To facilitate greater empowerment of tribals,the new Draft National Tribal Policy is likely to focus on autonomy and self-governance,while addressing concerns of displacement,rehabilitation and resettlement. According to officials,a meeting of the expert group chaired by Tribal Affairs Minister V Kishore Chandra Deo stressed the need of the policy to take up good governance in tribal areas since tribals are denied good governance and basic tenets of rule of law.
The group said the policy ought to emphasise on homogeneity of land alienation and displacement,instead of heterogeneity of language,dialects and customs.
In a major move,the draft policy will dwell upon the criteria for a community to be a Scheduled Tribe. The ministry will push for a relook to facilitate fresh rules. This,it claims,will ensure a lot of communities deserving to be in the list but are left out,are given their due.
The policy,it was discussed in the meeting,should create an enabling framework for tribals by introducing a system of self-governance. The draft policy will focus on ways to ensure tribals are able to retain their culture and tradition while they enter the mainstream. It will stress cultural and traditional rights. Their traditional system of medicine and issues of Intellectual Property Rights will be included in the draft policy.
The ministry had first drafted such a policy in 2006 under the then minister P R Kyndiah. The policy has been hanging fire since. Deo felt a fresh policy was needed for which he constituted a five-member committee headed by him. The ministry hopes to finalise the draft by mid-October,before putting it in public domain for a month and taking it to the Cabinet.