghara, Kharia, Khond, Matya, Oraons, Rajuar, Santhals.


Bhils, Damaria, Dhanka, Meenas(Minas), Patelia, Sahariya.


Bhutia, Khas, Lepchas.

Tamil Nadu

Adiyan, Aranadan, Eravallan, Irular, Kadar, Kanikar, Kotas, Todas




Bhil, Bhutia, Chaimal, Chakma, Halam, Khasia, Lushai, Mizel, Namte.


Bhotias, Buksa, Jannsari, Khas, Raji, Tharu.

Uttar Pradesh

Bhotia, Buksa, Jaunsari, Kol, Raji, Tharu.

West Bengal

Asur, Khond, Hajong, Ho, Parhaiya, Rabha, Santhals, Savar.

Andaman and Nicobar

Oraons, Onges, Sentinelese, Shompens.

Little Andaman


North-East India

Abhors, Chang, Galang, Mishimi, Singpho, Wancho.

Andhra Pradesh 

Andh and Sadhu Andh, Bhil, Bhaghata, Dhulia, Rona, Kolam, Gond, Thoti, Goundu, Kammara, Savaras, Dabba Yerukula, Sugalis, Nakkala, Pardhan, Gadabas, Chenchus, Chenchawar, Kattunayakan, Jatapus, Manna Dhora

Arunachal Pradesh and Assam 

Singpho, Monpa, Abor, Sherdukpen, Galo, Apatanis, Abor, Chakma, Dimasa, Gangte, Garos, Hajong, Khasis.


Gond, Birjia, Asur, Savar, Parhaiya, Chero, Birhor, Baiga, Baiga, Santhals

Vulnerable Indigenous Groups in Particular

Among the tribal groups, PVTG (Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups) are more vulnerable. Because of this reason, a large portion of the tribal development funds are taken up by more established and assertive tribal communities, so PVTGs need more funds targeted at their development.

In 1975, as a different category named PVTGs, the Government of India started to recognise the most vulnerable tribal groups and designated 52 such groups.

Another 23 classes were added to the list in 1993, making 75 PVTGs out of 705 Scheduled Tribes in all.

The PVTGs in the country are distributed over 18 states and one Union Territory (UT) (2011 census).

What are Tribes and Who are Adivasis?

Adivasis were the first inhabitants of the subcontinent, as their name implies, and once occupied even wider areas than they do at present. None of their histories is known, but it seems that after the invasions of the Indo-Aryan tribes 3,000 years ago, many were driven into the hill regions.

What is the Gap between the 5th and 6th Schedule?

For such regions known as “scheduled areas and tribal areas”, Article 244 in Section X of the constitution provides for a specific form of administration.

In several states, except for the four states of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram, the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution deals with the management and regulation of scheduled areas and scheduled tribes.

Although the sixth scheduled constitution deals with the governance of the tribal regions of Assam Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram in the four northeastern states.

In these states, the tribes in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram did not assimilate well with the lives and ways of other people.

Until now, these places have become anthropological collections.

The tribes also have their origins in their own culture, traditions and tradition in these four nations.

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Why is it Important to Study about Important Tribes in India and Scheduled Tribes in India?

The tribes in India are called “Adivasis” as well. Tribal groups have been recognised as scheduled tribes in Schedule 5, according to the Constitution of India.

In a traditional society, a tribe can be described as a social segment consisting of families linked by lines of economic, social, blood or religious connections and sharing a common dialect and culture. Each tribe has some characteristics (social, political, and cultural) that make it distinct from the other tribes.

India is home to a large proportion of tribal people who, unaffected by the shadows of urban civilization, still remain far apart.

The Chanda Committee in the year 1960 set 5 criteria to include every community/caste in the tribal group in order to recognise and differentiate these groups.

In order to study for your IAS Mains, the question of “major tribes of India” is crucial. Specifically, this subject comes under Human Geography and Culture. It was a recurring part of the Mains’ General Science Paper 1.

Some Facts about Major Tribes in India 

The total population of the Scheduled Tribes in India, as per the 2001 Census, is 84,326,240. 8.2 per cent of the country’s overall population accounts for this. Just 2.4 per cent of the Scheduled Tribe’s share is in urban areas.

We have the highest number of proposed tribes in Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, and Karnataka. This constitutes a healthy 83.2 per cent of the country’s overall Scheduled Tribe population.

The states of Meghalaya, Assam, Jammu and Kashmir, Nagaland, Bihar, Tripura, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Tamil Nadu account for 15.3% of the total population of the Scheduled Tribe. The proportion of the other remaining states is small.

India’s STs make up the highest proportion of the total population in Lakshadweep and Mizoram, closely followed by the Meghalaya and Nagaland states.

The seats of the Scheduled Tribes in the Lok Sabha are reserved. The Lok Sabha For Scheduled Tribes has 47 seats reserved. Representation of the People (Amendment) Act, 2008 provides the P. Act, 1950 as amended vide.

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It is the obligation of the National Commission for the Scheduled Tribes to advise and be a part of the whole process. The NCST must engage in these tribes’ socio-economic development strategies and also measure the success of their rate of development for a given UT/ state. To know more about the major tribes and provisions in our country, go on to UPSC Pathshala content section.

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List of Tribes in India: How Many Tribes in India? 
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List of Tribes in India: How Many Tribes in India? 
For Scheduled Tribes, the Constitution of India provides no description; it is, however, important for UPSC. Read on to know more about the important tribes in India.
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