Wednesday, April 20, 2011

National commission for Scheduled Tribes visits Sikkim

GANGTOK, April 19: National commission for Scheduled Tribe team led by the chairperson of the commission having the status of Minister in the Union Mr. Rameshwar Oroan along with member of the commission holding the status of Secretary to the Government of India Mr. B.L Meena, and Joint Secretary of the commission Mr. Aditya Mishra, in a press meet held at Secretariat Conference hall indicated that they are in Sikkim for an official visit from 18th to 20th April 2011 to conduct a meeting with the Chief Minister of the state Mr. Pawan Chamling to discuss and review the implementation of reservation policy and development program for STs being run by the State Government and other important issues relating to STs.

Mr. Oroan while speaking to the media said that in order to increase representation of Bhutia and Lepcha from 12 to 16 in case of increase of Assembly seats in Sikkim from 32 to 40 the commission was of the view that keeping in mind the provision of Article 332 of the constitution, it would be appropriate that the number of seats in the state legislature should be increased from 32 to 40 to provide fair share to all the Scheduled Tribes in the state and the increased seats (8) in the Sikkim Legislative Assembly should first be reserved for the ScheduledTtribes according to their

population in order to safeguard the political rights of all the Scheduled Tribe communities (including Bhutia- Lepcha).

Further Mr. Oroan added that the functions of National Commission for Scheduled Tribe (Under Clause (5) of Art. 338A) is to investigate and monitor the matters relating to safeguards provided for STs under the Constitution or under other laws or under Government Order, to evaluate the working of such safeguards, the commission will also inquire into specific complaints relating to rights and safeguards of STs; participate and advise in the planning process relating to socio-economic development of STs, and to evaluate the progress of their development under the Union and any State; to submit report to the President annually and at such other times as the Commission may deem fit, upon, working of safeguards, measures required for effective implementation of programmes and schemes relating to Welfare and socio-economic development of STs; to discharge such other functions in relation to STs as the President may, subject to the provisions of any law made by Parliament, by rule specify. The Commission would also discharge the following other functions in relation to the protection, welfare, development and advancement of the Scheduled Tribes, namely:- Measures that need to be taken over conferring ownership rights in respect of minor forest produce to the Scheduled Tribes living in forest areas.

Measures to be taken to safeguard rights to the Tribal Communities over mineral resources, water resources etc. as per law. Measures to be taken for the development of tribal’s and to work for more viable livelihood strategies. Measures to be taken to improve the efficacy of relief and rehabilitation measures for tribal groups displaced by development projects. Measures to be taken to prevent alienation of tribal people

from land and to effectively rehabilitate such people in whose case

alienation has already taken place. Measures to be taken to elicit maximum cooperation and involvement of Tribal Communities for protecting forests and

undertaking social afforestation. Measures to be taken to ensure full implementation of the Provisions of Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 (40 of 1996). Measures to be taken to reduce and ultimately eliminate the practice of shifting cultivation by Tribal’s that lead to their continuous disempowerment and degradation of land and the environment.

Mr. Oroan while speaking about the Tribal status in Sikkim said that the literacy rate among the tribal community which is over 75% is quite good along with the living standards of the Tribal here in Sikkim. Mr. Oroan adding further said that in comparison to other states in the nation the tribal’s here in Sikkim are much more civilized, literate and a role model for the other state to look forward.

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