National Commission for Scheduled Tribes Current Affairs - 2019

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Indian Forest Service to be renamed as Indian Forest and Tribal Service

The Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions has initiated an inter-ministerial consultation note to rename the Indian Forest Service as Indian Forest and Tribal Service. The consultation note also contains the proposal to train the cadre to be more receptive towards tribals and forest dwellers.

Why the proposal has been made?

The proposal has been made according to the recommendations made by the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) in its annual report. The NCST had made the following observations in this regard:

  • The NCST highlights the close ties between tribals, the forest and forest ecosystem as a resource-base.
  • NCST recommends the renaming of the Indian Forest Service into Indian Forest and Tribal Service in recognition of the close ties between tribals, the forest and forest ecosystem.
  • NCST argues that merging forest and tribal welfare administrations will further the participation of ‘tribals’ in forest management.
  • The NCST states that renaming will also engender greater sensitivity on the forest department’s part towards the needs of ‘tribal’ communities.

Indian Forest Service

The erstwhile Imperial Forest Service was constituted in 1867 recognising the need to have a premier forest service to manage the varied natural resources of the vast country like India and to organize the affairs of the Imperial Forest Department.

After the subject of Forestry was moved to the “Provincial List” by the Government of India Act, 1935, the recruitment to the Imperial Forest Service was discontinued.

In the year 1966, the government of India constituted Indian Forest Service as one of the three All India Services under the All India Services Act, 1951.

The Indian forest service was provided with the mandate of the implementation of the National Forest Policy which envisages scientific management of forests and to exploit them on a sustained basis for primary timber products, among other things.

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Nand Kumar Sai takes charge as Chairperson of NCST

Senior tribal leader from Chhattisgarh and ex-parliamentarian Nand Kumar Sai (71) took charge as Chairperson of National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) in Delhi.

He succeeds Rameshwar Oraon, whose tenure had ended on October 31, 2016. He will have tenure of three years and has been given the rank of Union Cabinet Minister.

About Nand Kumar Sai 

  • He is actively involved in spread of education in tribal areas. He was in the forefront of various movements to oppose atrocities and exploitation of tribals.
  • He was elected to Madhya Pradesh legislative assembly in 1977, 1985 and 1998. He was also elected to the Chhattisgarh legislative assembly in 2000. He was the first leader of opposition in the House.
  • He was elected to the Lok Sabha in 1989, 1996 and 2004 and also to Rajya Sabha in 2009 and 2010.
  • He has served as member of parliamentary standing committee on coal and steel and parliamentary consultative committee of Ministry of Urban Development and Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.

About National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) 

  • NCST is constitutional body set up under Article 338A added through Constitution (89th Amendment) Act, 2003. It was bifurcated from erstwhile National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
  • The First commission was constituted on 2004 with Kunwar singh as the chairperson.C
  • Composition: Chairperson, a Vice-Chairperson and three full-time Members (including one lady Member). All of them have tenure of three years from the date of assumption of charge.
  • Functions: Investigate and monitor all matters relating to the safeguards provided for the STs under the Constitution or under any other law or under any order of the Government and evaluate the working of such safeguards
  • Inquire into specific complaints with respect to the deprivation of rights and safeguards of STs.
  • Participate and advise in planning process of socio-economic development of the STs and to evaluate the progress of their development under the Centre and any State;
  • Present President, annually reports upon the working of those safeguards.
  • To make in such reports, recommendations as to measures to be taken by Governments for effective implementation of those safeguards and other measures for the protection, welfare and socio-economic development STs.

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