The Parliament cleared the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2024, while paving way for addition of new communities to the list of Scheduled Tribes for State of Andhra Pradesh.
The bill cleared by the Parliament seeks to amend the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950, based on recommendation of the State Government of Andhra Pradesh and after consultation with the Registrar General of India and the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes.
The bills stated that the Entry 25 in the Schedule to Part I of the ST Order, 1950 (Andhra Pradesh) ie ‘Porja, Parangiperja’ is sought to be substituted with ‘Porja, Bondo Porja, Khond Porja, Parangiperja’.
Furtehr, the Entry 28 ie ‘Savaras, Kapu Savaras, Maliya Savaras, Khutto Savaras’ is to be replaced by ‘Savaras, Kapu Savaras, Maliya Savaras, Konda Savaras, Khutto Savaras’.
Therefore, the said changes will result in the addition of 3 Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups, PVTGs communities to the Scheduled List: The Bondo Porja and Khond Porja as synonyms of the Porja Tribe and Konda Savaras as synonym of the Savaras Tribe.
The bill was first introduced in Rajya Sabha by Minister of Tribal Affairs Arjun Munda.
Therefore, the bill was passed by the Upper House on February 6, 2024 by voice vote.
While the bill was being discussed, the Indian National Congress MP L Hanumanthaiah notably stated that past five to ten years amendments to Scheduled Castes, SC or Scheduled Tribes, ST lists are being made whenever elections are near, or when it suits the government.
He then asked why the government cannot instead look at the whole SC or ST list afresh and make it ‘inclusive’ across the country.
The Bill now stands cleared the Lok Sabha as well, within the span of 3 days.
Facts Of The Case:
As per Article 32 of the Constitution of India, the first list of the Scheduled Tribes was notified during the year 1950 in respect of various States and Union territories vide the Constitution, the Scheduled Tribes Order, 1950.
The said list was modified from time to time, but with respect to Andhra Pradesh, the list of STs was last modified vide the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014.
Therefore, India has total of 75 PVTGs, yet it is after 75 years of independence that the matter of inclusion of the abovementioned 3 PVTGs in Scheduled List has been taken up by the government.
The said proposal is being followed by launch of the PM PVTG Development Mission under Union Budget 2023-24 for providing access to basic facilities, such as the education, health, clean drinking water, sanitation to PVTGs. Significantly, in November, 2023, the Pradhan Mantri Janjati Adivasi Nyaya Maha Abhiyan, the PM-JANMAN scheme was also launched to enhance PVTGs’ socio-economic conditions.