After ignoring them for five years,the government is waking up to address concerns of denotified and nomadic tribes and is looking at a proposal to set up a national commission for the neglected tribal groups.
In an election year,the Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry has prepared a Cabinet note which seeks to set up not only a commission for denotified and nomadic tribes but also constitute corporations at the national level to fund welfare plans with an initial equity of Rs 200 crore. The proposal wants free education,boarding and lodging for DNT students and an umbrella scheme for their educational and economic empowerment to make them eligible for benefits at par with those of OBCs.
A commission had been set up in 2006 for a year headed by Balkrishna Renke which had submitted 76 recommendations in 2008,but the report was consigned to the shelves. Last year,the National Advisory Council debated the issue and sent a report with recommendations to the government. Among other things,it had sought special advisory to be issued by the Home Ministry to be sent to all state government in developing a code of conduct for police forces while dealing with DNTs.
Denotified tribes are those communities which were notified as criminal tribes by the British and kept under watch by the police. After Independence,though the tribes were denotified,its members continue to be targetted by police and other law enforcement authorities and are among the most disadvantaged communities.
According to government data,there are about 150 denotified tribes and approximately 500 nomadic tribes in the country with their collective strength pegged at roughly 10 per cent of the countrys population.
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