The term `Scheduled Areas has been defined in the Indian Constitution as "such areas as the President may by order declare to be Scheduled Areas". Paragraph 6 of the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution prescribes following procedure for scheduling, rescheduling and alteration of Scheduled Areas.
(1) In this Constitution, expression Scheduled Areas means such areas as the President may by order declare to be Scheduled Areas.
(2) The President may at any time by order.
(a) Direct that the whole or any specified part of a Scheduled Area shall cease to be a Scheduled Area or a part of such an area
(b) Increase the area ofany Scheduled Area in a State after consultation with the Governor of that State.
(c) Alter, but only by way of rectification of boundaries, any Scheduled Area.
(d) On any alteration of the boundaries of a State on the admission into the Union or the establishment of a new State, declare any territory not previously included in any State to be, or to form part of, a Scheduled Area.
(e) Rescind, in relation to any State of States, any order or orders made under this paragraph, and in consultation with the Governor of the State concerned, make fresh orders redefining the areas which are to be Scheduled Areas and any such order may contain such incidental and consequential provisions as appear to the President to be necessary and proper, but save as aforesaid, the order made under sub-paragraph (1) of this paragraph shall not be varied by any subsequent order". Thus the specification of Scheduled Areas in relation to a particular State/Union Territory is by a notified Order of the President, after consultation with the State Governments concerned. The same procedure will apply while altering, increasing or rescinding any order(s) relating to Scheduled Areas.
(3) The criteria followed for declaring an area as Scheduled Area are preponderance of tribal population; compactness and reasonable size of the area; under-developed nature of the area; and marked disparity in economic standard of the people. These criteria are not spelt out in the Constitution of India but have become well established. They embody principles followed in declaring `Excluded and `Partially-Excluded Areas under the Government of India Act 1935, Schedule `B of recommendations of the Excluded and Partially Excluded Areas Sub Committee of Constituent Assembly and the Scheduled Areas and Scheduled Tribes Commission 1961.
(4) In exercise of the powers conferred by paragraph 6 of the Fifth Schedule to the Constitution, the President after consultation with the State governments concerned had by Orders called `the Scheduled Areas (Part A States) Order, 1950 and the Scheduled Areas (Part B States) Order 1950 set out the Scheduled Areas in the States. Further by Orders namely the Madras Scheduled Areas (Cesser) Order, 1951 and the Andhra Scheduled Areas (Cesser) Order, 1955 certain areas of the then east Godavari and Visakhapatnam districts were rescheduled. At the time of devising and adopting the strategy of Tribal sub Plan (TSP) for socioeconomic development of Scheduled Tribes during Fifth Five Year Plan (1974-79), certain areas besides Scheduled Areas, were also found having preponderance of tribal population. A review of protective measures available to the tribal of these newly identified areas vis-à-vis Scheduled Areas was made and it was observed that a systematic use of protective measures and other powers available to the executive under Fifth Schedule will help in effective implementation of the development programs in sub-Plan Areas. Therefore, in August 1976 it was decided to make the boundaries of the Scheduled Areas co-terminus with the Tribal Sub-Plan areas. Accordingly, Clause (2) of the paragraph 6 of the Fifth Schedule was amended vide the Constitution (Amendment) Act, 1976 to empower the President to increase the area of any Scheduled Areas in any State. Pursuant to above the President have issued from time to time Orders specifying Scheduled Areas afresh in relation to the States of Bihar, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa and Rajasthan. The tribal areas. In Himachal Pradesh were scheduled on 27.11.1975. While scheduling the areas in Himachal Pradesh the principle of making the sub plan and the Fifth Schedule areas coterminous was kept in view. Thus, presently the Tribal Sub-Plan areas (Integrated Tribal Development Projects/Integrated Tribal Development Agency areas only) are coterminous with Scheduled Areas in the States of Bihar, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa and Rajasthan. The State of Andhra Pradesh, where the Tribal Sub-Plan areas are not coterminous with Scheduled Areas, has also furnished a proposal to this effect which is under examination.