NATIONAL COMMISSION FOR SCHEDULED CASTES
The National Commission for Scheduled Castes, a Constitutional body monitors the safeguards provided for Scheduled Castes and also reviews issues concerning their welfare.The SCs constitute 16.23% of India’s population spread all over the country, with 80% of them living in the rural areas. They constitute more than a fifth of the population of UP, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and West Bengal. Punjab has the highest proportion of SCs to the State population. More than half of the SC population is concentrated in the five States of Uttar Pradesh (35.1 million), west Bengal (18.4 million), Tamil Nadu (11.8 million), Andhra Pradesh (12.3 million) and Bihar (13.0 million).Due to their social disability and economic backwardness, they were grossly handicapped in getting reasonable share in elected offices, Government jobs and educational institutions and, therefore, it was considered necessary to follow a policy of reservations in their favour to ensure their equitable participation in governance.
Functions and duties of the commission are:
a)To investigate and monitor all matters relating to the safeguards provided for the Scheduled Castes 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 safeguard;
b)To inquire into specific complaints with respect to the deprivation of rights and safeguards of the Scheduled Castes;
c)To participate and advise on the planning process of socio-economic development of the Scheduled Castes and to evaluate the progress of their development under the Union and any
d)To present to the President, annually and at such other times as the Commission may deem fit, reports upon the working of those safeguards;
e)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 socioeconomic development of the Scheduled Castes; and
f)To discharge such other functions in relation to the protection, welfare and development and advancement of the Scheduled Castes as the President may, subject to the provisions of any law made by Parliament, by rule specify.
NATIONAL COMMISSION ON SCHEDULED TRIBES
The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes was first formed by the Government of India in 1978 as a Non-statutory Multi-Member Commission. Initially, the Commission was set up through a resolution for both the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. In the year 1987, the Government of India re-structured the duties of the Commission by authorizing it to advice on the Broad Policy Issues and Levels of Development of SCs and STs. The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) was established by amending Article 338 and inserting a new Article 338A in the Constitution through the Constitution (89th Amendment) Act, 2003. By this amendment, the erstwhile National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes was replaced by two separate Commissions namely- (i) the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC), and (ii) the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) in 2004. Scheduled Tribes live in contiguous areas unlike other communities. It is, therefore, much simpler to have an area-approach for development activities and also regulatory provisions to protect their interests. In order to protect the interests of Scheduled Tribes with regard to land alienation and other social factors, provisions of “Fifth Schedule” and “Sixth Schedule” have been enshrined in the Constitution.
Functions of the Commission are:
a.To investigate and monitor all the matters relating to the safeguards provided for the SCs and STs under the Constitution of India or under any other law and to evaluate the working of such scapegoats.
b.To enquire into specific complaints with respect to the deprivation of the rights and the safeguards of the SCs and the STs.
c.To participate and advise on the planning process of socio-economic development of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes and to evaluate the progress of their development under the Union and any State.
d.To present to the President, annually andat such other times as the Commission may deem fit, reports upon the working of those safeguards.
e.To make in such reports or recommendations as to the measures that should be taken by the Union or any State for the effective implementation of those the protection, welfare and socio-economic development of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes as the President may by lured specify.
The term Scheduled Tribes is defined in the Constitution of India under Article 366 as such tribes or tribal communities or parts of groups within such tribes or tribal communities as are deemed under Article 342 to be Scheduled Tribes for the purposes of this Constitution.According to the Article 342(1), the President may, with respect to any State or Union Territory, and where it is State, after consultation with the Governor thereof, notifies tribes or tribal communities or parts thereof as Scheduled Tribes. This confers on the tribe or part of it a Constitutional status invoking the safeguards provided for in the Constitution, to these communities in their respective States/ UTs. Thus only those communities who have been declared as such by the President through an initial public notification will be considered as Scheduled Tribes. Parliament may, by law, include in or exclude from the list of Scheduled Tribes, any tribe or tribal community or parts of thereof. The list of Scheduled Tribes is State-specific. In other words, a community declared as Scheduled Tribe in one State need not be so in another State.
The Commission presents an annual report to the President. The President places all the reports before the Parliament along with memorandum explaining the action taken on the recommendations made by the Commission. The memorandum also contains the reasons for the non acceptance of any recommendation.
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