On Monday, August 9, as per the recommendations by Arunachal Pradesh, Lok Sabha passed through a voice vote The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2021.
The Bill seeks to amend the constitutional list of Scheduled Tribes as recommended by Arunachal Pradesh. The Bill was passed by the Rajya Sabha last week and was cleared by the lower house on Monday.
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According to the Bill, at present, there are 18 communities with their synonyms appearing in the illustrative list of Scheduled Tribes in respect of the state of Arunachal Pradesh.
Based on recommendations of the State of Arunachal Pradesh, the Bill provides for modifying Part-XVIII of the Schedule to the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950, relating to the state.
It provides for the deletion of ‘Abor’ (tribe) in serial No. 1, as it is the same as ‘Adi’ in serial No. 16. Secondly, it proposed to bring ‘Tai Khamti’ instead of ‘Khampti’ at serial No. 6 of the list.
It also provides for the inclusion of ‘Mishmi-Kaman (Miju Mishmi)’, ‘Idu (Mishmi)’ and ‘Taraon (Digaru Mishmi)’ in serial No. 8 instead of ‘Mishmi, Idu, Taroan’ in the list.
It also provides for the inclusion of ‘Monpa’, ‘Memba’, ‘Sartang’, ‘Sajolang (Miji)’ in serial No. 9 instead of ‘Momba’ in the list. It also provides for the inclusion of ‘Nocte’, ‘Tangsa’, ‘Tutsa’, ‘Wancho’ instead of ‘Any Naga Tribes’ in serial No. 10 of the list.
The amendments will entail no additional recurring expenditure from the Consolidated Fund of India on account of benefits likely to be provided to persons belonging to the communities proposed in the Bill.
The tribal affairs ministry is already funding for the welfare of 10.45 crores Scheduled Tribes population (Census, 2011).
Further, the Scheduled Tribes are also eligible for benefits under the Scheduled Tribes Component (STC) of schemes under the Central government and state governments.
“Opposition doesn’t care about the tribals”
Union Tribal Affairs Minister Arjun Munda alleged that the Opposition does not care about the welfare of the tribals. This was mainly due to the lack of participation from the opposition, who were busy protesting over the Pegasus snooping row and other issues.
Government trying to suppress the voices of Opposition
In Lok Sabha today, Congress leader from West Bengal Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said today is World Tribal Day and his party wanted to congratulate and extend best wishes to the community.
He said the Opposition wanted to participate in the debate, but the government has been allegedly trying to suppress the voices of the Opposition through its brute majority in the lower house.
He further alleged the citizens of the country have been protesting against the policies of the government and it was scared of the people. This government is arrogant and vindictive, Chowdhury alleged.
However, Arjun Meghwal stated that Chowdhury’s allegations were baseless. He said the Modi government is committed to the welfare of tribals.
Passing of bills in a rush
Trinamool Congress leader Sudip Bandyopadhyay appealed to the government not to pass the bill amidst the din. “We are supporting the Bill but the passage of three bills in 10 minutes is very wrong,” he said, referring to The Limited Liability Partnership (Amendment) Bill 2021 and The Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation (Amendment) Bill 2021 which were passed in quick succession earlier. DMK leader T.R. Baalu said the Bill was very important and it was not proper to rush it through while the Opposition was protesting.
“The Bill will be beneficial for lakhs of tribals”
Law Minister Kiren Rijiju, who hails from Arunachal Pradesh, said many tribal communities from the state were not included in the list even after independence, but Prime Minister Narendra Modi has now decided to give them a new identity.
“The Bill will be beneficial for lakhs of tribals,” he said and asked the Opposition not to shout slogans before a tribal minister.