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National Commission for Scheduled Tribes is dysfunctional: House panel

  • Published
    19th Mar, 2022
Context

A parliamentary committee in a recent report has said that National Commission for Scheduled Tribes has been dysfunctional for the last four years and has not delivered a single report to Parliament.

About

The pending reports:

  • A study by the Commission of the impact of the Indira Sagar Polavaram Project in Andhra Pradesh on the tribal population
  • A special report on rehabilitation and resettlement of displaced tribals because of the Rourkela Steel Plant.
  • The Reports of the Commission since 2018 are still under process in the Ministry of Tribal Affairs and have not been presented to the Parliament till date. 

Other issues:

  • As per the Commission's website, in the financial year 2021-22, it has met only four times.
  • Its rate of pendency of resolution of complaints and cases that it receives is also close to 50 per cent.
  • The Ministry claimed that the recruitment in the Commission was constrained because of lack of applicants as the eligibility bar was set too high and the rules being tweaked to enable many more candidates to apply.

National Commission for STs

  • The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (STs) is also a constitutional body in the sense that it is directly established by Article 338-A of the Constitution.
  • The Commission was established under Article 338 of the Constitution with the objective of monitoring all the safeguards provided for the SCs and STs under the Constitution or other laws.
  • It consists of a chairperson, a vice-chairperson and three other members.
    • They are appointed by the President by warrant.
    • Their conditions of service and tenure of office are also determined by the President.
    • The Commission presents an annual report to the President.

Functions of the Commission

  • To investigate and monitor all matters relating to the constitutional and other legal safeguards for the STs and to evaluate their working;
  • To inquire into specific complaints with respect to the deprivation of rights and safeguards of the STs;
  • To participate and advise on the planning process of socio-economic development of the STs and to evaluate the progress of their development under the Union or a state;
  • To present to the President, reports upon the working of those safeguards;
  • To make recommendations for the effective implementation of those safeguards and other measures for the protection, welfare and socio-economic development of the STs.
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