National Commission for Scheduled Tribes
Article 338-A of the Constitution creates the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes as a constitutional authority. The Constitution (89th Amendment) Act of 2003 amended Article 338 and added a new Article 338A to create the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes. In 2021, the current and sixth National Commission for Scheduled Tribes was established.
National Commission for Scheduled Tribes, which is covered in this article, is covered in the Indian Polity and Governance of UPSC Syllabus. Students can also go for UPSC Mock Test to get more accuracy in their preparations.
National Commission for Scheduled Tribes History
A constitutional entity is the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes. As part of the 89th Constitution Amendment Act of 2003, Article 338 was amended and a new article 338A was added, creating the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes on February 19, 2004.
The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes is given authority under Article 338A to oversee the implementation of the various safeguards provided to STs by the Constitution or any other law in force at the time, or under any other order to the Government, and to evaluate the efficacy of such protections. The NCST’s job is to protect the interests of the scheduled tribes or under any other government order, and to assess how well those protections are operating. The Commission and its employees take part in developing policies and programmes for Scheduled Tribes, such as the Tribal Sub-Plan.
National Commission for Scheduled Tribes Composition
The Commission will have a Chairman, a Vice-Chairman, and any additional members that the President may by rule appoint. The President appoints them by warrant bearing his signature and seal.
The Chairman would be chosen from among prominent social and political figures from Scheduled Tribes who have earned the trust of the Scheduled tribes through their distinctive personalities and track record of selfless service. The Vice-Chairman and all other Members, at least two of whom must be selected among individuals from Scheduled Tribes. A minimum of one additional member must be chosen from among women.
National Commission for Scheduled Tribes Tenure
From the day they take office, the Chairman, Vice-Chairman, and other Members have a three-year term of office. The participants cannot be appointed for more than two periods.
National Commission for Scheduled Tribes Functions
The commission is tasked with looking into, keeping tabs on, and evaluating the effectiveness of the safeguards established for the Scheduled Tribes under this Constitution, any currently in effect laws, or any order of the government. The commission must look into particular complaints regarding the infringement of the Scheduled Tribes’ rights and protections.
To evaluate the socioeconomic development of the Scheduled Tribes under the Union and any State and to take part in and provide advice on the planning process. Annually and at other times the Commission may deem appropriate, the report is to provide the President with reports on the effectiveness of those safeguards. To include suggestions in such reports regarding actions that the Union or any States should take in order to effectively implement these safeguards and other actions for the protection, welfare, and socioeconomic development of the Scheduled Tribes.
Fulfill any additional duties the President may assign for the protection, welfare, development, and advancement of the Scheduled Tribes under the restrictions of any applicable law enacted by Parliament, as per the established rules.
Functions Mentioned by President
The implementation of measures will provide STs who reside in forested areas ownership rights over small forest products. To safeguard indigenous tribes’ rights to natural resources such as water and minerals, appropriate legal measures must be taken. It is necessary to take action to promote tribal development and the creation of more sustainable sources of income.
Its purpose is to improve the efficiency of relief and rehabilitation efforts for indigenous communities uprooted by construction projects. The eviction of indigenous people from their land must be stopped, and those who have already been removed must get proper rehabilitation.
In order to protect forests and carry out social afforestation, steps should be taken to elicit the most cooperation and participation from tribal people. The Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act of 1996 should be completely implemented, and measures should be taken to ensure this. The shifting cultivation used by tribal peoples, which contributes to their continuous disempowerment and the pollution of the land and environment, needs to be reduced and eventually eliminated.
National Commission for Scheduled Tribes Power
The Commission has the power to control how its own process is run. The Commission has all the powers of a civil court trying a case while looking into a topic or complaint, especially in the following areas:
- Compel anyone to appear and be questioned under oath.
- Obtain testimony based on affidavits.
- Document discovery and production.
- Examine a subject under oath.
- Create commissions to examine documents and witnesses.
- Any issue that the President may decide by rule.
National Commission for Scheduled Tribes and Related Committee
A High-Level Committee was established by the Prime Minister’s Office in 2013 with Prof. Virginius Xaxa serving as its chairman. In May 2014, it turned in its report. The Committee’s goal is to assess the socioeconomic, educational, and health conditions of tribal communities and suggest appropriate interventions to enhance such conditions.
Tribal people who have been uprooted by conflict in Chhattisgarh and the northeast should be rehabilitated by the state government. Numerous tribal people, both men and women, are held in prison for what are referred to as “Naxal infractions.” A judicial commission should be constituted to look into cases that have been filed against tribe members and anyone who support them. State governments need to invest more money in providing legal aid to tribal petitioners so that they can hire qualified attorneys to contest their petitions.
To assess the level of R&R in all significant development projects that have been done during the past fifty years. The Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act needs to be applied correctly. It is necessary to promote the effective engagement of women in FRA procedures.
Tribal migrant families have been exploited as a result of the State’s indifference and inability to enforce the Inter-State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1979. Tribal women and children suffer a tremendous deal, in particular. A comprehensive migrant rights law is becoming more and more necessary, and it should be seriously considered.
Tribal children may gain confidence and recognize the value of education if indigenous culture, folklore, and history are incorporated into the curriculum. Music and dancing are central to tribal life. Tribal communities require a unique type of health plan called a “Tribal Health Plan.” This “Tribal Health Plan” should become a crucial component of the Tribal Sub Plan and the National Health Mission.
National Commission for Scheduled Tribes UPSC
The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes is established as a constitutional authority by Article 338-A of the Constitution. It keeps track of and evaluates the effectiveness of the protections provided to STs by the Constitution, any other current laws, or any other directives given to the government. One of the initiatives in this approach is the rearrangement of the duties of the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes. Students can read all the details related to UPSC by visiting the official website of StudyIQ UPSC Online Coaching.