The Parliamentary panel on Social Justice and Empowerment has asked the government to expedite categorisation of Denotified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes under either the SC/ST/OBC lists. Delay would increase their suffering and deprive them of welfare schemes.
GS II: Government policies and Intervention
Dimensions of the Article:
- Who are de-notified, nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes?
- What is the history of deprivation faced by these communities?
- Policy measures for DNTs
- About SEED
Who are de-notified, nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes?
These are communities who are the most vulnerable and deprived.
- Denotified tribes (DNTs): Communities that were ‘notified’ as being ‘born criminal’ during the British regime under a series of laws starting with the Criminal Tribes Act of 1871.
- Nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes: Communities are defined as those who move from one place to another rather than living at one place all the time.
What is the history of deprivation faced by these communities?
- This has a long history, first during colonial rule, and then in independent India.
- The Renke Commission said this is partly because these communities are largely politically ‘quiet’ — they do not place their demands concretely before the government for they lack vocal leadership and also lack the patronage of a national leader.
- Many commissions and committees constituted since Independence have referred to the problems of these communities. These include
- Criminal Tribes Inquiry Committee, 1947 constituted in the United Provinces (now Uttar Pradesh),
- Ananthasayanam Ayyangar Committee in 1949 (it was based on the report of this committee the Criminal Tribes Act was repealed),
- Kaka Kalelkar Commission (also called first OBC Commission) constituted in 1953.
- In 1965, an Advisory Committee constituted for revision of the SC and ST list under the chairmanship of B N Lokur referred to denotified tribes.
- The B P Mandal Commission constituted in 1980 also made some recommendations on the issue.
Challenges Faced by Nomadic Tribes
- The communities lack access to amenities including drinking water, shelter, and sanitary facilities. Additionally lacking are amenities for healthcare and education.
- Because they were once stigmatised as criminals, the local government and police still treat them as such and torture them.
- Because they move about a lot, they do not have a permanent residence. As a result, they are not covered by social security, are not given ration cards or adhar cards, etc., and are therefore not eligible for government welfare programmes’ benefits.
- The caste categorization is not very clear for these communities, in some states some of the communities are included under the SC category, in some other states they are included under OBCs.
Policy measures for DNTs:
- The Government had constituted National Commission for Denotified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes (NCDNT) to prepare a State-wise list of castes belonging to Denotified and Nomadic Tribes and to suggest appropriate measures in respect of Denotified and Nomadic Tribes that may be undertaken by the Central Government or the State Government.
- The Renke commission estimated their population at around 10.74 crore based on Census 2001.
- The Idate Commission submitted its report in January 2018. It mentioned that a permanent commission for Denotified, Semi Nomadic, and Nomadic Tribes should have a prominent community leader as its chairperson, and a senior Union government bureaucrat, an anthropologist, and a sociologist as members.
- A Development and Welfare Board for De-Notified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Communities (DWBDNCs) has been constituted and a Committee has also been set up by the NITI Aayog to complete the process of identification of the De-Notified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Communities (DNCs).
- The survey work of identification of DNT Communities and placing them in a category of SC/ST/OBC is also under process in NITI Ayog and Anthropological Survey of India (AnSI).
- The Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment introduced Scheme for Economic Empowerment of Denotified/Nomadic/SemiNomadic (SEED) communities in February 2022.
- It intends to give these students free competitive exam coaching, give families health insurance, improve clusters of these communities through livelihood activities, and give money for housing.
- It guarantees spending of Rs. 200 crore over a five-year period beginning in 2021–22.
- Implementing this plan is the responsibility of the DWBDNCs (Development and Welfare Board for De-notified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Communities).
- The agency has created an online site that will guarantee simple registration and serve as a repository for the data on these communities.
- Free coaching to students from these communities for Civil Services, entry to professional courses like medicine, engineering, MBA, etc.
- Health Insurance through PMJAY of National Health Authority.
- Livelihoods to support income generation
- Housing (through PMAY/IAY).
-Source: The Hindu