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NHRC Stressed on Implementation of Idate Commission Report |

NHRC Stressed on Implementation of Idate Commission Report

Context

∙ The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has stressed on the need to implement the Idate Commission report for welfare of NTs, SNTs, and DNTs.

Nomadic, Semi Nomadic, and Denotified Tribes (NTs, SNTs, and DNTs)

∙ Nomadic and semi-nomadic communities are defined as those who move from one place to another rather than living at one place all the time.

∙ Denotified tribes (DNTs) are communities that were ‘notified’ as being ‘born criminal’ during the British regime under a series of laws starting with the Criminal Tribes Act of 1871.

∙ These are communities who are the most vulnerable and deprived.

Challenges faced by NTs, SNTs, and DNTs

∙ Lack of Recognition and Documentation: Denotified communities lacking citizenship documents, which makes their identity invisible and causes hindrances in obtaining government benefits, constitutional, and citizenship rights.

∙ Limited Political Representation: Inadequate representation for these communities making it challenging for them to voice their concerns and advocate for their rights.

∙ Social Stigma and Discrimination: NTs, SNTs, and DNTs often face discrimination and social stigma, both due to their historical denotified status and their distinct way of life.

∙ Economic Marginalization: Lack of access to resources, markets, and employment opportunities results in economic marginalization of these communities.

∙ Educational Deprivation: Educational opportunities for these tribes are limited, leading to high illiteracy rates.

Idate Commission:

∙ In 2014 , a National Commission for Denotified, Nomadic and Semi Nomadic Tribes was constituted under the Chairmanship of Bhiku Ramji Idate for a period of three years.

∙ The commission has given the following recommendations;

∙ There is a need to identify challenges faced by the NTs, SNTs, and DNTs owing to the stigma imposed by the enactment of the Criminal Tribes Act, 1871 and later by the Habitual Offenders Act, 1952 and figure out a way to modify discriminatory provisions of the latter.

∙ It also suggested the non-inclusion of DNTs/NTs/SNTs under the SC/ST/OBC and formulation of specific policies for the former, among many others.

∙ Setting up a permanent commission for Nomadic, Semi Nomadic, and Denotified Tribes (NTs, SNTs, and DNTs) in India.

∙ It stressed on taking measures to discern hurdles endured by the communities in availing basic facilities such as education, employment, health care, and legal documents, among others.

Steps Taken by Government

∙ Based on the recommendations of the Idate Commission the Government of India constituted the Development and Welfare Board for DNTs, SNTs &NTs (DWBDNCs) in 2019.

∙ A committee has also been set up by the NITI Aayog to complete the process of identification of the De-Notified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Communities (DNCs).

∙ Scheme for Economic Empowerment of DNTs (SEED): The scheme was launched in 2022 for the welfare of Denotified, Nomadic and Semi Nomadic Communities.

∙ Budget: The Ministry has been allocated Rs. 200 crore for this scheme to be spent over five financial years from 2021-22 to 2025-26.

∙ Components: The four components of the Scheme for Economic Empowerment of DNTs are;

∙ To provide good quality coaching for DNT candidates to enable them to appear in competitive examinations;

∙ To provide Health Insurance to them;

∙ To facilitate livelihood initiative at community level; and

∙ To provide financial assistance for construction of houses for members of these communities.

Way Ahead

∙ The colonial mindset about the Denotified Tribes having “criminal tendencies” needs to change to ensure their human rights are not violated.

∙ Proper documentation of their identities needs to be speeded up so that they get the benefits of welfare schemes and the basic needs are provided to them.

∙ The NHRC has suggested that there is a need to ensure representation of Denotified tribes in parliament, government institutions and higher education to mitigate the challenges faced by them.

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