Yanadis are one of the major scheduled tribes of Andhra Pradesh. Thurston
(1909) noted that the people were natives of Sriharikota Island and suggested that they derived their name from the Sanskrit word â€œanadiâ€ denoting those whose origin is unknown. Now they are predominantly spread over the districts
of Nellore, Chittoor Guntur, Krishna, Kadapa and Prakasham. Yanadis live in symbiosis with non-tribals.
Their population according to 2001 census reports is 4, 62,167 in Andhra Pradesh. The total literacy rate among Yanadi is 35.35 as per 2001 census. Their mother tongue is Telugu.
Yanadis are broadly divided into four endogamous groups on the basis of occupations and dietary habits. The sub divisions are:
1. Manchi Yanadi
or Reddi Yanadi (Cultivators and servants)
2. Adavi Yanadi (those living in forests)
Paki Yanadi (Scavengers) and
4. Chella Yanadi (those who collect left out food from leaf plates in the dust bins).
The Chella Yanadis and Paki Yanadis are considered to be unclean and low among Yanadis. Each division of the Yanadi is further divided into a number of patrilineal exogamous groups representing their lineage names (intiperlu).
Marriage by negotiation, by mutual love and elopement are usual modes of acquiring mates. The re-marriage of divorcees, widows and widowers is permitted. The nuclear type of family is more predominant.
They propitiate some village deities like â€œPoleramma,â€ â€œChenchammaâ€, â€œMahalakshmammaâ€ etc. In addition
to these, they worship Hindu Gods and Goddesses like â€œVenkateswaraâ€, â€œVinayakaâ€ and â€œRamaâ€. They celebrate Hindu festivals such as â€œSankranthiâ€,
â€œUgadiâ€, â€œDasaraâ€ etc., and worship their deities.
Each Yanadi habitat invariably consists of traditional
village council (Kula Panchayat) for settling the disputes like adultery, theft, land disputes etc. The hold of traditional council is still stronger. Generally, the culprits are admonished by way of imposing simple fines followed by feast.
Yanadis are non-vegetarians and eat the meat of rabbit, fowl, goat, sheep fish etc, but abstain from eating beef. Yanadis mainly subsist on agricultural labour. They are traditionally inland fishermen
and are also engaged as watchmen in the fields and orchards of farmers. Collection of firewood, rickshawpulling, rodents catching etc., constitutes secondary occupation of the Yanadis.
With a view to settle these poverty-stricken Yanadis, land colonization schemes were started during the British period and continued after the Post Independence period for the rehabilitation of Yanadis. The State Government has also introduced land
assignment schemes to provide land for cultivation to the landless Yanadis. Besides, the development schemes under the sectors like education housing, women and child development, medical, health and nutrition, roads etc are also under implementation for the
benefit of the Yanadis.
The expected results could not be achieved despite all the above developmental efforts for the Yanadis. Therefore, a decision has been taken by
the Honâ€™ble Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh on 09-09-1997 to establish a separate ITDA for Yanadis inhabiting Nellore, Chittoor and Prakasham districts.
Yanadi Development plan has been prepared for the development of Yanadis inhabiting 3722 villages in 166 mandals on Nellore, Chittoor and Prakasham districts.
vide G.O.Ms.No. 136, Social Welfare (TW.Bud.2) Department dated 19-12-2001 issued orders for establishing ITDA for Yanadis. The headquarters of ITDA is located at Nellore town in Nellore district.
The Project is headed by a Project Officer assisted by Development Officer and other supporting staff to implement various developmental programmes.