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Govt set to grant ST status to six Assam communities

Tribal population of the state will now go up to 40%.

Written by Vijaita Singh | New Delhi | June 26, 2014 2:08:03 am

Assam is all set to become a tribal-dominated state with the government giving a go-ahead to fast-track the procedure to grant Scheduled Tribe status to six communities, including the Koch Rajbongshis who have been demanding the status for two decades now.

Before he became PM, Narendra Modi, during one of his election rallies in Assam, had promised the status to the six communities who are a major votebank in the region that has seen violent ethnic clashes in the past. If the ST status is provided to these six communities, the tribal population of the state will go up to 40 per cent. Chhattisgarh has 34 per cent tribal population.

Home Secretary Anil Goswami, who is readying a presentation to be made before the PM, has mentioned this proposal to grant ST status to these communities as a “key priority area”.

Though the state government has been supporting the ST tag for the communities, a notification by the Registrar General of India under the MHA would give them larger benefits and improved facilities under the various government schemes.

During a rally in Assam in April, Modi had said: “I know Koch Rajbongshi, Adivasi workers of tea garden, Matak, Moran and Sootia communities are struggling for ST status but your voice is not heard. This government (UPA) in power for the past 10 years in Delhi can’t give you ST status. Ask the PM, he will not respond to your cause. They have no commitment to people.”

Goswami will also tell Modi that reducing the Maoists to “insignificant levels” was also one of the key agendas of the government. As already announced by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, the issue of restoring normalcy and return of migrants to Jammu and Kashmir was also an important aspect for the government.

Singh also directed his officials to prepare a comprehensive plan for filling up vacancies of IPS officers and chalk out a plan for their regular promotion. Currently, there are 930 vacancies in the IPS and despite hiring 150 officers every year into the service, the backlog, which started in the late 1990s when L K Advani was the home minister, has not been cleared.

Empanelment of nearly 80 DIG-rank IPS officers of 1994 batch has also been delayed and the file related to their promotion as IGP has been pending with the Department of Personnel and Training for the last four months. Singh also expressed concern over the delays in routine administrative matters relating to IPS cadre, saying it demoralised the police force. He asked the ministry officials to find an early solution relating to issues of career planning and training of IPS officers at the earliest and make the police service more attractive.

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