Home   »   UPSC Syllabus   »   National Commission for Scheduled Tribes

National Commission for Scheduled Tribes



  • The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) organised its 16th foundation day. On this occasion, the NCST has also decided to institute a national award named as “NCST  Leadership Award” which will be conferred for  significant and exemplary services towards  Scheduled Tribes (STs) in the country.

Read about: Forest Conservation Act

Schedule Tribes

  • As per Census-1931, Schedule tribes are termed as “backward tribes” living in the “Excluded” and  “Partially Excluded” areas.
  • The Government of India Act of 1935 called for the first time for representatives of “backward  tribes” in provincial assemblies.
  • The Constitution does not define the criteria for recognition of Scheduled Tribes and hence the  definition contained in 1931 Census was used in  initial years after independence.


  • Article 366(25) of the Constitution only provides process to define Scheduled Tribes: “Scheduled Tribes  means 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.”
  • 342(1): The President may with respect to any State or Union Territory, and where it is a State, after  consultation with the Governor, by a public  notification, specify the tribes or tribal communities or  part of or groups within tribes or tribal communities as  Scheduled Tribe in relation to that State or Union


  • There are over 700 tribes which have been
  • The largest number of tribal communities (62) are found in Odisha.
  • No Tribe was identified in Haryana, Punjab, Chandigarh, Delhi, and Pondicherry.

Related Committees

  • The Lokur Committee (1965)
  • To look into criteria for defining Schedule
  • The Committee recommended 5 criteria for identification, namely, primitive traits, distinct  culture, geographical isolation, shyness of  contact with the community at large, and
  • Bhuria Commission (2002-2004)
  • Focused on a wide range of issues from the 5th Schedule to tribal land and forests, health  and education, the working of Panchayats and  the status of tribal women.
  • A High-Level Committee (HLC) in 2013
  • Under chairmanship of Prof. Virginius Xaxa was constituted to study the 5 critical issues  related to tribal communities : (1) livelihood  and employment, (2) education, (3) health, (4)  involuntary displacement and migration, (5)  and legal and constitutional matters.
  • Formation
  • NCST was set up with effect from 19th February, 2004 by amending Article 338 and  by inserting a new article 338A in the  Constitution through the 89th Constitution  Amendment Act, 2003.
  • Hence, it is a constitutional body.
  • Objective
  • Article 338A gives powers to the to NCST oversee the implementation of various  safeguards provided to STs under the  Constitution or under any other law for time  being in force or under any other order to the  Government and to evaluate the working of  such safeguards.
  • Composition
  • It consists of a Chairperson, a Vice-Chairperson and 3 other Members who are appointed by the  President by warrant under his hand and seal.
  • At least one member should be a woman.
  • The Chairperson, the Vice-Chairperson and the other Members hold office for a term of 3 years.
  • The members are not eligible for appointment for more than two terms.
  • The Chairperson has been given the rank of Union Cabinet Ministers, the Vice Chairperson  has the rank of a Minister of State and other  Members have the rank of a Secretary to the  Government of India.

Duties and Functions

  • Investigate and monitor all matters relating to the safeguards provided for the STs under the  Constitution or under any other law for the time  being in force or under any order of the
  • To inquire into specific complaints with respect to the deprivation of rights and safeguards of the
  • To participate and advise in the planning process of socio-economic development of the STs and to  evaluate the progress of their development.
  • To present to the President, annually and at such other times as the Commission may deem 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 State  for effective implementation of those 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 specify.

Sharing is caring!

Download your free content now!


We have received your details!

We'll share General Studies Study Material on your E-mail Id.

Download your free content now!

We have already received your details!

We'll share General Studies Study Material on your E-mail Id.

Incorrect details? Fill the form again here

General Studies PDF

Thank You, Your details have been submitted we will get back to you.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.