Addition of Tribes in ST List - The Hindu - 21/12/22

Recently, government has approved the inclusion of certain communities in the lists of Scheduled Tribes in Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, fulfilling long-pending demands from these states which led to debates in the Parliament.

1. Narikoravan and Kurivikkaran (Tamil Nadu): Nomadic tribes like the Narikuravas and Kuruvikaras (jackal catchers and bird eaters) pride themselves on their traditional occupations of hunting and gathering.
2. Gond Community (Uttar Pradesh): The Cabinet approved a proposal to bring the Gond community residing in 13 districts of Uttar Pradesh, under the ST list from the Scheduled Caste list. This includes the five subcategories of the Gond community (Dhuria, Nayak, Ojha, Pathari, and Rajgond).
3. ‘Betta-Kuruba’ (Karnataka): The ST status granted to the Betta-Kuruba community as a synonym of Kadu Kuruba of Karnataka. Betta-Kuruba community has been demanding to include in the ST category for the last 30 years.
4. Hatti Tribe (Himachal Pradesh): The Hattis are a close-knit community who got their name from their tradition of selling homegrown vegetables, crops, meat and wool etc. at small markets called ‘haat’ in towns.
5. Binjhia (Chhattisgarh): The Binjhia in Chhattisgarh were listed as ST in Jharkhand and Odisha but not in Chhattisgarh.

Process of inclusion in the ST list:
The process to include tribes in the ST list begins with the recommendation 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.
This is followed by the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes’ approval before the list is sent to the Cabinet for a final decision.

->Recommendations by the Panda Task force: The Taskforce identified the specific communities based on many factors such as
-A few of them being subsets of communities already categorized as ST and few being phonetic variations of existing tribes. Some were left out when States were bifurcated and some were omitted inexplicably such as the Pulayan community of Tamilnadu and Konda Kumari community of Andhra Pradesh.
-A few more were lost out on categorisation because they were forcibly taken away from their homelands as indentured labour to other States or were displaced due to industrialisation.

->Major issues involved with the recognition new communities as STs:
-Cumbersome and time-consuming process of inclusion
-Strict Criteria of identification
-Political reasons

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