Inclusion of Tribes to ST List: The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Shree Narendra Modi recently approved the inclusion of several tribes in the Schedule Tribe (ST) category across 5 states.
- The five states include Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh (HP), Tamil Nadu (TN), Karnataka, and Uttar Pradesh (UP).
- They have been included as a part of the Constitution (Schedule Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill 2022.
- After this decision, the number of STs in the country has increased from 705 to 720.
Tribes to be included in the ST category list:
- The Hattee Community living in the Trans-Giri region in Sirmaur district of Himachal Pradesh.
- The Cabinet approval follows the Registrar General of India’s nod to the proposal for grant of ST status to the Hattee community after rejecting earlier proposals in 1995, 2006 and 2017.
- Since 1967, when residents of the Sirmaur district's bordering Jaunsar Bawar area in Uttarakhand received the status, this group has been demandingthe ST status.
- This community is named based on its traditional occupation of selling home-grown crops,vegetables, meat and wool at small-town markets called haats.
- In Tamil Nadu, the Narikoravan and Kuruvikkaran communities have been included in the list of STs for the state through the introduction of a Bill in Parliament to amend the Constitution (Schedule Tribes) Order, 1950.
- The demand of the two communities for inclusion in the list dates back to 1965.
- They were earlier recognized as the Most Backward Community.
- This community is mostly involved in traditional occupation of hunter-gathering and selling of bead necklaces.
- Chhattisgarh’s 12 caste communities were included in the Scheduled Tribes.
- Binjhia were listed as ST in Jharkhand and Odisha but not in Chhattisgarh.
- The Cabinet approved synonyms of Bhariyabhumiya for tribes like:
- Bharia (variations added include Bhumia and Bhuyian),
- Gadhwa (Gadwa),
- Dhanwar (Dhanawar, Dhanuwar),
- Nagesia (Nagasia, Kisan), and
- Pondh (Pond), among others.
- The Union Cabinet has included the Betta-Kuruba community as synonym of “Kadu Kuruba” in the ST list.
- Betta-Kuruba tribe in Karnataka’s Chamarajnagar, Kodagu and Mysuru districts have been demanding ST status for the past 3 decades but have not been granted because of spelling errors and similar sounding names.
- The Cabinet approved a proposal to bring the Gond community residing in 13 districts of Uttar Pradesh, under the ST list from the Scheduled Caste list.
- This includes the five subcategories of the Gond community (Dhuria, Nayak, Ojha, Pathari, and Rajgond).
- The changes were approved for four districts in UP - Kushinagar, Sant Ravidas Nagar (renamed Bhadohi in 2015), Chandauli and Sant Kabir Nagar.
- After the Bills becomes Acts, the newly listed communities in the ST list will be able to derive benefits under the existing government schemes for the STs in the country.
The major schemes for the STs include
- Post-matric scholarships,
- National overseas scholarships,
- National fellowships,
- Top class education,
- Concessional loans from the National Scheduled Tribes Finance and Development Corporation
- Hostels for students
- Members of these communities would also benefit from reservations in services and admissions in educational institutions.
Key Additional Info:
Ministry of Tribal Affairs:
- Government of India (GoI) set up Ministry of Tribal Affairs in 1999 after the bifurcation of Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
- As in the case of the Scheduled Castes, the Plan objective of empowering the tribals is being achieved through a three-pronged strategy of: Social empowerment, Economic empowerment & Social justice
Criteria for inclusion in ST List:
- The criteria presently followed for specification of a community as a Scheduled Tribe are:
- indications of primitive traits; distinctive culture; geographical isolation; shyness of contact with the community at large; and backwardness.
- However, these criteria are not spelt out in the Constitution.
The process for including tribes in the ST list:
- The process for including tribes in the ST list starts with the following -
- The recommendation from the respective State governments.
- The recommendation is sent to Tribal Affairs Ministry for reviewing it.
- Then the Tribal Affairs Ministry sends them to the Registrar General of India (RGI) for approval.
- This is followed by the Naional Commission for Scheduled Tribes' (NCST) approval,
- When approved the list is sent to the Cabinet for final decision.
Scheduled Tribes in India:
- According to the 2011 census, the Scheduled Tribe population in the country is 10.43 crore, which is 8.6% of the total population of the country.
- No community has been specified as Scheduled Tribe in the State of Haryana and Punjab and UTs of Chandigarh, Delhi and Puducherry.