Tribal woman

Home to a large number of tribal people, known as Adivasis, India has the second largest tribal population in the world. Tribal Communities are a integral segment of Indian society since the days of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. The tribal people through the country have rich traditions, cultures and heritage with unique life styles and customs. Despite some regional variation, the tribes share many common traits, including living in relative geographical isolation, and being relatively more homogeneous and more self-contained than the non-tribal social groups.

The areas inhabited by the tribal constitute a significant part of the under developed areas of the country.  India’s population includes nearly one hundred million tribal people. The two main regions of tribal settlement are the country’s northeastern states bordering China and Burma, and the highlands and plains of its central and southern regions. The latter is home to more than 80 per cent of the tribes, which differ from the northeastern tribes in ethnicity and in having experienced greater “intrusion of the Indian mainstream and of the pan-Indian model of the state, society, economy and culture”. There are also differences in the extent to which the tribes interact with non-tribal communities. While the northeastern tribes are usually isolated communities, the tribes in peninsular India may at times coexist with non-tribal people.

The Scheduled Areas and Scheduled Tribes Commission appointed by the President of India on 28 April 1960 pursuant to Article 339 of the Constitution of India in its report of 14 October 1961 stated that “As these groups are presumed to form the oldest ethnological sector of the population, the term “Adivasi” (‘Adi’= original and ‘Vasi’= inhabitant) has become current among certain people. The International Labour Organization has classified such people as “indigenous”. The Government of India has initiated a number of steps to develop socio economic conditions of tribal population in the country. 

One of those initiatives led to the formation of Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India Limited (TRIFED).

Coming into existence in 1987, TRIFED is a national-level apex organisation functioning under the administrative control of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs. TRIFED has its Head Office located in New Delhi and has a network of 15 Regional Offices located at various places in the country.