The Government has set up a high level panel to prepare a position paper on the socio-economic, health and educational status of tribals and also recommend policy initiatives as well as effective outcome-oriented measures to improve development indicators and strengthen public service delivery to STs.
India has around 8.6% people belonging to tribal community. The population is concentrated in the north-east, particularly in Nagaland, Mizoram, Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh, and in those parts now overrun by Maoists — Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and parts of Bihar and Maharashtra.
Who will be the members of the Committee?
Virginius Xaxa, noted tribal expert and eminent sociologist, who was recently appointed member of the Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council, will be the head of the Committee.
Other members include Usha Ramanathan, Joseph Bara, K.K. Misra, Abhay Bang and Sunila Basant, all of whom are familiar with the problems of tribals and come from diverse backgrounds — Law, History, Anthropology, Medicine and Administration.
What will be the focus of the Committee?
The panel is likely to focus on the following areas:
- The impact of involuntary displacement and imposed migration on tribal communities.
- Effect of rapid urbanisation on their original habitats
- To examine whether new possibilities of employment and livelihood available to them.
- To measure their asset base and income levels, and changes in the patterns of ownership and productivity of their immovable assets
- To analyze the role of public policy and the legal framework in facilitating/inhibiting such changes, the level of their socio-economic development, and their relative share of public and private sector employment, and consider what steps have been taken by States/Union Territories for capacity building and improving their employability.
- To examine whether tribal communities have adequate access to education and health services, municipal infrastructure, bank credit, and other services provided by government/public sector entities; and the level of schools, health centres, ICDS centres, etc, in areas of tribal concentration in comparison to the general level of such social infrastructure in various States.
- To look at whether protective legislation such as the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989, the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, the Forest Rights Act and the Food Security Ordinance are being implemented effectively.