The Ministry of Tribal Affairs under the Government of India was set up in 1999 with the objective of providing a more focused approach towards the integrated socio-economic development of the Scheduled Tribes (the most underprivileged section of the Indian society) in a coordinated and planned manner. The Ministry of Tribal Affairs is the Nodal Ministry for overall policy planning and coordination of programmes for development of Scheduled Tribes. Accordingly, most of the States including our neighboring North Eastern States and Union Territories in India have already set up their own separate Department of Tribal Affairs for effective coordination with the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Government of India and, focused planning and implementation of programmes in the State and UTs.
Whereas, in the State of Nagaland, presently, the different programmes and schemes under the Ministry of Tribal Affairs are scattered under different Departments of the State like the Planning, Social Welfare, Forest & Home Department (Home Branch) and Higher Education. It has resulted in lack of co-ordination and supervision in the State for the activities, schemes and programmes under Ministry of Tribal Affairs. It is, therefore, felt there is an immediate need and time has come for the State of Nagaland to set up separate Department of Tribal Affairs in order to effectively implement different Welfare Schemes and programme for the Scheduled Tribe Community in Nagaland which is predominantly a tribal dominated State. As such, a separate and dedicated Department of Tribal Affairs shall be in a direct position to focus, plan and implement programmes effectively as per the mandate under the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Government of India.
Nagaland is pre-dominantly tribal and the assistance of the Government of India from the Ministry of Tribal Affairs for the above programmes and projects may be accessed for the upliftment of the weaker section and especially for the remotest part of the State which is inhabited by the four Districts of Eastern Nagaland. The Nagas belong to multi-ethnic groups and sub-groups. Each group has its distinct language and well demarcated ethnic territory.
The total area of the State is 16,579 sq. kms with a population of 19,78,502 as per 2011 census. The density of the population is 119 per sq. km and the literacy rate of the State is 79.55 percent (Male-82.75 percent and Female 76.11 percent). The density of the population is 119 per.sq.km.
The Cabinet in its meeting held on 3rd August, 2019 created a new Department of Tribal Affairs and accordingly, the P&AR Department issued a Notification vide No. AR-15/1/85 (Pt) dated 5th August, 2019.