Source: The Hindu
News: Recently, Union Cabinet approved a proposal to add several tribes to the ST list after the threat of launch of protest by six tribal communities of Assam i.e. Adivasi, Chutia, Koch-Rajbongshi, Matak, Moran and Tai-Ahom over an “inordinate delay” in their inclusion in the ST list.
Official Population of Scheduled Tribes in India:
- Under Article 342, 705 ethnic groups are listed as Scheduled Tribes.
- According to data provided by Census 2011, More than 10 crore Indians are notified as STs and approximately 1.04 crore notified ST population live in urban areas.
- The STs constitute 8.6% and 11.3% of the population and rural population respectively.
Recent addition of communities to the ST list:
- Himachal Pradesh: Hatti tribe from the Trans-Giri area of Sirmour district.
- Tamil Nadu: Hill tribes from Narikoravan and Kurivikkaran.
- Chhattisgarh: Binjhia community
- Uttar Pradesh: Gond community
- To prevent exclusion of already existing Scheduled Tribes but with different spellings and pronunciations, the Cabinet has approved the addition of several alternative names for already existing Scheduled Tribes in the ST list. Example: Chhattisgarh’s Sawar, Sawara, and Saunra same tribal community but with different spellings.
- Now, these communities were entitled to reservation benefits under the Scheduled Tribes(ST) list.
Criteria to begin the process of inclusion or removal of SC, ST list:
- Several criteria to establish whether a community is a Scheduled Tribe or not are ethnological traits, traditional characteristics, distinctive culture, geographical isolation, and backwardness.
- The recent view of the Supreme Court is that it is no longer sure about an “affinity test” used to sift through distinct traits to link a person to a tribe as cultural contact, migration, and modernization might have erased the traditional characteristics of a tribe. Supreme Court wanted a fix fool-proof parameter for determining whether a person belongs to a Scheduled Tribe or not.
Procedure to add or remove a community from SC, ST lists:
- It is at the discretion of a State government to recommend certain communities for addition or subtraction from the list of SCs/STs.Stae government mostly rely on recommendation from studies it commissions from time to time. For Example: Classify the Hatti community in Himachal Pradesh.
- Now, the concerned State government sent the proposal to include or remove any community from the Scheduled List to the Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs.
- After deliberations and examination of the proposal by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, it went to the Registrar General of India (RGI).
- After approval by the RGI, the proposal is sent to the National Commission for Scheduled Castes or National Commission for Scheduled Tribes.
- The proposal is again sent back to the Union government, for inter-ministerial deliberations, after which it got introduced in the Union Cabinet for final approval.
- The final decision to specify the changes under Articles 341 and 342 rests with the President’s office. President assents to a Bill that amends the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950 and the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order,1950 after it is passed by both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha is necessary for inclusion or exclusion of any community in the Scheduled Tribes or Scheduled Castes list.
- Final step: President issues a notification specifying the changes in the Scheduled Tribes or Scheduled Castes list under powers vested in it from Articles 341 and 342.
- Keeping in mind the interests of various tribal communities government amended the SC, and ST lists and also rectified several provisions to prevent the exclusion of certain communities. Government looks at certain predefined criteria such as ethnological traits, traditional characteristics, distinctive culture, geographical isolation, and backwardness to exclude or include members from SC, ST list defined under Article 342. The inclusion or exclusion process under the ST list starts at the discretion of the state government and ends with President issuing a notification specifying the changes in the Scheduled Tribes or Scheduled Castes list under powers vested in it from Articles 341 and 342.
Article: The Hindu Explained: The process of inclusion or exclusion from the Scheduled Tribes list
Article Link: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/explained-the-process-of-inclusion-or-exclusion-from-the-scheduled-tribes-list/article65906246.ece