Ranchi: The Census of India in 2011 widely undercounted the tribal population in Jharkhand because of seasonal migration, Rameshwar Oraon, the chairman of the National Commission for the Scheduled Tribes, said on Friday.

“As per the Census report of 2011 the tribal population is 26 per cent, but I think the tribal population in the state is more than 32 per cent,” Oraon told reporters here.

The Census was conducted in February when tribal people migrate to other states for farm work, he said, adding he had raised the issue with the Registrar General of India.

“Jharkhand tribals working in other states should be counted and added to the state’s tribal population,” he said.

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Oraon expressed unhappiness over the way the tribal sub-plan fund is treated in Jharkhand, saying there is large-scale diversion of money to other purposes.

“In Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, the funds are transferred directly to tribal welfare department. Jharkhand should also follow the same system and set the targeted development of the tribal people.”

The quality of education, health and other systems meant for the tribals were not functioning properly in Jharkhand, he said.

“The benefits of Food Security Act are not reaching the tribal people. More than 1,400 cases of atrocities on tribals, including matters related to land, are pending,” he said.

The land of the tribal people was being transferred to non-tribal people despite the existence of two laws in Jharkhand, Oraon said.

“Tribals’ mainstay is farming. About 57 percent tribals in Jharkhand depend on farming. On one hand, land is grabbed and on the other the irrigation facilities are not in good shape in the state”.

Oraon expressed concern over declining population of 95 primitive tribes in the country and called for governmental intervention. 

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