The Ministry was established in 1999 after the bifurcation of Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment with the objective of providing a more focused approach towards the integrated socio-economic development of the Scheduled Tribes (the most underprivileged section of the Indian Society) in a coordinated and planned manner. Before the creation of the Ministry, tribal affairs were handled by different Ministries at different points in time.
The Ministry of Tribal Affairs is functioning ambit the overall guidance of the Union Minister of Tribal Affairs and assisted by a Minister of State. The administrative head of Ministry is Secretary who is helped by two Joint Secretaries, one Deputy Director General, and two Economic Advisors. Financial Advisor helps the Ministry in the internal finance and budget matters, where the Chief Controller of Accounts assist in budget/expenditure control.
The Ministry is bifurcated into Divisions/ Branches and Sections/units. The Ministry of Tribal Affairs has an allowed strength of 139 employees with a working strength of 110 officials. There are 45 Group A posts, 59 Group B posts (Gazetted/non-Gazetted), 35 Group C posts, which covers 16 formerly Group D posts which are now categorised as Group C posts as per Sixth Central Pay Commissions recommendations.
The programmes and projects of the Ministry are intended to support and supplement the efforts, primarily of other Central Ministries, the State Governments and partly of voluntary organizations via financial assistance and to fill critical gaps within institutions and programmes, taking into account the situation of STs. The basic responsibility for promoting the interests of Scheduled Tribes rests with all the Central Ministries. The Ministry supplements their efforts by way of different developmental interventions in critical sectors through specially tailored schemes. These programmes comprising of economic, educational and social development through institution building are administered by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs and are implemented mainly by the State Governments/ Union Territory Administrations.
The Ministry of Tribal Affairs is the major Ministry for overall policy planning and coordination of programmes for the development of STs. In short, the Ministry has undertaken activities that follow under the subjects allocated in the Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules, 1961 and amendment(s) thereafter. The subjects given to the Ministry of Tribal Affairs are as follows:
It covers all tribal people and all areas with tribal population across the country.
- Social security and social insurance to the Scheduled Tribes
- Tribal Welfare: Planning, project formulation, research, evaluation, statistics and training
- Promotion and development of voluntary efforts on tribal welfare
- Development of Scheduled Tribes
- Scheduled Areas
- Monitoring of ST Welfare Grants, based on the framework and mechanism designed by NITI Ayog
- The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes