In 1972, Tribal Development Directorate established for effective implementation of Tribal Welfare Schemes under Social Welfare Department. In 1976 Tribal Development Commissionerate was established. Independent Tribal Development Department was established on 22nd April 1983 and Department works independently since 1984. To strengthen the Tribal Development Department, Directorate was merged into Commissionerate in 1992.
There are 4 ATC (Addl. Commissioner, Tribal Development) and 29 ITDP (Integrated Tribal Development Project) offices for effectively implementation of various State Govt. & Central Govt. welfare schemes. These schemes includes social welfare, economical welfare, educational upliftment, social justice, women & child welfare, healthcare, nutrition, employment, etc.
The area under the Tribal Sub Plan in Maharashtra is 50,757 sq.kms., as against the total geographical area of 3,07,713 sq. kms. of the State. This works out to about 16.5 percent of the geographical area of the State.
There are 45 Scheduled Tribe Communities in Maharashtra, in which the Bhils, the Gonds, the Mahadeo Kolis, the Pawras, the Thakurs and the Varlis are the main tribes. There are three tribes Viz. the Kolams (Yavatmal District), the Katkaris (mainly in Raigad, Thane and Palghar Districts) and the Madia Gonds (Gadchiroli District), which have been notified as Primitive Tribes by the Government of India.
There are 36 Districts in the State and the tribal population is largely concentrated in the Western Hilly Districts of Dhule, Nandurbar, Jalgaon, Nashik, Palghar and Thane (Sahyadri Region) and the eastern forest Districts of Chandrapur, Gadchiroli, Bhandara, Gondia, Nagpur, Amravati and Yavatmal (Gondwana Region).
There are total 29 Integrated Tribal Development Project Offices in the State. Out of which 11 Integrated Tribal Development Project Offices have been declared most sensitive. These most sensitive I.T.D.P.Offices are namely Nashik, Kalwan, Taloda, Jawhar, Dahanu, Dhaarani, Kinwat, Pandharkavda, Gadchiroli, Aheri and Bhamragad.