The Scheduled Tribes comprise about 8.6% of India’s population according to the 2011 census report. Scheduled Tribe communities have been marginalised and oppressed before and after the Independence based on geographical isolation. The National Commission of Scheduled Tribes describes ST as “Primitiveness” based on certain traits like geographical isolation, shyness and social, educational and economic backwardness. These traits distinguish Scheduled-Tribe communities of our country from other communities. In this blog we will know about the ST category in detail.
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What is the ST Category?
The term Scheduled Tribe is recognised in Article 342 of the Constitution of India which deals with the notification of ST. Recently, there has been a debate going on about not using the term “tribe/tribal” anymore, instead using indigenous. According to the constitution of India, a person will be held to be a member of a Scheduled Tribe if he/she belongs to a tribe which has been declared as such under the various orders issued by the Government. They are considered the most disadvantaged socio-economic group in India.
According to Article 366(25) of the Constitution of India, Scheduled Tribes are those communities that are scheduled in accordance with Article 342 of the Constitution of India. Article 342 of the Constitution of India says that “The Scheduled Tribes are the tribes or tribal communities or part of or groups within these tribes and tribal communities which have been declared as such by the President through a public notification.”
The Scheduled Tribes comprise about 8.6% of India’s population according to the 2011 census report. The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950 lists 744 tribes across 22 states in its First Schedule. The Ministry of Tribal Affairs released a list of 75 tribes that come under the Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups. Mizoram and Lakshadweep had the highest percentage of tribes.
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Government Initiatives to Improve and Protect the ST Community
National Commission for Scheduled Tribes, an Indian Constitutional body was established through the 89th Constitutional Amendment Act, of 2003. It has been set up under Article 338 A. Kunwar Singh was the first Chairperson of the commission in 2004. One of the main roles of the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes is to investigate and monitor all matters relating to the protection and improvement of the Scheduled Tribes under the Constitution.
The Constitution of India provides three strategies to improve and protect the situation of the ST Community:
- Article 46
Protective arrangements are required to enforce equality, provide punitive measures for transgressions, and eliminate established practices that perpetuate inequities. Several laws were enacted to implement the provisions of the Constitution.
- Article 16 (4A)
To provide positive treatment in the allotment of jobs and access to higher education as a means to accelerate the integration of the STs with mainstream society. Affirmative action is popularly known as Reservation. Article 16 of the Constitution states “nothing in this article shall prevent the State from making any provisions for the reservation of appointments or posts in favour of any backward class of citizens, which, in the opinion of the state, is not adequately represented in the services under the State”. However, the reservations about affirmative action were only allotted in the public sector, not the private sector.
To provide resources and benefits to bridge the socio-economic gap between the STs and other communities. Legislation to improve the socio-economic situation of STs because 37% of SC households lived below the poverty line.
- The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006
This Act was implemented to assure and protect the rights of the communities and the individuals of Tribal people in forest areas. It assures the right to free and prior informed consent in the event of their displacement and resettlement.
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ST Category Benefits
Since the independence of India, the Scheduled Tribes were given Reservation Status. Individuals having ST certificates can avail themselves of many benefits provided by the government. The main intent of providing this certificate is to improve the quality of life of people belonging to the backward class and to help them move forward in every aspect of life.
Here are some of the common benefits that are provided to people belonging to the Scheduled Caste community:
- Political Representation (Article 330; Article 332)
- Preference in Promotion
- Quota in Universities
- Free and Stipended Education
- Banking Services
- Various Government Schemes
Here is a list of mandatory documents required to apply and to receive (only after verification) the Scheduled Tribe certificate.
- Identity Proof of Parents
- Identity Proof of Beneficiary
- Present Address of the Parents and/or Beneficiary
- Permanent Address of the Parents and/or Beneficiary
For Identification proof, documents acceptable are (any one of the following)
- Aadhar Card
- Pan Card
- Ration Card with Photo
- Voter Id Card
- Driving Licence
- Any ID issued by Govt. of India
For Present/Permanent Address proof, applicable documents are (any one of the following)
- Aadhar Card
- Voter Id Card
- Driving Licence
- Ration Card
- Rent Agreement (Registered)
- Bank Passbook
- Electricity Bill
- Water Bill
- Telephone Bill (Landline/Postpaid)
- Gas Bill
- Any Govt. issued document
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ST stands for Scheduled Tribe.
The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950 lists 744 tribes across 22 states in its First Schedule.
Identity proof such as an Aadhar card, a Pan card or Passport or Driving License or Voters Card. Copy of ST certificate of father, sister, brother or of blood relative from the paternal side.
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