Friday, August 2, 2013

Eye on polls, Centre focuses on denotified, nomadic tribes’ uplift

TNN | Jul 27, 2013, 06.33 AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Centre has decided to roll out programmes of economic and educational empowerment for denotified and nomadic tribes — the most vulnerable of social groups — but ruled out special reservation regime for these communities on the lines of backwards and dalits.

The nomadic and denotified tribes would be identified across states so that initiatives can be launched for their welfare, recognizing the existence of these groups on national scale.

They would be eligible for educational and economic benefits at par with OBCs like scholarships, skill development, coaching and loans among others.

A "national commission", like the National Commissions for SCs and STs, would be created for their identification as also for suggesting measures required for their uplift. A "national development corporation" would also be constituted for funding their entrepreneurial initiatives.

The ministry, headed by Kumari Selja, would soon seek the Cabinet nod for new welfare regime targeting these tribes. "It is a much-required initiative for the holistic development of these weak groups," the minister said.

With these tribes forming a chunk of population in Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, the Congress would hope to attract their votes in 2014 elections.

Constituting 11% of the national population, these tribes form a significant voting bloc but have been swamped by stronger dalits and backwards with whom they compete for affirmative action. Around 85% of them have either been clubbed among OBCs or SCs/STs.

While moving to address the development needs of nomadic/denotified tribes through welfare schemes, the social justice ministry has decided against Renke panel's recommendation for special reservation.

The panel, mandated to identify measures to address the socio-economic needs of these tribes, suggested that they be culled out of SC/ST/OBC lists and be put together in a "scheduled group" with special quota of 10%.

The Union ministry has opposed the creation of new category for two reasons — not only will a "scheduled group" like SC/ST require a constitutional amendment but a special quota would breach the 50% ceiling on quota that would invite legal hassles.

Instead, the ministry has recommended that a national commission for denotified tribes would be launched with the mandate to identify them across states and in SC/ST/OBC lists, and to recommend measures for their welfare. It would also pursue the case of tribes who have not yet been put in SC/ST or OBC lists.

The national commission would also make the maiden assessment of the progress made by these tribes and suggest measures to be launched for their development.

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