The Union Cabinet has approved the addition of four tribes to the Scheduled Tribes list.
GS Paper – 2: Constitutional Bodies, Issues Related to SCs & STs
What do you mean by “scheduled tribes”? Examine the quandary surrounding the development of tribes in India. (150 words)
Scheduled Tribes in India
- According to the 2011 Census, there are 104 million Scheduled Tribes in India, accounting for 8.6% of the country’s population.
- No community has been designated as a Scheduled Tribe in the states of Haryana and Punjab, as well as the union territories of Chandigarh, Delhi, and Puducherry.
- Following the dissolution of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment in 1999, the Government of India established the Ministry of Tribal Affairs.
- As with the Scheduled Castes, the Plan’s goal of empowering tribals is being met through a three-pronged strategy of: Economic empowerment, social justice, and social empowerment
The Scheduled Tribes list
- Article 342 specifies tribal communities or parts of or groups within tribes or tribal communities that are deemed to be Scheduled Tribes in relation to that State or UT.
- In accordance with these provisions, the list of Scheduled Tribes is notified for each State or Union Territory.
- These lists are only valid within the jurisdiction of that State or UT.
- A community designated as a Scheduled Tribe in one state does not have to be so in another.
- The process of including a community as a Scheduled Tribe is ongoing.
Tribe inclusion on the ST list
- Criteria for inclusion on the ST List o The current criteria for designating a community as a Scheduled Tribe are: indications of primitive traits; distinctive culture; geographical isolation; shyness of contact with the larger community; and backwardness.
- These criteria, however, are not specified in the Constitution.
- Inclusion procedure
- Adding tribes to the ST list begins with a recommendation from the respective state governments.
- These recommendations are then forwarded to the Tribal Affairs Ministry, who reviews them and forwards them to the Registrar General of India for approval.
- The list is then approved by the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes before being sent to the Cabinet for a final decision.
- The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved the inclusion of tribes from five states in the Scheduled Tribes (ST) category.
- States with tribes on the list include Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Uttar Pradesh.
Tribes to be added to ST category list
- Hattee community of the Trans-Giri region of Himachal Pradesh’s Sirmaur district o In the most recent Cabinet decision, the Hattee community of Himachal Pradesh’s Sirmaur district was granted the status of ST.
- The Cabinet approval follows the Registrar General of India’s approval of the proposal to grant ST status to the Hattee community, which had previously been rejected in 1995, 2006, and 2017.
- Tamil Nadu’s Narikoravan and Kurivikkaran communities
- Chhattisgarh’s Binjhia
- Binjhia were classified as ST in Jharkhand and Odisha but not Chhattisgarh.
- The Gond community is spread across 13 districts in Uttar Pradesh.
- The Cabinet approved a proposal to move the Gond community, which lives in 13 districts of Uttar Pradesh, from the Scheduled Caste list to the ST list. o This includes the five subcategories of the Gond community (Dhuria, Nayak, Ojha, Pathari, and Rajgond).
- Synonyms for 11 Chhattisgarh tribes and one Karnataka tribe are included in the list, so that variations in spelling and pronunciation do not result in people being excluded from beneficiary schemes.
- In Karnataka, the Cabinet approved ‘Betta-Kuruba’ as a synonym for the Kadu Kuruba tribe.
- In Chhattisgarh, the Cabinet approved synonyms for tribes such as Bharia (Bhumia and Bhuyian were added), Gadhwa (Gadwa), Dhanwar (Dhanawar, Dhanuwar), Nagesia (Nagasia, Kisan), and Pondh (Pond), among others.