Bill to Include Darlong Community of Tripura in ST List
- 30 Mar 2022
- 7 min read
Why in News?
Recently, Lok Sabha passed the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2022.
- The bill sought to include the Darlong community as a sub-tribe of the Kuki tribal community in the list of Scheduled Tribes (STs).
- The bill has been passed by amending Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950.
- Earlier, it was found that the National Commission of STs has been dysfunctional for the last four years.
What is the Status of Darlong Community in Tripura?
- Darlong is a tribal community of Tripura, which has a population of 11,000.
- The community has a high prevalence of education and cultural activities and members of the community serve in senior positions in the local administration.
- For example, a tribal musicologist and Rosem (a tribal instrument) maestro Thanga Darlong was awarded the prestigious Padma Shri a few years ago for his contributions to culture.
What is the Status of Tribal Population in Tripura?
- Tripura has 20 tribal communities, people of which live in the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council formed on 18th January 1982.
- The tribal council covers nearly 70% of the total area of Tripura and houses roughly 30% of the state’s population.
- A large majority of them still depend on slash and burn cultivation and traditional livelihood for sustenance.
- The tribal communities of the state include Tripura/Tripuri, Riang, Jamatia, Noatia, Uchai, Chakma, Mog, Lushai, Kuki, Halam, Munda, Kaur, Orang, Santal, Bhil, Bhutia, Chaimal, Garo, Khasia, and Lepcha.
- The Halam community has several small tribal clans within it. Many of these are linguistically endangered groups like Bongcher, Karbongs etc.
What are the Recent Steps taken for the Betterment of the Tribal Population?
- Recently the government came up with a plan to develop broadband and 4G connectivity in aspirational districts.
- Funds for it will be allocated under the Scheduled Tribes component.
- On the issue of healthcare of tribals, recently the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) was allocated funds for research into the field.
What is the Status of Scheduled Tribes in India?
- 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 the initial years after independence.
- However, 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 Territory.
- There are over 705 tribes which have been notified. The largest number of tribal communities are found in Odisha.
- The Fifth Schedule lays out provision for Administration and Control of Scheduled Areas and Scheduled Tribes in states other than Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram.
- The Sixth Schedule deals with the administration of the tribal areas in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram.
- Legal Provisions:
- Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955 against Untouchability.
- Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989
- Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996
- Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006