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New panel for welfare of nomadic communities

Topic covered:

  1. Schemes for the protection of vulnerable sections of the society.


New panel for welfare of nomadic communities


What to study?

  • For Prelims: Who are nomadic and de- notified tribes as per the law?
  • For Mains: Why they renewed attention and measures needed to bring them to the main stream.


Context: The Centre will form a welfare panel for nomadic, semi-nomadic and de-notified communities. Announced in Budget.

A Welfare Development Board will also be set up under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment to design and implement programmes for these hard-to-reach communities.


Key facts:

  • The committee will be set up under NITI Aayog to complete the task of identifying de-notified, nomadic and semi-nomadic communities.
  • The committee will follow up on the work of the Renke Commission and the Idate Commission.


Denotified and Nomadic Tribes:

The Denotified Tribes are communities that were listed or notified as ‘born criminal ‘by the British under a number of laws. The term, ‘Denotified and Nomadic Tribes’, can be traced to the Criminal Tribes Act (CTA) of 1871.

  • The colonial government notified nearly 200 tribal communities to be hereditary criminals, cementing their societal identity as outcasts and subjecting them to constant harassment by the administration.
  • Forest laws that came into force from the mid-nineteenth century onwards deprived a large number of communities of their traditional rights of hunting and gathering. The new laws criminalised their very source of livelihood when it practiced.
  • When the forests were cleared by the British for commercial use and forest communities asked to contribute to labour, some communities resisted and were declared ‘criminal’.
  • The British thought that communities had lost their legitimate means of livelihood, they must have been living by indulging in criminal activities due to arrival of road and railway networks. After India gained Independence, these tribes were ‘de-notified’ from the list of Criminal Tribes.


Idate commission Recommendations:

Denotified Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes are poorest of the poor, most marginalised and most downtrodden communities who are subject to social stigma, atrocity and exclusion. Therefore, the commission has recommended giving protection to Denotified Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes the communities under the Atrocities Act.

  • The government should provide strong legal protections and constitutional safeguards, including the extension of the Protection of Atrocities Act to the NT/ DNT/ SNT communities by creating a separate Third schedule as Scheduled De-notified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes.
  • Noting that all that the Centre has done so far are “symbolic reparations”, the Idate Commission advocated for release of 2011 caste census, which is yet to be made public, at least on the DT/ NT/ SNT community, so that policies can be made specifically for these communities.


Renke Commission recommendations overview-


Sources: the hindu.