The members of the Ex-criminal tribes are extremely poor having no land or any settled profession. The Government has been giving them every possible help and encouragement for settling down in homes and adopting normal ways of living. Rehabilitation grants were given to a number of families.
Colonization schemes in U.P. and Bombay produced useful results. Welfare and rehabilitation activities are continuing under the Five Year Plans. Through Sanskar Kendras and Balwadies and 52 Ashram schools, special efforts are being made to wean the children of such tribes from criminal habit. Adults will be taught better ways of living through community centres. Following is a detailed account of the rehabilitation work in relation to criminal tribes done in various States.
The population of ex-criminal tribes in Rajasthan is about 80,000. Most of these are Kanjars, Sansies and Bavarias spread over different parts of the State. Under the First Five Year Plan, subsidy for house building was given to the members of these tribes and various civic amenities such as panchayat ghars, schools, drinking water wells, etc., were also provided to develop a healthy social life in them.
Agricultural families were given grants-in-aid for purchase of seeds, implements, and bullocks, and 2 model villages in Bundi, Ganga Nagar district were set up. In order to encourage education and training, the Government set up 5 Students’ Hostels, 6 Training-cum-Production Centres, Social Education Centres and provided scholarships to students of such tribes. Four Social Education Centres, one Hostel, 6 Nursery Schools, 3 Community Centres. 2 Work Centres and a Colony with all facilities like Panchayat Ghar, School, Children’s Park, etc., had been set up. In addition under the centrally sponsored programme, 3 Model Colonies had been established for the rehabilitation of Sansies and Kanjars.
There are 2,576 families of ex-criminal tribes in Bihar. Soon after the repeal of the Criminal Tribes Act in 1952, the management of the Dom settlement was transferred from the Salvation Army to the Bihar Harijan Sevak Sangh which now manages it with the help of Government grants. The Government also subsidizes the construction of houses for ex- criminal tribes. It has also started cottage industries, hostels, schools, medical centres and co-operative societies for such tribes.
3. Uttar Pradesh.
The total population of ex-criminal tribes in Uttar Pradesh is estimated at 16 lakhs. Even before the repeal of the Criminal Tribes Act, several reformation colonies had been established in this state including those at Lucknow, Kanpur, Gorakhpur and Moradabad. As a result of the repeal of the Act the rehabilitation work was speeded up.
Numerous families of ex-criminal tribes were settled as agricultural colonies in District Kheri. Each such family was provided with agricultural land, implements, hutments, tacavi loans and grants for purchase of bullocks and maintenance, etc. A number of co-operative societies, with Government participation in their share capital were also established. These societies did commendable work in weaning the members of ex-criminal tribes from their habitual anti-social practices.
Under the centrally sponsored schemes, a colony of ‘Kabutri Nat,’ a vagrant tribe, was established in Jhansi District. In the districts of Allahabad,’ Azamgarh, Basti, Goarkhpur, Hardoi, Meerut, Jaunpur, Deoria, Barabanki and Sitapur 10 Development blocks were established for the benefit of ex- criminal tribes.
The population of ex-criminal tribes in Orissa is about 100,000. These are mainly concentrated in the districts of Ganjam, Karpat, Sambhalpur, Sundergarh, Bolangis and Cuttack.
Under the First Five Year Plan, 6 adult education centres and 3 basic schools were started in the districts of Cuttack, Ganjam, Karpat and Sundergarh for the welfare of such tribes. These are continuing under the Second Five Year Plan. Other schemes for the welfare of ex-criminal tribes include the grant of stipends to grownup boys for training as artisans, subsidies for building houses, loans for agricultural operations, and medical aid and drinking water facilities.
There are 29 ex-criminal tribes in Maharashtra. The Government provides various facilities for the development and resettlement of these tribes. It sanctioned the opening of 5 Ashram Schools- cum-Sanskar Kendras for the promotion of education among these tribes. Of these, 2 were transferred to Mysore at the time of the re-organization of states.
In these schools, books and stationary are supplied free to all pupils. Every year, scholarships are also given to students of higher classes. Recently, 6 community centres, 4 primary schools and 7 hostels, have been opened for the exclusive benefit of these tribes.
Assistance is also made available to ex-criminal tribes for cultivation of land, poultry farming, supply of seeds and implements. Five Industrial Training Centres have been organised at Ahmedabad, Sholapur, Bijapur, Hubli and Gadag where training is imparted in carpentry, smithy and tailoring.
The trainees are granted monthly stipend of Rs. 20 each, and at the completion of their course, they are given financial assistance to enable them to settle in industry. Government has also authorised the Deputy Registrar to sanction financial assistance up to Rs. 2,000 to the artisans of such tribes for the development of cottage industries. One industrial Home at Jamnagar and another at Port Victor have also been started.
6. Andhra Pradesh.
The total population of ex-criminal tribes in Andhra Pradesh is about 202,000. It is spread all over the state. The tribes mostly comprise the Sanglis or Lambadies, Yenadis, Donga, Dasaries, or Katheras, Nirankaries, etc., the majority of whom are still in a nomadic stage. All possible steps are being taken to improve their social and economic status.
Agricultural colonies have been formed in Chitoor, Nellore, Kurnool, Khamman, Warangal, Mahboob Nagar and Hyderabad districts, to arrange for free supply of agricultural implements, seeds, manure and the like to ex- criminal tribes. Most of such colonies have educational facilities, parks, radios, recreation facilities, etc. Co-operative societies have been organised to change their mental outlook and to settle them as responsible citizens on land.
At present 34 elementary schools, 40 other schools, 2 night schools and 3 teachers’ training centres are working in Tilangana Area alone for the exclusive benefit of ex-criminal tribes and their children. The ex-criminal tribes are treated at par with scheduled castes for educational and other facilities. They are given free education, free supply of books, clothing, midday meals, etc. The children of ex-criminal tribes in schools and colleges are given scholarships. A good many girls receive training in mid-wifery at Government cost.
7. West Bengal.
In West Bengal, the ex-criminal tribes comprise, in the main, the Bodiyas, the Bhores, the Bhadras, the Mahaya Doms, the Gonds and the Lodhas.
Since the repeal of the Criminal Tribes Act, it has become the responsibility of the Government to rehabilitate these people. The main items on which money is spent are the provision of facilities to ex-criminal tribes, viz., water supply, reclamation of waste land, building of houses and acquiring of agricultural land.