Tribal and Rural Communities of the Nilgiris

The main beneficiaries of CTRD are socially and economically marginalized rural communities in the Gudalur Block of the Nilgiris.

The living conditions of these rural populations are often deplorable, with very low standards of living, little earnings, poor education and insufficient access to adequate healthcare.

The two key rural communities with whom CTRD works are the Tribal Groups and Sri Lankan Repatriates.

Tribal Groups


After Africa, India has the second highest tribal population in the world, with around 645 tribes and sub-tribes.

In the state of Tamil Nadu there are 36 scheduled tribes, of which 6 groups are defined as Primitive Tribal Groups (PTGs), based on criteria such as a pre-agricultural level of technology, a stagnant or declining population, extremely low literacy and a subsistence level of economy.

The 6 PTGs in Tamil Nadu are :


According to the 2001 census the scheduled tribal population is 651,000 therefore representing 1.04% of the population.

Approximately 32% of the tribal population of the Nilgiri District live in the Pandalur taluk, and 14.33% live in the Gudalur taluk - the two key taluks in which CTRD works.

The target tribal beneficiaries of CTRD are the Kattunayakans, the Paniyans and the Kurumbas.

The majority of tribes live in often remote and geographically inaccessible hilly or forested areas, which tend to be under developed and poorly integrated with mainstream society.