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Baiga Tribes

Why is it in the news?

  • Recently, the Baiga Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG) in Chhattisgarh received habitat rights.
  • Kamar PVTG was the first to receive habitat rights in Chhattisgarh after which 19 Baiga villages with a population of 6,483 people in Gaurela block obtained habitat rights.

Habitat Rights and PVTGs

About

  • Habitat rights provide rights over customary territory, cultural practices, livelihood means, biodiversity knowledge, and natural resource use.
  • They safeguard traditional livelihoods and ecological knowledge.
  • Habitat rights empower PVTG communities to develop their habitats and align with government schemes.

Legal Framework for Habitat Rights

  • Habitat rights for PVTGs are granted under Section 3(1)(e) of the Forest Rights Act (FRA) 2006.
  • FRA defines habitat as the customary habitat of primitive tribal groups and other forest-dwelling Scheduled Tribes.
  • Use of Habitat Rights to protect the environment
  • Habitat rights can be used to protect habitats from harmful developmental activities.
  • Consent and consultation of the Gram Sabha are required for any such activities.
  • Habitat rights have legal protection under various acts, including the Forest Conservation Act and Land Acquisition law.

PVTGs and their Characteristics

  • PVTGs are tribal communities with technological backwardness, low literacy, stagnant or declining population growth, and subsistence economies.
  • They often reside in remote, isolated areas with low health indices.
  • India recognizes 75 PVTGs in 18 states and one Union Territory.

Recognition of Habitat Rights

  • Out of 75 PVTGs in India, only three have received habitat rights.
  • Bharia PVTG in Madhya Pradesh was the first, followed by Kamar and Baiga tribes in Chhattisgarh.

PVTGs in Chattisgarh

  • Chhattisgarh has seven PVTGs residing in 17 out of the state’s 33 districts. These include Kamar, Baiga, Pahadi Korba, Abujhmadiya, Birhor, Pando, and Bhujia.
  • The total population of PVTGs in Chhattisgarh is approximately 2.50 lakh.
  • The determination of habitat involves consultations with tribal leaders and government officials from Forest, Revenue, Tribal, and Panchayati Raj departments.
  • The process follows detailed guidelines provided by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs.
  • 22 Para/Tola (hamlets) with a population of around 2,500 from the Kamar tribe in Dhamtari district have received habitat rights.
  • Out of the 88,317 Baiga tribes, 6,483 have obtained habitat rights.

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