Pahari ethnic community added to Scheduled Tribes list of Jammu and Kashmir
Polity & Governance
4th Nov, 2022
National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) has cleared the way for the inclusion of the ‘Pahari ethnic group’ in the Scheduled Tribes list of the UT of Jammu and Kashmir.
- The suggestion for inclusion had come from the commission set up for socially and educationally backward classes in the Union Territory, headed by Justice (Retd.) G.D. Sharma.
- Later the Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs sought opinions and views of the ST commission on the proposal to include four communities in the ST list of Jammu and Kashmir.
- In response, the ST commission has shown green-lit to the proposal for inclusion of the ‘Pahari ethnic group’, Paddari tribe”, “Koli”, and “Gadda Brahman” communities in the ST list of J&K.
- Currently, Jammu and Kashmir have 12 communities that have been notified as STs.
Resentment of Gujjars and Bakarwals:
- Pir Panjal valley is also home to Gujjars and Bakarwals, and the possibility of inclusion of Paharis in the ST list has been looked at as diluting their share of benefits.
Scheduled Tribes in India
- The term 'Scheduled Tribes' first appeared in the Constitution of India. Article 366 (25) defined scheduled tribes as "such tribes or tribal communities or parts of or groups within such tribes or tribal communities as are deemed under Article 342 to be Scheduled Tribes for the purposes of this constitution".
- Article 342, which is reproduced below, prescribes the procedure to be followed in the matter of specification of scheduled tribes.
- The tribal population of the country, as per the 2011 census, is 10.43 crore, constituting 8.6% of the total population.
- 97% of them live in rural areas and 10.03% in urban areas.
- The decadal population growth of the tribal from Census 2001 to 2011 has been 23.66% against the 17.69% of the entire population.
- The sex ratio for the overall population is 940 females per 1000 males and that of Scheduled Tribes is 990 females per thousand males.
What is the Process of Inclusion in the ST List?
- The process to include tribes in the ST list begins with a recommendation from the respective State governments, which is then sent to the Tribal Affairs Ministry, which reviews and sends them to the Registrar General of India for approval.
- This is followed by the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes’ approval before the list is sent to the Cabinet for a final decision.
What will be the Benefits of Inclusion in the ST List?
- The move will enable members of the communities newly listed in the revised list of Scheduled Tribes to derive benefits meant for STs under the existing schemes of the government.
- Some of the major benefits include post-matric scholarship, overseas scholarship, and national fellowship, besides education, concessional loans from the National Scheduled Tribes Finance and Development Corporation, and hostels for students.
- In addition, they will also be entitled to the benefits of reservation in services and admission to educational institutions as per government policy.
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.
- Xaxa Committee (2013)
- Bhuria Commission (2002-2004)
- Lokur Committee (1965)