Scheduled Areas

Scheduled Areas

Constitutional Debate

  • There  was  fierce  debate  regarding  the  provisions  of  the  5th  &  6th  Schedule  in  the  Constitutional Assembly. 
    • Advocates of Assimilation argued – Creation of Autonomous  Districts  and  Regional  Councils  will lead  to  their disassociation  from  the  rest of  the country & centre-state relationship  should  not  be  altered  for  the  Tribal  and  Scheduled  Areas. 
    • Some were also  in  the  favour  of  complete  isolation  of  the  tribals.
  • However,  the  provisions  of  the  fifth  and  sixth schedule aim  at  gradual  integration  of the tribal  into  the mainstream  with their own  pace  and  wish.  This  was further stamped when Nehru laid down the Policy of Panchsheel for Tribals. 
Schedule 5 Administration and Control of Scheduled Areas and Scheduled Tribes in any  states except four states –Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, Mizoram(AMTM)
Schedule 6 Administrations of Tribal Areas in four states of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, Mizoram
(we will discuss about 6th Schedule in next article. For more, Click here)


  • Interests of Schedule Tribes outside the North East are protected by Fifth Schedule
  • 5th Schedule is concerned with administration of Scheduled Areas and Scheduled Tribes in any  states except four states –Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, Mizoram (AMTM) Scheduled area has more than 50 percent tribal population.

Why this category was created?

  • Scheduled Areas need to be treated differently from other areas in country because they are inhabited by aboriginal who are socially and economically backward and special efforts are needed to  improve their condition.

Features of Schedule 5

  • President is empowered to declare an area to be Scheduled Area 
  • Executive Power of state extend to Scheduled Area but Governor has special responsibility 
  • Each State having Scheduled Area has to establish Tribal Advisory Council (TAC) to advise on welfare and advancement of Scheduled Tribes consisting of not more than 20 members,  3/4 of whom must be Tribal Representatives in State  Legislative assembly (Prelims  : TAC is constitutional body)
  • State having ST population but not SA can also constitute TAC if President so desire
  • Governor can direct that particular act of Parliament or State Legislature is not applicable there or applicable with certain modifications and exceptions + Can make regulations for peace and good governance in consultation with TAC  after getting assent of President which include transfer of land among members, regulate business of money lending etc
  • Central Government also give Special Financial Assistance to States under Article  275 for implementation of schemes for development of STs
  • President  should appoint a Commission to Report on Administration of these areas at any time but compulsorily after 10 years. Two commissions till date
1960 UN Dhebar Commission
2002 Dilip Singh Bhuria Commission
  • Amendment of Schedule 5 : Parliament may from time to time by law (ie Simple Majority) amend by way of addition, variation or repeal any of provision of this schedule . No such law shall be deemed to be Amendment under Article 368

Analysis – Demand of the areas under 5th Schedule to Transfer to 6th Schedule

  1. Fifth  Schedule  applies  to  an  overwhelming  majority  of  India’s  tribes  in  9  States.  But,  Fifth Schedule  has  failed  to  create desired  impact  because  it  has  never  been  applied  the way  it should have been. 
  2. 5th Schedule has limited  autonomy provisions  compared to 6th  Schedule.
  3. Issues with TAC:
    • In fifth schedule, tribal advisory council have only advisory powers . Unlike  the autonomous district councils (ADCs), which have legislative and financial powers .
    • No clarity on the composition of TAC, especially the remaining one-fourth of the membership
    • Sometimes cabinet ministers from tribal communities are also appointed as members, which is a conflict of interest because the person heading the state cabinet also chairs the TAC.
  4. ADCs have considerable autonomy
    • They receive funds from consolidated fund of  India to finance schemes for development, health, education, roads
    • Have real powers to make laws

Otherwise  the  implementation  of  PESA  needs  to  be  done  earnestly.  It  has  been  suffering  from  severely  poor implementation,  with  states  showing  disdain  towards  the  Act.  

States with Schedule 5 Areas

Rajasthan Andhra Pradesh
Gujarat Odisha
Madhya Pradesh Jharkhand
Maharashtra Himachal Pradesh

2018 : Area under Schedule 5 has been extended in Rajasthan.  Scheduled Tribes residing in Banswara, Dungarpur, Pratapgarh, and partial areas of Udaipur, Rajsamand, Chittorgarh, Pali and Sirohi districts of Rajasthan will get benefits of protective measures available under the Fifth Schedule

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