Key appointments to board for denotified tribes pending
The Centre is yet to make key appointments to the board for development and welfare of denotified, nomadic and semi-nomadic communities (DNCs), which was announced in February this year, although it has named a senior Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh functionary, Bhiku Ramji Idate as the chairman and two others as members.
These communities are counted among the most backward, and over 265 such communities have not been able to benefit from caste-based quotas in government jobs and educational institutions, according to a 2018 report of the government-appointed Idate commission.
The government is also awaiting the report of a committee under the NITI Aayog, which was mandated to identify communities of denotified nomadic tribes (DNT), semi-nomadic tribes (SNT) and notified tribes (NT) that are not yet formally classified. Based on the committee’s report, the Centre will work on a plan to extend reservation to these communities, an official aware of developments said.
During the last budget presentation on February 1, the Centre had announced setting up of a committee under Niti Aayog and a welfare development board to frame special strategies for the benefit of the hard-to-reach denotified, nomadic and semi-nomadic communities under the ministry of social justice and empowerment.
The board, set up after a nod from the Union Cabinet, is the first of its kind, and has the mandate to recommend welfare measures for tribes that are on the margins of society. According to a senior official in the social justice ministry, who did not wish to be named, the board has not met even once since February in the absence of members. Another official said the process of making appointments was delayed because of the general elections.
“Mittal Patel, managing trustee of the non-profit Vicharta Samuday Samarthan Manch (VSSM), and Otaram Dewasi, a former minister from Rajasthan, have been appointed members. But the board needs a member secretary and representatives from the ministries of HRD, social justice and tribal affairs,” said the second official quoted above.
There are at least two commissions -- the Renke Commission and the Idate commission – that suggested reservation in jobs and educational institutions for these communities.
The Renke commission report submitted in 2008 had suggested that the DNTs be given 10% reservation in government jobs even if the total reservation exceeds 50%.
In 2018, NCDNT headed by Idate, suggested carving out sub-quotas within the existing reservation policy for ensuing these communities benefit from caste-based quotas.
As per the Idate commission report, based on a survey in 29 states and seven Union Territories, there are 1,658 denotified tribes having a population of 15 crore and most of them miss out on social benefits.