Holding out an olive branch to tribals ahead of next year’s general elections, the Prime Minister’s Office on Saturday announced a high level panel on the lines of the Sachar panel for Muslims to report on how to make the lives of tribals better.
The six-member panel is headed by Delhi University professor and member of the National Advisory Council Prof Virginius Xaxa.
The panel is patterned on the Sachar committee that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had constituted in 2005 when it was trying to consolidate its support base among Muslims.
The government did create a ministry of minority affairs and raise funding for about 90 minority-dominated districts but many recommendations of the Sachar panel, however, are still being debated within the government.
Some members of the panel have complained at various fora that there had been “little improvement” in the plight of the Muslims after the Sachar panel report was submitted nearly seven years ago.
A government official said some forward movement could be expected in implementation of the panel’s remaining recommendations in the run-up to the elections.
The fresh panel for tribals — scheduled tribes make up for 8% of the population — has been asked to report within nine months on the plight of the tribals, particularly in context of the involuntary displacement and enforcement migration.
It would also indicate the source of avenues of employment and livelihood available to them, their level of socio-economic development and share of public and private sector employment.