The Ministry was set up in 1999 after the bifurcation of Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment with the objective of providing more focused approach on the integrated socio-economic development of the Scheduled Tribes (STs), the most underprivileged of the Indian Society, in a coordinated and planned manner. Before the formation of the Ministry, tribal affairs were handled by different Ministries as follows:
1. As a Division of the Ministry of Home Affairs named as ‘Tribal Division’ since independence up to September, 1985.
2. Ministry of Welfare: From September 1985 to May 1998.
3. Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment from May 1998 to September 1999.
The Ministry of Tribal Affairs is the nodal Ministry for overall policy, planning and coordination of programmes for development of ST’s. To this end, Ministry of Tribal Affairs has undertaken activities that follow from the subjects allocated under the Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules, 1961. These include:
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Shri Jaswantsinh Sumanbhai Bhabhor