Their numbers have declined from 1.64 crore in 2001 to 0.78 crore in 2011.
With 21.57 lakh, Meghalaya has the highest number of Christian STs, followed by Nagaland with 16.80 lakh. Jammu and Kashmir has the highest number of Muslim STs with 1.32 lakh adherents followed by Maharashtra with 1.12 lakh.
There are a total of 645 distinctive tribes India. Right wing groups allege that the tribals are a ripe target for proselytizers because of their economic backwardness.
Article 366 (25) of the Constitution of India refers to Scheduled Tribes as those communities who are scheduled in accordance with Article 342 of the Constitution.
Article 342 lays down who can include or exclude a group from Scheduled Tribes.
The criterion, not spelt out in the Constitution but has become well established, followed for specification of a community as scheduled tribes are: indications of primitive traits, distinctive culture, geographical isolation, shyness of contact with the community at large, and backwardness.