A detailed and comprehensive review of the tribal peoples’ problem was taken up on the eve of the Fifth Five Year Plan period. The main objective of ITDA is socio-economic development of tribal communities through income generating schemes allied with Infrastructure Development programmes and protection of the tribal communities against exploitation.

The ITDA project areas are generally contiguous areas of the size of a Tehsil or Block or more in which the ST population is 50% or more of the total. Due to the demographic profile of the tribal people in these regions, however, the ITDPs in Assam, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and West Bengal may be smaller or not contiguous. Andhra Pradesh and Orissa have opted for an Agency model under the Registration of Societies Act and the ITDPs there are known as ITD Agencies (ITDAs).

So far, 194 ITDPs / ITDAs have been delineated in the country. In Jammu and Kashmir though no ITDP has been delineated yet, the areas having ST Population in the State are treated as covered under the TSP strategy. In eight states having scheduled areas the ITDPs / ITDAs are generally co-terminus with TSP areas. The ITDPs / ITDAs are headed by Project Officers though they may be designated Project Administrators or Project Directors.