In India, the indigenous peoples are predominantly composed of the large and diverse tribal populations scattered across several States. The prominence of indigenous peoples concerns stems from the realization that they have not benefited from development projects, while the mainstreamed societies have prospered at their expense, pushing them deeper into the poverty trap. And the fact remains that indigenous peoples living within and on the fringe of forest areas have derived their livelihoods from forests. The British administrators in the 19th century viewed vast tracts of Indian forests as impediments to the prosperity of the colonial exchequer, as these lands could otherwise be utilized as revenue–yielding property. Accordingly forests were rapidly razed to the ground both for revenue earned from timber supplies and for maximizing land revenue by putting the cleared tracts into cultivation. After India gained independence in 1947,a landmark policy to take over the princely states controlled by independent rulers impinged further on the customary rights of forest dwellers, although it did not eliminate them entirely. The forest policies of colonial India continued into the postcolonial period, as exemplified by the National Forest Policy of 1952, which further reinforced the right of the state to exclusive control over forest protection, production, and management. Just as the fulfillment of imperial needs was the priority of colonial forest policy, the demands of commercial industry became the cornerstone of postcolonial forest policy. While communities were excluded from using forests, many industries were granted raw materials at extremely low prices. Large tracts of forests were diverted for agriculture, hydro–electric projects and other development projects in the years after independence.