A President of tribal origin is great news for the tribes of India

It is indeed a historic moment for the tribes of India to have in the highest position of the country a person of tribal origin who empathises with their adversities.

The President of India, being specially empowered under the Constitution for the protection and upliftment of the scheduled tribes, can actually do a lot for them-over and above what the government is already doing.

Comprising 700 disparate groups spread over a population of 10.45 crores, the recent national family health survey (NFHS V) data is revealing: 71% of the population in scheduled tribe households rests in the two lowest wealth quintiles, with 46.3% of the population in the lowest quintile - against an average of 20% figure for other categories. Literacy is the lowest among the scheduled tribes, with 35% scheduled tribe women having had no education at all. At the secondary school level, children ..

Only 55% of the scheduled tribes population had access to a doctor compared with 70% for the remaining population. Scheduled tribe women remain amenorrhoeic longer (6.2 months) than all other categories of women. Only 69% of scheduled tribe households have access to toilets compared with 93% among other categories.