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NCST functioning with less than 50% of sanctioned strength: Ministry in LS

  • Published
    7th Feb, 2023
Context

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

About National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST)
  • The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) was established by amending Article 338 and inserting a new Article 338A in the Constitution through the Constitution (89th Amendment) Act, 2003. 
  • By 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) [Article 338]
    • The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) [Article 338A] 
  • The Commission is an authority working for the economic development of Scheduled Tribes in India.
  • The Constitution of India does not define Scheduled Tribes as such. Various acts, such as the Protection of Civil Rights (PCR) Act, 1955, and the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) (POA) Act, 1989, revised in 2015, and its Rules, 2016, have gained legitimacy with the establishment of the National Commission of Scheduled Tribes (NCST).

Composition

    • The NCST consists of one chairperson, one vice-chairperson and three full-time members.
    • All the members of the Commission have a tenure of 3 years.
    • They are appointed by the President by warrant under his hand and seal.
    • The Chairman shall be appointed from amongst eminent social, and political workers belonging to Scheduled Tribes who inspire confidence amongst the Scheduled tribes by their varied personalities and record of selfless service.
    • The Vice-Chairman and all other Members out of whom at least two shall be appointed from amongst persons belonging to the Scheduled Tribes.
    • At least one other member shall be appointed from amongst women.
    • The Chairman, the Vice-Chairman and the other Members shall hold office for 3 years from the date on which he/she assumes such office.
    • The members are not eligible for appointment for more than two terms.

Functions 

  • The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes has been laid down in Article 338A of the Constitution. 
  • Clause (5) states that it shall be the duty of the Commission:
    • to investigate and monitor all matters to the safeguards provided for the Scheduled Tribes under this Constitution or under any 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 on the planning process of socioeconomic 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 be deemed 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 States for the effective implementation of these safeguards and other measures for the protection, welfare and socio-economic development of the Scheduled Tribes.
    • 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 specified.
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