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Constitution Scheduled Tribes Order Amendment Bill 2024

Focus: GS II: Polity and Governance

Why in News?

Recently, the Parlaiment passed the Constitution (Jammu and Kashmir) Scheduled Tribes Order (Amendment) Bill, 2024, to include ‘Pahari Ethnic Group, Paddari Tribe, Koli and Gadda Brahmin’ communities in the list of STs of UT of Jammu and Kashmir.

Earlier, the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2024 was passed and the bill intended to amend the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950 to modify the list of Scheduled Tribes regarding Andhra Pradesh. The following inclusions will be made in list of Scheduled Tribes of Andhra Pradesh: –

  1. Inclusion of ‘Bondo Porja’ and ‘Khond Porja’, that are Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs), at entry 25 in the ST list of Andhra Pradesh.
  2. Inclusion of ‘Konda Savaras’, that are Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs), at entry 28 in the ST list of Andhra Pradesh.

Who are the Scheduled Tribes?

The Constitution does not define the criteria for recognition of Scheduled Tribes.

  • However, Article 366(25) of the Constitution only provides process to define Scheduled Tribes: “Scheduled Tribes means such tribes or tribal communities or parts of or groups within such tribes or tribal communities as are deemed under Article 342 to be Scheduled Tribes for the purposes of this Constitution.”
  • Article 342(1): The President may with respect to any State or Union Territory, and where it is a State, after consultation with the Governor, by a public notification, specify the tribes or tribal communities or part of or groups within tribes or tribal communities as Scheduled Tribe in relation to that State or Union Territory.
  • The Dhebar Commission (1973) created a separate category “Primitive Tribal Groups (PTGs)” which was renamed in 2006 as “Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs)”.

Criteria for Inclusion in the Scheduled Tribe (ST) List:

The inclusion of a community in the Scheduled Tribe (ST) list is determined based on several criteria to establish its tribal identity and distinct cultural characteristics.

  • Ethnological Traits: The community’s distinct and identifiable ethnological traits are considered to determine its tribal identity.
  • Traditional Practices and Customs: The community’s traditional practices, customs, and way of life are examined to assess their adherence to tribal culture.
  • Unique Culture: The presence of a unique and distinctive culture that sets the community apart from other groups is taken into account.
  • Geographical Isolation: The community’s historical and continuous presence in specific regions, along with its geographical isolation, is considered.
  • Socio-economic Backwardness: The level of socio-economic backwardness faced by the community is also evaluated.
  • Lack of Defined Criteria: Notably, the Constitution of India does not provide a specific definition or set criteria for the recognition of Scheduled Tribes. The determination is made based on a combination of the above factors.

February 2024