Lok Sabha on Monday passed a bill to include the ‘Darlong’ community as a sub-tribe of the ‘Kuki’ in the list of Scheduled Tribes of Tripura even as Opposition members called for a more comprehensive legislation on including communities in the Scheduled Caste and Tribes lists rather than in a piecemeal allocation.
Moving the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2022, in Lok Sabha, Minister for Tribal Affairs, Arjun Munda, said the Union government was working towards betterment of living conditions of the tribal communities, and good results will be visible on the health, education and employment fronts.
“The government is committed to the development of tribal areas and sufficient funds have been allocated for the purpose,” he said.
Responding to issues flagged by members during the course of the debate, he said the Union Information and Technology Ministry had recently came up with a plan to develop broadband and 4G connectivity in aspirational districts. Funds for it will be allocated under the Scheduled Tribes component, Mr Munda said.
On the issue of healthcare of tribals, he said the issue assumes importance for the government and recently the ICMR was allocated funds for research into the field.
Call for census
During the debate, Opposition members made a strong pitch for a comprehensive legislation for inclusion of various castes from States into Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) rather than doing it in a piecemeal manner.
Speaking during the debate, A. Raja of the DMK said there has been little upliftment of many SCs and STs despite there being various mechanisms in place since Independence. This is a matter of concern, Mr Raja said. There are many castes which are economically and socially backward in States and there is an urgent need for their inclusion in these specialised category, he added.
“Please get details from all States and have holistic study. After the study, you list out which communities that can be included in the SCs and STs,” he urged.
Pradyut Bordoloi of the Congress said there are many other communities including from Assam who have been demanding inclusion in the SC and the ST categories. He also made a case for caste census so that government has data for inclusion of more communities in the SC and the ST lists. Quoting a parliamentary committee report, Mr Bordoloi said the panel has noted that the National Commission of STs has been dysfunctional for the last four years and has not released a single report.