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Indian Polity

National Commission for Scheduled Tribes

  • 07 Feb 2023
  • 8 min read

For Prelims: NCST, Constitutional Provisions related to STs.

For Mains: NCST: Functions, Scheduled Tribes: Provisions, Initiatives.

Why in News?

The recent data presented by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MoTA) revealed that the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) is currently functioning with less than 50% of its sanctioned strength.

What is the NCST?

  • Formation: NCST was set up in 2004 by amending Article 338 and by inserting a new article 338A in the Constitution through the 89th Constitution Amendment Act, 2003. Hence, it is a constitutional body.
  • Objective: Article 338A inter-alia gives powers to the NCST to oversee the implementation of various safeguards provided to Scheduled Tribes (STs) under the Constitution or under any other law for time being in force or under any other order to the Government and to evaluate the working of such safeguards.
  • Composition: It consists of a Chairperson, a Vice-Chairperson and 3 other Members who are appointed by the President by warrant under his hand and seal.
    • At least one member should be a woman.
    • The Chairperson, the Vice-Chairperson and the other Members hold office for a term of 3 years.
      • The Chairperson has been given the rank of Union Cabinet Minister, the Vice Chairperson has the rank of a Minister of State and other Members have the rank of Secretary to the Government of India.
    • The members are not eligible for appointments for more than two terms.

What are the Duties and Functions of the NCST?

  • To investigate and monitor all matters relating to the safeguards provided for the STs under the Constitution or under any other law for the time being in force or under any order of the Government.
  • To inquire into specific complaints with respect to the deprivation of rights and safeguards of the STs.
  • To participate and advise in the planning process of the socio-economic development of the STs and to evaluate the progress of their development.
  • The Commission shall provide reports on the operation of those safeguards to the President annually and as necessary.
  • To make in such reports recommendations as to the measures that should be taken by the Union or any State for effective implementation of those safeguards.
  • The President, subject to the provisions of any law made by Parliament, may, by rule, discharge any other functions relating to the protection, welfare, development, and advancement of the STs.

What are the Provisions Related to STs in India?

Conclusion

The vacancies should be immediately filled as there should be no reason now for any further delay since the recruitment rules have been suitably revised. Moreover, the lack of manpower is leading to difficulties in performing the functions as well which also makes it important to fill the vacancies immediately for the effective performance of the commission.

UPSC Civil Services Examination Previous Year Question (PYQ)

Prelims

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)


Mains

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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