ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Alienation of Tribal Lands in Tamil Nadu

This paper reviews the results of two studies conducted in 1989 and 1998 on tribal land alienation. Despite government action and legislation, land alienation has not been checked but has increased. Transfer of land from tribals to non-tribals has happened largely through sale driven by consumption needs and also through indebtedness. As development makes land more attractive, tribals will need protection - and urgently.

Alienation of Tribal Lands in Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu THE framers of the Constitution taking note of the socio-economic and educational backwardness of the Scheduled Tribes have provided comprehensive safeguards in the statutes. Article 46 lays down the broad policy frame mentioning, inter alia, that the states shall protect the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes from social injustice and all forms of exploitations Articles 15(4), 16(4), 19(5), Fifth Schedule and Sixth Schedule, etc, eloquently spell out the dynamics of the protective policy. Under the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution the governor has been vested with wide powers for making regulations for good government of the scheduled areas. In particular, such regulations may provide for the protection of the interests of the Scheduled Tribe in land and regulation of the business of moneylending. But, in reality, the picture is different. Many state governments having scheduled areas have not made use of the regulation making provisions under the Fifth Schedule. Partly the implementation continues to be weak either due to loopholes in the laws or due to inadequate implementing machinery, liking advantage of the loopholes in the laws, the forces of exploitation are able to circumvent the legislative provisions. The legal provisions have been inadequate in tackling the problem in all its dimensions and the implementation process has been so weak as to render them ineffective. Apart from this, the tribals due to social customs and traditions and poor economic base are prone to get heavily indebted and they have to obtain credit at extremely exploitative terms and conditions from moneylenders which results in the mortgaging of lands and the eventual alienation of such land. Non-tribals have also adopted various fraudulent methods to usurp land and evade the laws.

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