Even as the Bill to accord constitutional status to the OBC commission is awaiting passage in Parliament, the NITI Aayog has backed a proposal by a panel constituted by the Ministry of Social justice and Empowerment to set up a permanent commission for Denotified (DNT), Semi-Nomadic (SNT), and Nomadic Tribes (NT). In its letter to the ministry, the NITI Aayog has also offered to set up a working group to come up with policy suggestions on many issues of the communities found by the ministry panel to be the “most deprived”.
Proposed by Idate Commission:
Bhiku Ramji Idate Commission on DNT, SNT, and NT communities, in its report, had recommended to set up a permanent commission for the communities on the lines of similar commissions for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and Other Backward Classes.
Composition: In its report submitted to the social justice ministry in January 2018, the Idate Commission said such a permanent commission should have a prominent community leader as its chairperson, and a senior Union government bureaucrat, an anthropologist, and a sociologist as members.
Other important recommendations of the panel include granting Constitutional protection to these communities under a separate third schedule after Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, making them eligible for reservation, and extending the protective cover of Prevention of Atrocities Act to them.
The DNT, NT, SNT communities have been identified as the most marginalized by several commissions set up since Independence. The community has for long not been enumerated in the Census data. The Renke Commission report of 2008 had arrived at a rough estimate of their population being between 10-12 crore but none of its recommendations were implemented.
NITI Aayog has offered to set up a working group to come up with policy suggestions on many issues of these marginalized communities.
It has also proposed lowering tuition fees and relaxing admission conditions for children from the communities, and easy allotment of land and housing for members of the community in which 90% or more are landless.
The Niti Aayog has also supported the panel’s suggestion to form a dedicated National Finance Development Corporation for DNT, SNT, and NTs.
Denotified tribes are those that were labeled as criminals through a legislation by the British government and were denotified post-independence, the Nomadic tribes maintain constant geographical mobility while semi-nomads are those who are on the move but return to fixed habitations once a year, mainly for occupational reasons.