Centre approves Scheduled Areas extension in Rajasthan
The promulgation of new Constitution Order will ensure that the scheduled tribes of Rajasthan will get benefits of protective measures available under the Fifth Schedule to the Constitution of India.jaipur Updated: Apr 25, 2018 22:10 IST
With the assembly elections due this year end, the Union cabinet on Wednesday approved extension of the scheduled areas in Rajasthan, covering 3.7 lakh people in a number of districts to bringing in more developmental funds for the tribal belt in south Rajasthan.
The cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday gave an approval to the declaration of Scheduled Areas in Rajasthan under the Fifth Schedule to the Constitution of India by rescinding the Constitution Order (C.O.) and promulgation of a new Constitution Order.
The promulgation of new C.O. will ensure that the scheduled tribes (ST) of Rajasthan will get benefits of protective measures available under the Fifth Schedule to the Constitution of India.
The scheduled areas will now cover the entire districts of Banswara, Dungarpur, Pratapgarh, nine tehsils, one block and 46 gram panchayats covering 227 villages in Udaipur, Rajsamand, Chittorgarh, Pali and Sirohi districts.
The Rajasthan government had in 2014, approved expansion of the scheduled areas due to re-organization and creation of new districts and changes in population of the scheduled tribes as per the 2011 Census.
The government had proposed to increase the number of villages under the scheduled area to 5,706 from 5,034 while the number of municipalities was increased to nine from six.
The state government had sent the proposal for extension of the scheduled areas to the Centre for approval.
Welcoming the decision, state panchayati raj minister Rajendra Rathore said the state government was working with the interest of the people in mind.
“The scheduled tribes living in these areas were eligible for being covered under the scheduled areas. This was a long pending demand of the people.
“Our government took it up and now these people will be able to get more funds for development,” he said.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) parliamentarian Kirori Meena said the decision will bring benefits to the tribal population. “They will get funds of schemes of the Centre and state for development in areas of health, education and infrastructure.”
Meena, who rejoined the BJP in March and was made a Rajya Sabha member, said the Rajasthan government and he himself had pursued the matter with the Centre and had got the approval.
“The decision is not linked to politics. It is only for development of the backward areas and to lift them out of poverty,” he said.
Scheduled tribes in these areas will get benefits of the protective measures in the fifth schedule of the Constitution such as 12.5% funds over the budget ear-marked for the area and reservation in jobs, said Dharamchand Khed, convenor of the Rajasthan Adivasi Adhikar Manch.
“Tribal representation in politics too would increase, he said. “All seats from the sarpanch to the ward panch, pradhan, MLA and MP levels will now be reserved for tribes people.”
The Mewar region covering the tribal belt, accounts for a large chunk of 28 seats and is seen as crucial in winning the state polls.
Faced with strong anti-incumbency, the government of chief minister Vasundhara Raje will hope to reap political benefit from the decision in the run up to the assembly elections at the end of the year.
The Centre had in 1981 declared 5,034 villages of the southern part of Rajasthan having tribal population of more than 50% as scheduled areas.
After the 2011 Census, the total population of scheduled area is 57.24 lakh of which the scheduled tribes population is 41.88 lakh, constituting 73.17% of the total population of the scheduled area.