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A TRIBAL TRADITION COMES IN HANDY DURING COVID-19

Why in news?

  • Now almost every day some members of Jagruti, a social organisation, are reliving a local tribal tradition to trim each other’s hair at Daringbadi in Odisha’s Kandhamal district. Through it they are avoiding visit to barbers that may lead to spread of COVID-19 infection.
  • Unlike other parts of Odisha, tribals of Kandhamal never had a special sect of barbers for hair grooming.
  • But in urban centres such as Berhampur in adjoining Ganjam district, people have started calling up barbers to their homes for haircuts. And a barber moves from house to house, which can be a major medium of spread of coronavirus. Luckily no COVID-19 case has been reported yet from Ganjam or Kandhamal district. =
  • Activists of Jagruti have decided to continue the practice of giving haircuts to each other till the COVID-19 threat goes away.

Details of tribes in Odisha

  • The Kondha or Kandha is the largest tribe of the Odisha state in terms of population.
  • The Santals – inhabit the Mayurbhanj district.
  • The Ho people -inhabit Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar, Jajpur, Balasore, Bhadrak, Sambalpur, Jharsuguda, Sonepur, Deogarh, Dhenkanal, Anugul, Jharsuguda, Sundergarh, Kandhamal districts.
  • The Saura, are found mainly in the undivided Ganjam and Puri district.
  • The Bonda, are known as ‘the Naked People’ and they live in Malkangiri district formerly part of undivided Koraput.

Scheduled Tribes

  • The term “Scheduled Tribes” refers to specific indigenous peoples whose status is acknowledged to some formal degree by national legislation.
  • For much of the period of British rule in the Indian subcontinent, they were known as the Depressed Classes.
  • Scheduled Tribes comprise about 8.6% of India’s population according to 2011 census.
  • Since the independence of India, the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes were given Reservation status, guaranteeing political representation.
  • The Constitution lays down the general principles of positive discrimination for SCs and STs.

Constitutional Provisions regarding Scheduled Tribes

  • Article 46 of the Constitution provides that the State shall promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the society and in particular, of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and shall protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation.
  • Reservation in educational institution has been provided in Article 15(4) while reservation in posts and services has been provided in Article 16(4), 16(4A) and 16(4B) of the Constitution.
  • Article 23 which prohibits traffic in human beings and beggar and other similar forms of forced labour has a special significance for Scheduled Tribes. In pursuance of this Article, Parliament has enacted the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976. Similarly, Article 24 which prohibits employment of Children below the age of 14 years in any factory or mine or in any other hazards activity is also significant for Scheduled Tribes as a substantial portion of child labour engaged in these jobs belong to Scheduled Tribes.
  • Article 243D provides reservation of Seats for Scheduled Tribes in Panchayats.
  • Article 330 provides reservation of seats for Scheduled Tribes in the House of the People.
  • Article 332 provides reservation of seats for Scheduled Tribes in Legislative Assemblies of the States.
  • Article 334 provides that reservation of seats for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the Lok Sabha and the State Vidhan Sabhas (and the representation of the Anglo-Indian Community in the Lok Sabha and the State Vidhan Sabhas by nomination) would continue up to January, 2020.
  • Other specific safeguards have been provided in Article 244 read with the provisions contained in Fifth and Sixth Schedule to the Constitution.
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September 2022
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