The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes has been dysfunctional for the last four years and has not delivered a single report to Parliament, a parliamentary committee has said in a recent report.
The pending reports include a study by the Commission of the impact of the Indira Sagar Polavaram Project in Andhra Pradesh on the tribal population and a special report on rehabilitation and resettlement of displaced tribals because of the Rourkela Steel Plant.
The Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment, headed by BJP’s Rama Devi, found that these reports, though finalised by the Commission are withheld with the Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs.
The Commission is vested with all the powers of a civil court while investigating any matter on inquiring into any complaint relating to deprivation of rights and safeguards for Scheduled Tribes.
‘Reports under process in Ministry’
"The Committee are constrained to note that the Reports of the Commission since 2018 are still under process in the Ministry of Tribal Affairs and have not been presented to the Parliament till date. The Committee would like the matter to be expedited and Reports presented without any delay," the committee stated.
It expressed dismay over the near paralysis of the Commission's working with manpower and budgetary shortage. The Ministry claimed that the recruitment in the Commission was constrained because of lack of applicants as the eligibility bar was set too high and the rules being tweaked to enable many more candidates to apply. As per the Commission's website, in the financial year 2021-22, it has met only four times. Its rate of pendency of resolution of complaints and cases that it receives is also close to 50 per cent.