Katkari Tribe in India

Of the 75 Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) in India as per the classification of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Katkari is an Indian Tribe of Maharashtra. 

Why is it in the news? (as of 2020)

Sunil Pawar along with a group of other 10 – 12 young Katkari boys started selling Giloy and other products online with the help of facilities available under the Pradhan Mantri Van Dhan Yojana (PMVDY). They bridged the gap between local marketing and urban selling by reaching out to retailers like D-Mart and selling their local produce online and in urban markets. 

In this article, we shall read at length about the Katkari Tribe and the story of Shahpur’s Katkari tribal youth who made local medicinal produce easily available to people through various mediums and platforms. The information on this tribe is also important for IAS Exam aspirants. 

Katkari Tribe [UPSC Notes]:-Download PDF Here

What is the Katkari Tribe?

  • The Katkaris are majorly located in districts of Maharashtra including Raigad, parts of Palghar, Ratnagiri and Thane, and also a small population of this tribe can be found in areas of Gujarat
  • The Katkari people are also known as Kathodis because of their old occupation of making Katha, the thickened sap from the wood of Khair 
  • The name ‘Katkari’ comes from a forest based activity, which involves the making and bartering ‘Catechu’ from Khair tree
  • They serve as agricultural labourers and sell firewood and some jungle fruits
  • They are bilingual and speak in Marathi or Katkari language, which is a Marathi-Konkani dialect
  • The tribe also celebrate a festival called ‘Undir Navmi which is dedicated to the rodent
  • In terms of occupation, apart from selling firewood and agricultural products, they are also take up fishing for domestic consumption, coal making and brick manufacturing

UPSC aspirants can also refer to the links below for exam preparation:

Shahpur’s Katkari Tribal Youth – Sunil Pawar

The government has initiated various schemes and policies under which the people from different tribes or rural/backward areas can work for their prosperity and growth. Taking complete advantage of one such scheme, the Pradhan Mantri Van Dhan Yojana (PMVDY), a Katkari Tribal youth, named Sunil Pawar spread the market for the local produce to online mediums. 

“Adivasi Ekatmik Samajik Sanstha” of Shahapur in Thane is known to market Giloy and other products. Katkari Sunil Pawar along with a group of his friends started selling these products to local markets and then through the PMVDY run by Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India (TRIFED) got assistance and created a website and started selling the goods online and in larger markets.

In 2020, when the country was hit by the Novel Coronavirus, and many people were left jobless, this tribe managed to earn their livelihood during the tough times and their business flourished. 

What is Giloy?

Giloy is a medicinal plant with huge demand from pharmaceutical companies. It is an ayurvedic herb and has been used to make medicines for the past thousands of decades. 

Given below are links to a few more articles which can help candidates know more about the art, culture and tribes of India. Refer to the following:

About PM Van Dhan Yojana 

  • The Ministry of Tribal Affairs and Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India (TRIFED) launched the Van Dhan scheme in 2018 intending to improve the tribal income through value addition of tribal products
  • The scheme aims at the economic development of tribals involved in the collection of Minor Food Produces (MFPs)
  • PM Van Dhan Yojana was implemented at four levels:
    • National Level – Nodal Department is the Ministry of Tribal Affairs
    • Central Level – The Nodal Agency is TRIFED India (Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India)
    • State Level – State Nodal Agencies for Minor Forest Produce Schemes (MFP) and District Collectors
    • Local Level – A Self Help Group consisting of approx 30 members to form a Van Dhan Vikas Samuh

To read in detail about the Pradhan Mantri Van Dhan Yojana, candidates can visit the linked article and get all the relevant information about the scheme. 

Katkari Tribe [UPSC Notes]:-Download PDF Here

Candidates can also check the detailed UPSC Syllabus for the prelims and mains examination at the linked article and start their preparation accordingly. 

Frequently Asked Questions about Katkari Tribe

Who are the Katkari Tribes?

Katkari is one of the 75 Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups, as per the classification by Ministry of Home Affairs. It is a primitive tribe found in Maharashtra (Pune, Raigad and Thane districts) and parts of Gujarat.

Why were the Katkari Tribes classified under the Criminal Tribes Act and what is their current classification?

Katkaris are former criminal tribes under the Criminal Tribes Act, 1871, an inhuman piece of legislation enforced during the British rule. The act describes certain groups of people as “habitually criminal” and puts restrictions on their movements which led to alienation, stereotyping and harassment, to say the least. After independence, the Act was repealed resulting in more than 20 lakh tribal people across the country being decriminalized. However, the stigma associated with the act continues to haunt the Katkaris and several tribals to this day. Presently, the Katkaris are classified as Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs).

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