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Bills to Modify the Scheduled Tribes (ST) List

  • 10 Dec 2022
  • 6 min read

For Prelims: National Commission for Scheduled Tribes, Scheduled Tribes, Fifth Schedule of the Constitution, Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.

For Mains: Process of Inclusion in the Scheduled Tribes List, Constitutional Provisions and Initiatives related to Tribes in India.

Why in News?

Recently, four Bills, seeking to modify the Scheduled Tribes (ST) list in 4 States - Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, were introduced in Lok Sabha via amendments proposed in the Constitution (STs) Order, 1950.

What are the Proposed Changes?

  • The Bill Seeks To:
    • Add the Narikoravan and Kuruvikkaran hill tribes to the ST list of Tamil Nadu.
    • Introduce Betta-Kuruba as a synonym for the already categorised Kadu kuruba in the ST list of Karnataka.
    • Add a number of synonyms in Devanagri script for the already categorised Bhariya Bhumia tribe in the ST list of Chhattisgarh.
      • As per the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, they are all part of the same tribe but had been kept out of the list just because they are pronounced and spelled their names differently.
    • Add Hattee community of Trans-Giri region in Sirmaur district to the ST list of Himachal Pradesh (after almost five decades).

What is the Process of Inclusion in the ST List?

  • Recommendation from State:
    • The process to include tribes in the ST list begins with recommendations from the respective State governments, which are then sent to the Tribal Affairs Ministry, which reviews and sends them to the Registrar General of India for approval.
  • Approval from NCST: This is followed by the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) approval before the list is sent to the Cabinet for a final decision.
  • President's Assent: The final decision rests with the President (under Articles 342).
    • The inclusion of any community in the STs comes into effect only after the President assents to a Bill amending the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950.

What are the Provisions Related to STs in India?

UPSC Civil Services Examination Previous Year Question (PYQ)


Q1. If a particular area is brought under the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution of India, which one of the following statements best reflects the consequence of it? (2022)

(a) This would prevent the transfer of land of tribal people to non-tribal people.
(b) This would create a local self-governing body in that area.
(c) This would convert that area into a Union Territory.
(d) The State having such areas would be declared a Special Category State.

Ans: (a)

Q2. Under which Schedule of the Constitution of India can the transfer of tribal land to private parties for mining be declared null and void? (2019)

(a) Third Schedule
(b) Fifth Schedule 
(c) Ninth Schedule 
(d) Twelfth Schedule

Ans: (b)


Q. What are the two major legal initiatives by the State since Independence addressing discrimination against Scheduled Tribes (STs)? (2017)

Source: TH

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