Indigenous people today are arguably among the most disadvantaged and vulnerable groups in the world. The international community now recognizes that special measures are required to protect their rights and maintain their distinct cultures and way of life.
Although tribal communities are found everywhere in India, they have a significant presence in Jharkhand, Arunachal Pradesh, West Bengal, Sikkim, Meghalaya, Tripura, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur and Mizoram. A total of 100 million tribal people live in India, constituting 8.6 percent of the population.
Some 705 ethnic groups are officially recognized as scheduled tribes, although there are several ethnic groups that are also considered scheduled tribes but are not officially recognized.