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National Commission for Schedule Tribes [NCST]

National commission for SC and ST [NCSC/NCST]

The content of this section is same as you’ve studied in previous post (National Commission for Scheduled Castes). To expand, [expand title=”click here.”]

1] It was established by amending the article 338.  And inserting a new article 338 (A) through the 89th Constitutional Amendment Act 2003. By this amendment the erstwhile officer for SC & ST was replaced by two separate commissions.
2] In the original constitution, the article 338 provided for special officers for SCs and STs to protect their interests and evaluate their progress in the country.
3] In 1988, union government initiated the 65th constitutional amendment act after finding that the institutional support was insufficient.
4] In 1990 National commission for SC and ST was established as constitutionally approved institution to protect interest of SCs & STs.
5] Later in 2003, 89th constitutional amendment act replaced the National commission for SC and ST with two separate commission.
Article 338 established NCSC.
Article 338(A) establishes NCST.


Chairperson, vice chairperson and 3 full time members including one woman member..


Article 338(5) & 338(A)(5) lists the functions of NCSC & NCST.
1] To investigate and monitor all matters relating to the safeguards provided for the Scheduled Castes/Tribes under this Constitution or under any other law for the time being in force or under any order of the Government and to evaluate the working of such safeguards.
2] To inquire into specific complaints with respect to the deprivation of rights and safeguards of the Scheduled Castes/Tribes.
3] To participate and advise on the planning process of socio-economic development of the Scheduled Castes/Tribes and to evaluate the progress of their development under the Union and any State.
4] To present to the President, annually and at such other times as the Commission may deem fit, reports upon the working of those safeguards.
5] To make in such reports recommendations as to the measures that should be taken by the Union or any State for the effective implementation of those safeguards and other measures for the protection, welfare and socio-economic development of the Scheduled Castes/Tribes.
6] To discharge such other functions in relation to the protection, welfare and development and advancement of the Scheduled Castes/Tribes as the President may, subject to the provisions of any law made by Parliament, by rule specify
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Tribal Panchsheel

Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru formulated five principles (panchsheel) to deal with tribal.

1] People should develop along the lines of their own genius and imposition of alien values should be avoided
2] Tribal rights in land and forest should be respected.
3] Tribal should be trained in work of administration and development.
4] Tribal areas should not be over administered or overwhelmed with multiplicity of schemes.
5] Results should be just not by statistics or by the money spent but the human character that is evolved.
This was given by Nehru in his article ‘The Right to Tribal People‘ published in Indian Journal of Social Work.

Government Measures for Tribal.

A] Constitutional safeguards for STs can be seen in:
1) educational and cultural safeguards
2) Article 15(4):  Nothing in this article or in clause 2 of article 29 shal prevent the state from making any special provision for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or SC and STs.
3) Article 23: Prohibition of traffic in human beings and forced labour
4) Article 29: Protection of interest of minorities.   (a) Right to conserve their language script of culture. (b) No denial of admission into any educational institution maintained by State or receiving aid out of state funds.
5) Article 46: Promotion of educational and economical interests of SCs and STs and other weaker sections.
6) Article 350: Each person shall be entitled to submit representation for the redress of any grievances to any officer or authority of the union or state in any of the language used in union or in the state as the case may be.

B] Social Safeguards
1) Article 24: Prohibition of employment of children in factories or hazardous work, below the age of 14 years.

C] Economic Safeguards
1) Article 244:  Administration of scheduled areas and tribal areas.
2) Schedule V: Provisions for the administration of scheduled areas and scheduled tribes in states other than Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram.
2) Schedule VI:  Provisions for the administration of tribal areas in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram.

D] Political safeguards
1) Article 164(1):  The chief minister shall be appointed by the governor and the other minister shall be appointed by the governor on the advice of CM and the ministers shall hold office during the pleasure of the governor.
2) Article 337:  Special provisions with respect to educational grants for the benefit of Anglo-Indian community.
3) Article 334:  Reservation of seats and special representation. To cease after 70 years.
4) Article 243:  It defines district, gramsabha, intermediate level, panchayat, panchayat area ,population, village.
5) 6) Article 330 reservation of seats for SC and ST in house of the people
6) Schedule 5 and 6
7) Article 371: Special provisions with respect to states of Maharashtra and Gujarat

371(a) Nagaland371(b) Assam371(c) Manipur371(d)(e) Andhra Pradesh
371(f) Sikkim371(g) Mizoram371(h) Arunachal Pradesh371(i) Goa
371(j) Karnataka

E] Safeguards under statutory laws
1) The SC and ST act 1989
2) Bonded labour system abolition act 1976
3) Child labour prohibition and regulation act
4) Panchayati Raj (Extension to Scheduled Areas) [PESA] act 1996.
5) Scheduled tribes and other forest dwellers or Forest Rights Act 2006.
6) Forest conservation Act.

The Most Important Book for PSIR

PESA Act 1996.

[Panchayat, Extension to Scheduled Areas, Act]

PESA was introduced to institutionalising the panchayati raj (PR) in tribal areas listed under schedule 5. It became pertinent due to 73rd and 74th amendment act.


1] State legislation to be in conformity with customary law, social and religious practices and customary modes of dispute resolution.
2] Hamlet level villages and gram sabhas.
3] Every gram sabha shall be competent to safeguard and preserve the customs of the people, their cultural identity, community resources and the customary mode of dispute resolution.
4] Approval of plants and projects on the selection of beneficiaries by gram sabha.
5] Ownership of gram sabha or minor forest produce.

Forest rights act 2006

The rights which are included in section 31 of this act can be summarised as
1] Land title rights – 75 years / 3 generations living in the area can be given maximum 4 hectares. Not applicable to migrant tribes. Ownership is only for the land that is actually being cultivated by concerned family as on December 13 2005. No new land can be generated (out of forest) by tribal, for three generations (75 years).
2] Use rights – individual and community rights. Rights to minor forest produce, grazing routes or pastoral areas.
3] Relief and development rights – not given relief or development.
4] Forest management rights – sacred groves e.g. Niyamgiri hills. Tribes have right to manage the forest.
6] Relief to rehabilitation in case of illegal eviction or past displacement and to basic amenities, subject to restrictions for forest and wildlife protection.

Issues with FRA.

1] Exclusion errors because of distress migration.
2] While individual rights are insured, community rights are deprived by categorising it as a degraded land which is US into exploitation Jal, Jungle, Jameen (water, forest, land).
3] Denial of development rights, rehabilitation program and delays in relief.

Recommendation by Virginius Xaxa.

1] Increase the powers of gram sabha in case of land acquisition
2] Power of mining rights to be given to tribal cooperative
3] Acquired but unused land can be used for tribal rehabilitation
4] No provisions for big dams to be made.
5] Judicial commission should be set up for Naxal offences.

SC ST Prevention of Atrocities Act 1989

The act has already been studied in previous topic i.e. NCSC. To expand, [expand title = “click here”]

The act prohibits the commission of offences against members of SC and ST and establishes special courts for such offences and rehabilitation of victims.

It defines atrocities as being forced to:
1] Ear or drink something offensive.
2] Parading an individual naked.
3] Sexually assaulting a woman.
4] Forced to leave house or village.
They are termed atrocities, only when committed by non-SC/ST member against SC/ST individual.

The offences registerd under the act are cognisable offences with no requirement for the police to obtain a warrant against a errant individual. Moreover, it is a non-bailable offence under which bail can be denied.
The punishment under the act range from a minimum of 6 months to 5 years.
Under the act, public officials, if failed to uphold the act or neglect it’s implementation, it can become a ground for punitive action  against them including a jail term upto 1 year.
Act also talks about the need for the state to ensure the rehabilitation of the victims. [/expand]

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