Maharashtra is home to numerous Scheduled Tribe populations that have a very rich tradition and culture. The Scheduled Tribes or the Tribals as they are called are spread predominantly in the forests and hilly areas of Mumbai to deep interiors of Gadchiroli, Gondia, Chandrapur, Melghat, Yavatmal, Nandurbar, Dhule, Jalgaon to the areas surrounding Thane, Palghar and the Raigad district of the State.

Tribals have close proximity to the forests and wildlife, and enjoy a very symbiotic relationship. Many precise rainfed agriculture or are dependent upon agriculture labour for their survival. Most of them are marginal landowners. They are in need of daily wage labour for almost half of the year or are forced to migrate in search of livelihoods. With great difficulty, the government has finally been able to formulate forest laws that recognize their right over forest produce, and see tribals as protectors of forest instead of destroyers. Laws like PESA and FRA recognize the customs and traditions of the tribals, and aim to bring back their original form of Governance. Yet, these laws are far from being implemented in their true spirit.

Education and health are other important areas for tribal development and these are currently facing enormous challenges. Tribal children are excellent in arts and sports, however, the lack of facilities for deeper engagement and training keeps them struggling.

In this background, the Yashwantrao Chavan Centre has established a Tribal Development Centre, which is a forum for those working on tribal issues. It aims to bring some learnings into policy and promote action to change the ground reality. It creates a level playing field by creating opportunities for tribals to participate in the developmental processes with their own core competencies.


  1. To address the policy gaps for tribal empowerment
  2. To create a forum for policy advocacy
  3. To create a healthy market linkage for tribals
  4. To create a space for tribal socio-cultural and educational advancement.


  1. Vidarbha
  2. Khandesh
  3. Raigad
  4. Thane
  5. Western Maharashtra
  6. Marathwada


The Centre shall have a Steering Committee that shall set the agenda for the Centre and lead policy advocacy. At the end of the year, the outcomes of the initiative will be reviewed to refine our strategies. We believe that the Centre shall contribute to a space at State level that provides a forum to tribal issues and voices in improving livelihoods, conservation, education, health and governance. It will strengthen what exists under various laws and policies and where needed enable creation of new policies. Tribal Development Centre is an effort to explore possibilities for sustainable and dignified livelihood and rightful legal claims of tribals through FRA and PESA in the state.