The government on December 9 introduced four Bills that seek to modify the Scheduled Tribes list in the four States of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh and Chhattisgarh in the Lok Sabha, via amendments proposed in the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950.
Minister for Tribal Affairs Arjun Munda introduced these bills in the first half of the day’s proceedings in the Lower House. The Bill seeks to add the Narikoravan and Kuruvikkaran hill tribes to the ST list of Tamil Nadu. The demand for their inclusion dates to before 1965 and even the Lokur Committee had in its report of that year recommended its inclusion.
Before introducing this Bill in Lok Sabha, Tribal Affairs Minister Arjun Munda on Friday morning posted a picture on Twitter saying that a delegation of Narikoravan and Kuruvikkaran community members met him at his residence to request that their tribes be added to the ST list of their State.
The government also moved a bill to introduce Betta-Kuruba as a synonym for the already categorised Kadu kuruba in the ST list of Karnataka. It also moved a bill to add a number of synonyms in Devnagri script for the already categorised Bhariya Bhumia tribe in the ST list of Chhattisgarh. The ministry has said that they are all part of the same tribe but had been kept out of the list just because they pronounced and spelt their names differently.
The Hattee community of Sirmaur district’s Trans-Giri region was added to the ST list of Himachal Pradesh—a demand pending for almost five decades. The BJP has time and again promised to provide ST status to the community and had announced the approval of their addition in September this year, weeks before the dates for the Himachal Pradesh polls were announced. During the announcement, when cleared by the Union Cabinet, Mr Munda had said 1.6 lakh people of the region would be able to avail schemes meant for their benefit of STs. Interestingly, results of the Assembly polls in Himachal Pradesh showed that BJP won 3 of 5 seats in the Sirmaur district.