Constitution (Jammu and Kashmir) Scheduled Tribes Order (Amendment) Bill, 2023

Constitution (Jammu and Kashmir) Scheduled Tribes Order (Amendment) Bill, 2023

The Constitution (Jammu and Kashmir) Scheduled Tribes Order (Amendment) Bill, 2023 has been introduced in Lok Sabha on July 26, 2023.

The Bill amends the Constitution (Jammu and Kashmir) Scheduled Tribes Order, 1989, so as to create separate lists for Scheduled Tribes in the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

Inclusion of certain communities in the list of Jammu and Kashmir: The Bill adds four communities to the list of Scheduled Tribes in Jammu and Kashmir. These are Gadda Brahmin, Koli, Padari tribe and Pahari ethnic groups.

Present situation:

  • The major Scheduled Tribe communities in Jammu and Kashmir are Gujjars and Bakarwals, who live mainly in the districts of Rajouri, Poonch, Reasi, Kishtwar, Anantnag, Bandipora, Ganderbal and Kupwara.
  • Most of them, especially the Bakerwals, are nomadic – they move to higher places with their livestock in the summer, and return before the onset of winter.
  • They were given ST status in 1991 along with two smaller groups of Gaddis and Sippis. They are the third largest group in Jammu and Kashmir after Kashmiris and Dogras.
  • It has provided these four communities with the right of 10% reservation in government jobs and admission in educational institutions. Also in 2019, they were given 10% quota in Lok Sabha and Vidhansabha seats in Jammu and Kashmir.

Procedure for inclusion in Scheduled Tribe list:

  • The concerned state government recommends tribes for inclusion in the ST list to the ‘Ministry of Tribal Affairs’, which reviews and sends them to the Registrar General of India for approval.
  • The approval of the ‘National Commission for Scheduled Tribes’ (NCST) is taken before the list is sent to the cabinet for a final decision.
  • The final decision depends on the President issuing a notification specifying the changes under his powers under Article 342.

Article – 342:

  • The President may with respect to any State or Union territory, and where it is a State, after consultation with the Governor thereof, by public notification, specify the tribes or tribal communities or parts of or groups within tribes or tribal communities which shall for the purposes of this Constitution be deemed to be Scheduled Tribes in relation to that State or Union territory.
  • The inclusion of any community in the Scheduled Tribes becomes effective only when the President gives his assent to the Bill amending the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950, then the Bill has to be passed by both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha.

National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST)

The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) was established by amending Article 338 of the Constitution of India and by inserting a new Article 338A in the Constitution by the Constitution (89th Amendment) Act, 2003, hence it is a constitutional body.

Source – Indian Express

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