New Delhi, Dec 6 (PTI) There has been a considerable improvement in living conditions of the Scheduled Tribes in India over the years, the government informed Lok Sabha on Monday citing data from decennial census, management information system and sample surveys.

However, there are still gaps in human development indicators between Scheduled Tribes and all India population, it said.

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"Data pertaining to decennial census, management information system and sample surveys by different ministries and departments reveal that there have been considerable improvements in living conditions of Scheduled Tribes over the years," Minister of State For Tribal Affairs Renuka Singh Saruta said in response to a question.

For example, the literacy rate of Scheduled Tribes has improved from 47.1 per cent in 2001 to 59 per cent in 2011. The Periodic Labour Force Survey report (July 2019-June 2020) reveals that the literacy rate for STs has increased to 70.1 per cent, she said.

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Citing a report by the Union Education Ministry, Saruta said the gross enrolment ratio for Scheduled Tribes students at the senior secondary (classes nine to 10) level has increased from 62.4 per cent in 2012-13 to 76.7 per cent in 2019-20.

According to the National Family Health Surveys, in Scheduled Tribes infant mortality rate has declined from 62.1 in 2005-06 to 44.4 in 2015-16; under-five mortality rate has declined from 95.7 in 2005-06 to 57.2 in 2015-16; and institutional delivery has increased from 17.7 per cent in 2005-06 to 68.0 per cent in 2015-16, the minister said.

"Further, the percentage of underweight (weight-for-age) ST children aged less than five has declined from 54.5 in 2005-06 to 45.3 in 2015-16," she added.

The erstwhile Planning Commission estimated that the percentage of Scheduled Tribes people living below the poverty line in rural areas has declined from 62.3 per cent in 2004-05 to 45.3 per cent in 2011-12.

Also, the percentage of Scheduled Tribes people living below the poverty line in urban areas has declined from 35.5 per cent in 2004-05 to 24.1 per cent in 2011-12.

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