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Kurmis’ Push for ST Status

  • 14 Apr 2023
  • 6 min read

Why in News?

Recently, the Kurmi Community has called off the agitation in Bengal, asking for the inclusion in the ST (Scheduled Tribe) Status from Other Backward Class (OBC).

What is the Background?

  • Kurmis were not included among the communities classified as STs in the 1931 Census and were excluded from the ST list in 1950.
  • In 2004, the Jharkhand government recommended the community be added to the ST list rather than be categorized as OBCs.
  • Following the recommendation, the matter went to the Tribal Research Institute (TRI), which held that Kurmis are a sub-caste of Kunbis and not tribals. Based on this, the Centre rejected the demand of Kurmis to be considered as ST.
  • According to the Tribal Development Department of the state government, the state’s tribal population is almost 53 lakhs as per Census 2011, or about 5.8% of the state's total population.

What is the Process of Inclusion under ST?

  • The process for including a community in the list of ST follows a set of modalities established in 1999.
  • The respective State or Union Territory government must initiate the proposal for inclusion, which then goes to the Union Tribal Affairs Ministry and subsequently to the Office of the Registrar General of India (ORGI).
  • If the ORGI approves the inclusion, the proposal is then sent to the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes, and if they concur, the proposal is forwarded to the Cabinet for amendment to the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950.

Who are the Kurmis?

  • About:
    • Kurmis are a landowning farming community whose status varies from place to place.
    • Kurmis are referred to as “progressive farmers” who “avail of maximum benefits of all the development schemes available in the area and region.
    • Kurmis are distributed across several states — Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Goa, and Karnataka.
  • Caste Status:
    • In most states, Kurmis belong to the OBC in both the central and state lists for reservations.
    • In Gujarat, Patels, who are linked to Kurmis, are in the general category, and have been demanding OBC status.
    • In West Bengal, Odisha, and Jharkhand — where Kurmi is written as ‘Kudmi’ — Kurmis want to be included among Scheduled Tribes.
  • Kurmali Language:
    • Kurmali language is a language spoken by the Kurmi community, primarily in the Indian states of Bihar, Jharkhand, and Odisha.
    • The Kurmali language is a member of the Indo-Aryan language family and belongs to the Bihari language family. It shares some similarities with Maithili and Magahi. It has its own script called "Kurmi Kudali" which is a modified version of the Devanagari script.

UPSC Civil Services Examination Previous Year Question (PYQ)


Q1. Every year, a month long ecologically important campaign/festival is held during which certain communities/tribes plant saplings of fruit-bearing trees. Which of the following are such communities/ tribes? (2014)

(a) Bhutia and Lepcha
(b) Gond and Korku
(c) Irula and Toda
(d) Sahariya and Agariya

Ans: (b)

Q2. The provisions in Fifth Schedule and Sixth Schedule in the Constitution of India are made in order to (2015)

(a) protect the interests of Scheduled Tribes
(b) determine the boundaries between States
(c) determine the powers, authority and responsibilities of Panchayats
(d) protect the interests of all the border States

Ans: (a)

Q3. 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)

Q4. 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)

Source: IE

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