National Commission For Schedule Tribes
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) w.e.f. 19 February, 2004. Detailed background information about the historical evolution of the National Commission has been given in Chapter-1 of the first Report of the Commission for the year 2004-05 and 2005-06.
The term of office of Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson and each member is three years from the date of assumption of charge. The Chairperson has been given the rank of Union Cabinet Minister, and the Vice-Chairperson that of a Minister of State and other Members have the ranks of a Secretary to the Government of India.
The first National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) was constituted in March, 2004 and comprised Shri Kunwar Singh, Chairperson (who assumed office on 15.3.2004), Shri Tapir Gao, Vice-Chairperson (who assumed office on 3.3.2004), Shri Lama Lobzang, (who assumed office on 2.3.2004), Smt. Prem Bai Mandavi, (who assumed office on 4.3.2004) and Shri Buduru Srinivasulu, (who assumed office on 11.3.2004) as Members. The office of Vice-Chairperson had fallen vacant w.e.f. 31.3.2004 consequent upon resignation of Shri Tapir Gao and was vacant till 29.5.2006 on which date Shri Gajendra Singh Rajukhedi joined the office of Vice-Chairperson. While Shri Kunwar Singh, Chairperson resigned from his office on 14.2.2007 (A/N), the Members of the first Commission demitted their office in the month of March, 2007 from the date of completion of their three years tenure. Shri Gajendra Singh Rajukhedi also resigned from the office of Vice-Chairperson on 15.05.2007.
The second commission comprised of Smt. Urmila Singh, as Chairperson, Shri Maurice Kujur as Vice Chairperson, Shri Tsering Samphel, and Shri Oris Syiem Myriaw, as Members (Smt. Urmila Singh assumed office on 18.06.2007 and resigned on 24.01.2010 consequent upon her appointment as Governor of Himachal Pradesh), Shri Maurice Kujur, Vice Chairperson remained in office from 25.04.2008 to 24.04.2011, Shri Tsering Samphel, Member who assumed office on 14.06.2007 demitted his office on 13.06.2010. Similarly Shri Oris Syiem Myriaw, Member, who assumed office on 17.04.2008 demitted on 16.04.2011 after completion of three year term.
In the third Commission, Dr. Rameshwar Oraon, assumed office of Chairperson on 28.10.2010, Smt. K. Kamala Kumari, assumed office of Member on 21.07.2010 while Shri Bheru Lal Meena, assumed office of Member on 28.10.2010. The posts of Vice chairperson and one Member in the Commission remained vacant. Smt. K. Kamla Kumari demitted Office after completion of her three-year tenure on 20/07/2013. Similarly, after completion of their respective three year terms Dr. Rameshwar Oraon, Chairperson demitted his office on 27/10/2013 and Shri Bheru Lal Meena, Member demitted his Office on 28/10/2013 (FN).
Dr. Rameshwar Oraon has been re-appointed with 2nd term of three years as Chairperson, National Commission for Scheduled Tribes. Similarly Smt. K. Kamla Kumari and Shri Bheru Lal Meena, were also re-appointed with 2nd term of three years as Members of the Commission. All of them assumed the respective Offices on 01/11/2013. Shri Ravi Thakur, MLA in Himachal Pradesh Assembly has been appointed as Vice-Chairperson of the Commission. Shri Ravi Thakur has assumed the office on 14/11/2013. However due to sudden demise of Smt K.Kamla Kumari on 17/07/2014 and Shri Bheru Lal Meena on 19/08/2014, three posts of Members are presently lying vacant in the Commission.
Functions of the Commission
To investigate & Monitor matters relating to Safeguards provided for STs under the Constitution or under other laws or under Govt. Order, to evaluate the working of such Safeguards.
To inquire into specific complaints relating to Rights & Safeguards of STs;
To participate and Advise in the Planning Process relating to Socio-economic development of STs, and to Evaluate the progress of their development under the Union and any State;
To submit report to the President annually and at such other times as the Commission may deem fit, upon/ working of Safeguards, Measures required for effective implementation of Programmers/ Schemes relating to Welfare and Socio-economic development of STs;
To discharge such other functions in relation to STs as the President may, subject to the provisions of any law made by Parliament, by rule specify.
The Commission would also discharge the following other functions in relation to the protection, welfare and development & advancement of the Scheduled Tribes, namely:-
(i)Measures that need to be taken over conferring ownership rights in respect of minor forest produce to the Scheduled Tribes living in forest areas.
(ii)Measures to be taken to safeguard rights to the Tribal Communities over mineral resources, water resources etc. as per law.
(iii) Measures to be taken for the development of tribals and to work for move viable livelihood strategies.
(iv)Measures to be taken to improve the efficacy of relief and rehabilitation measures for tribal groups displaced by development projects.
(v)Measures to be taken to prevent alienation of tribal people from land and to effectively rehabilitate such people in whose case alienation has already taken place.
(vi)Measures to be taken to elicit maximum cooperation and involvement of Tribal Communities for protecting forests and undertaking social afforestation.
(v)Measures to be taken to ensure full implementation of the Provisions of Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996
(viii)Measures to be taken to reduce and ultimately eliminate the practice of shifting cultivation by Tribals that lead to their continuous disempowerment and degradation of land and the environment.
National Commission For Schedule Tribes
6th Floor, ‘B’ Wing,
Loknayak Bhawan, Khan Market,
Information and Facilitation Centre- 1800117777 (Toll Free)
Mail: chairperson@ ncst.nic.in