In Rajasthan, India’s largest state (342,239 sq kms), tribals account for 13.48% of the total population. The bulk of the tribal population resides in five southern districts of Rajasthan which are collectively referred to as ‘Scheduled Areas’. The ‘Scheduled Areas’ -- which have the highest concentration of the economically weaker tribal sections of the society (4,724,622, as per Census 2011) -- include: Udaipur, Dungarpur, Banswara, Sirohi (Abu Road Block) and Pratapgarh districts. The tribal populace is dispersed in 27 Blocks and 4544 villages of these five districts.
Based on the concentration of the economically weaker sections of tribals in Rajasthan, 12 tribes have been listed as Scheduled Tribes under Article 342 (1) of the Constitution. Among these, the prominent ones are the Meenas, Bheels, Damors, Dhankas, Garasias and Saharias. The Meenas constitute 53.5% of the total tribal population in the State, followed by the Bhils at 39.65%, both together totaling to 93%. The Koli Dorr is the smallest tribe of Rajasthan, with a population of barely less than a 100. As for geographical dispersal, Banswara, at 72.30%, has the highest concentration of the Scheduled Tribes.
The bulk of the tribal population is engaged in primary sector as cultivators or agricultural labourers.
The Central as well as the State Governments are running/supporting several schemes for the tribals, particularly in the Scheduled Areas. These include up-gradation of merit and post-matric scholarships for ST students, education of tribal girls in low literacy pockets, vocational training programs for the tribal youth, the Rajiv Gandhi National Fellowship (RGNF) and the National Overseas Scholarship Scheme for Scheduled Tribes (Non-Plan), besides providing 100% grant-in-aid for minor forest produce (MFP) operations in the areas and several other loan/micro-credit schemes.