In News: The Tribal Affairs Ministry insisted once again that the current procedure for inclusion of communities on the Scheduled Tribes list was “adequate”.
- It was responding to a question in the Rajya Sabha, which raised concern about
the need for a revision in the criteria and procedure for inclusion on the list.
Modalities for inclusion
- According to the modalities for inclusion first framed in 1999, the proposal for inclusion must originate from the respective State or Union Territory government.
- Following this, the proposal is sent to the Union Tribal Affairs Ministry, which sends it to the Office of the Registrar General of India (ORGI).
- If the ORGI approves the inclusion, the proposal is forwarded to the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes.
- Only after the concurrence of these institutions, will the proposal go forward to the Cabinet to bring in the appropriate amendment to the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950.
- In response to an RTI query, the ORGI had said in January, 2022 that it continues to follow the criteria set out by the Lokur Committee in 1965 to decide whether a community can be included in the ST list.
- These criteria include:
- indications of “primitive traits”,
- distinctive culture,
- geographical isolation,
- shyness of contact with the community at large, and
- Both the procedure and criteria for inclusion of communities had been strongly criticised by an internal government task force formed in February 2014, for being “obsolete”, “condescending”, “dogmatic” and “rigid”.