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Launch a national tribal health mission

GS Paper 2

Syllabus: Vulnerable section of society


Source: The Hindu

Context: The Hindu editorial section

Direction: Make note of important few stats and 1-2 recommendations.

Issues concerning Tribals (health-related):

  • As per ‘The Lancet: ‘Indigenous and Tribal Peoples’ Health’ (2016)’: India has the second highest infant mortality rate for the tribal people, next only to Pakistan.
  • Child malnutrition is 50% higher in tribal children: 42% compared to 28% in others
  • Nearly five and a half crores live outside the Scheduled Areas, as a scattered and marginalized minority. They are the most powerless.
  • Malaria and tuberculosis are three to 11 times more common among the tribal people.
  • Poor health Infrastructure: There is a 27% to 40% deficit in the number of Primary health facilities, and a 33% to 84% deficit in medical doctors in tribal areas.
  • Low participation: Seventh, there is hardly any participation of the tribal people – locally or at the State or national level – in designing, planning or delivering health care to them.
  • Financial outlay under the Tribal Sub-Plan (TSP), equal to the percentage of the ST population in the State, has been completely flouted by all States.


  • Launch a National Tribal Health Action Plan to bring the status of health and healthcare at par with the respective State averages in the next 10 years.
  • Address 10 priority health problems, the health care gap, the human resource gap and the governance problems.
  • Allocation of additional money so that the per capita government health expenditure on tribal people becomes equal to the stated goal of the National Health Policy (2017), i.e., 2.5% of the per capita GDP.
  • Mission mode implementation: The Health Minister and the 10 States with a sizable tribal population should take the initiative.


The tribal healthcare system is sick, and tribal people need more substantive solutions. We need to move from symbolic gestures to substantive promises, from promises to a comprehensive action plan, and from an action plan to realising the goal of a healthy tribal people. If actualised, the Tribal Health Mission can be the path to a peaceful health revolution for the 11 crore tribal people.


Insta Links

Issues related to SC/ST


Mains Link

Q. Tribal groups are at different stages of social, economic and educational development; hence one size fits all approach will not work. Evaluate the various policies aimed at the development of tribal communities in India. (15M)


Prelims Link

If a particular area is brought under the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution of India, which one of the following statements best reflects its consequence of it? (UPSC 2022)

(a) This would prevent the transfer of land of tribal people to non-tribal people.

(b) This would create a local self-governing body in that area.

(c) This would convert that area into a Union Territory.

(d) The State having such areas would be declared a Special Category State.

Answer – A 

Fifth Schedule of the Indian Constitution deals with the control and administration of the Scheduled Areas and Schedule tribes in different states except for the states coming under the Sixth Schedule (Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Tripura).

Governor is empowered under it, to prohibit or restrict the transfer of land by or among the member of ST, regulate the business of money-lending in relation to ST, and regulate the allotment of the land to the members of ST.