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National Commission for Scheduled Tribes

Context:

Data presented by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MoTA) on Monday in the Lok Sabha revealed that the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) is currently functioning with less than 50% of its sanctioned strength, 

Relevance:

GS II- Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Scheduled Tribe Population In India
  2. About National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST)
  3. About NCST Composition
  4.  Functions of NCST
  5.  Powers of NCST

About Scheduled Tribe Population in India

  • A substantial list of Scheduled Tribes in India are recognised as tribal under the Constitution of India. Tribal people constitute 8.6% of the nation’s total population, over 104 million people according to the 2011 census.
  • According to the 2011 Census of India, Bhil is the most populous tribe with a total population of 4,618,068, constituting 37.7 per cent of the total ST population.
  • Gond is the second largest tribe, with a population of 4,357,918 constituting 35.6 per cent.
  • Madhya Pradesh has the highest Scheduled Tribe population (14.7 per cent) and Meghalaya has the lowest (2.5 per cent).
  • Odisha has largest number of tribal groups in India, as per the estimate there are 64 tribal groups in Odisha.
  • Karnataka has the second largest number of tribal groups in the country.
  • The smallest tribal community is the Andamanese, with a population of 19. Economically and socially least advanced, the scheduled tribes are the earliest inhabitants of India.

About National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST)

  • National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) is an Indian constitutional body that was established through Constitution (89th Amendment) Act, 2003.
  • On the 89th Amendment of the Constitution coming into force on 19 February 2003, the National Commission for scheduled Tribes has been set up under Article 338A on bifurcation of erstwhile National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes to oversee the implementation of various safeguards provided to Scheduled Tribes under the Constitution.
  • With this amendment, the erstwhile National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes was replaced by two separate Commissions namely;-
    • The National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC),
    • The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST).
About NCST Composition
  • The Commission comprises a Chairperson, a Vice-Chairperson and three full-time Members (including one female Member).
  • The term of all the Members of the Commission is 3 years from the date of assumption of charge.

 Functions of NCST

  • To investigate and monitor all matters relating to the safeguards provided for the Scheduled Tribes under the Constitution or under any other law for the time being in force or under any order of the Government and to evaluate the working of such safeguards.
  • To inquire into specific complaints with respect to the deprivation of rights and safeguards of the Scheduled Tribes.
  • To participate and advise in the planning process of socio-economic development of the Scheduled Tribes and to evaluate the progress of their development under the Union and any State.
  • To present to the President, annually and at such other times as the Commission may deem fit, reports upon the working of those safeguards.
  • To make in such reports, recommendations as to the measures that should be taken by the Union or any State for effective implementation of those safeguards and other measures for the protection, welfare and socio-economic development of the Scheduled Tribes, and
  • To discharge such other functions in relation to the protection, welfare and development and advancement of the Scheduled Tribes as the President may, subject to the provisions of any law made by Parliament, by rule specify.

 Powers of NCST

  • For Investigation and Inquiry, the Commission is vested with powers of a civil court having authority to:-
  • Summon and enforce attendance of any person and examine on oath.
  • Discovery & production of any documents.
  • Receive evidence on affidavits.
  • Requisition any public record or copy thereof from any court or office.
  • Issue Commissions for examination of witnesses and documents; and
  • Any matter which President, by rule, may determine.

-Source: The Hindu


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