Report of the National Commission for Denotified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes (Idate Commission)


The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India, established the National Commission for Denotified, Nomadic and Semi Nomadic Tribes in 2005. The Commission, chaired by Balkrishna Sidram Renke, submitted its report in 2008. It made several recommendations, including reservations for all Denotified Tribes (DNTs), Nomadic Tribes (NTs) and Semi-Nomadic Tribes (SNTs).

The Commission was reconstituted in 2015 under the chairmanship of Bhiku Ramji Idate. Its mandate included preparing a state-wise list DNTs, NTs and SNTs. It also had to identify regions in the country with large DNT populations, evaluate the current welfare of these communities and suggest policy measures to be undertaken by state and union governments.

The Commission conducted more than 300 field visits in all 36 states and union territories of India. It also undertook 9,000 household surveys, more than 600 group discussions and one case-study from each community. In 2016, the Commission also released a draftlist of DNTs, NTs, and SNTs in the country.

The 276-page report contains eight chapters divided across three parts: Introduction (Chapter 1); Historical and Socio-cultural Background (Chapter 2); Genesis of Criminal Tribes- Criminal Acts, Policies & beyond (Chapter 3); Review of Previous Studies (Chapter 4); An Overview of Existing Programmes and Policies in States (Chapter 5); Methodology and Approach (Chapter 6); Work Done by the Commission (Chapter 7); and Conclusion and Recommendations (Chapter 8). The report also carries a state-wise list of DNTs, NTs, and SNTs as an annexure.


  1. The tribes termed ‘denotifed’ include those communities which had been included in the Criminal Tribes Acts passed by the British government in India. While the acts were initially applied only in the Punjab and North West provinces, they were later implemented all across the country.

  2. The report notes two central government schemes, in place since 2014-15, aimed towards welfare of these communities. These are the Dr. Ambedkar Pre-Matric and Post-Matric Scholarship for DNTs and the Nanaji Deshmukh Scheme of Construction of Hostels for DNT Boys and Girls.

  3. As per the report, states including Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, among others had implemented schemes for DNTs, NTs and SNTs. The communities in these states show some signs of economic development. But in many others, these communities had failed to benefit from the existing schemes.

  4. Some state-level schemes were Savitribai Phule Scholarship for V.J.N.T. and S.B.C. Girl Students (Maharashtra) and the Talent Pool scheme for Nomadic and Denotified Tribe students (Gujarat). Other provisions also outlined in the report included legal aid to Scheduled Castes and Vimukta Jatis (Haryana), maintenance of ashrama schools (Karnataka) and industrial training centres for Denotified Tribes (Uttar Pradesh).

  5. The Commission observed a diverse range of economic conditions within the community. Some groups owned houses and land but a majority were owned by neither and were dependent upon daily wage labour.

  6. Despite their precarious circumstances, the communities had “a strong sense of identity and culture”, the report notes. The Commission also records the presence of a strong oral tradition in the communities which carried stories of their origins.

  7. The reported states that at the time of its study there was no list of DNT, NT and SNT communities maintained by the central government. Such lists were also absent in several of the states. Further, the communities had no say in the decision-making processes of either local or state-level politics.

  8. In the households surveyed, around 60 per cent of women from DNTs and NTs had never attended schools. Of the remaining 40 per cent, none were formally educated beyond secondary school.

  9. Survey results showed that the annual family income of nearly 50 per cent of the respondents was less than Rs. 50,000 in 2016-17. Many respondents mentioned that they kept animals, begged or bartered their labour in exchange for food to supplement their other income. Over 66 per cent of people who reported having bank accounts had made no savings since the previous year.

  10. The report also found that 50 per cent of respondents lived in semi-pucca housing whereas eight per cent lived in tents. Two-thirds (65 per cent) of households lacked toilet facilities and had to defecate in open spaces.

  11. The Commission recommends the creation of a permanent commission for DNTs, NTs and SNTs. This permanent commission will hear proposals and grievances of people from these communities and coordinate with the state and central governments to implement the necessary course of action.

  12. Some of the communities are in Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe and Other Backward Class lists. Several are excluded from any scheduled lists made by the government. The Commission suggests their inclusion in at least one scheduled list. It also advocates for a thorough caste-based census which would include the DNT, NT and SNT communities.

  13. The Commission also recommends that Governors should nominate at least one member from DNT, NT and SNT communities to legislative assemblies or councils of states home to a significant number of people belonging to these communities.

  14. It also suggests that school syllabi carry sections on the history of these communities in order to encourage sensitivity and awareness among people.

    Focus and Factoids by Siddhant Garud.


National Commission for Denotified, Nomadic, and Semi Nomadic Tribes

The members of the commission were: Bhiku Ramji Idate (Chairman), Shravan Singh Rathod (Member) and B.K. Prasad (Member Secretary)


Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India, New Delhi


Dec, 2021