De-notified, Nomadic and Semi-nomadic Tribes


    In News

    • A standing committee of Parliament has criticized the functioning of the development programme for denotified, nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes.
      • The committee noted that the Scheme for economic empowerment of Denotified Tribes (DNTs) communities has total outlays of Rs 200 crore for the period of five years from 2021-22 and the Department could not spend even a single rupee in 2021-22.

    Who are Denotified, Nomadic and Semi-nomadic Tribes?

    • These are communities who are the most vulnerable and deprived.
    • 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.
      • 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.
    • Historically, Nomadic Tribes and De-notified Tribes never had access to private land or home ownership.
    • While most DNTs are spread across the Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST) and Other Backward Classes (OBC) categories, some DNTs are not covered in any of the SC, ST or OBC categories.
    • Many commissions and committees constituted since Independence have referred to the problems of these communities.
      • These include the Criminal Tribes Inquiry Committee, 1947 constituted in the United Provinces.
      • Ananthasayanam Ayyangar Committee in 1949 (based on the report of this committee the Criminal Tribes Act was repealed).
      • Kaka Kalelkar Commission (also called first OBC Commission) constituted in 1953.
      • In 1965, an Advisory Committee constituted for revision of the SC and ST list under the chairmanship of B N Lokur referred to denotified tribes.
      • The B P Mandal Commission constituted in 1980 also made some recommendations on the issue.


    Key Facts

    • The Renke commission estimated their population at around 10.74 crore based on Census 2001.
    • It has been estimated that South Asia has the world’s largest nomadic population. 
    • In India, roughly 10 percent of the population is Denotified and Nomadic.
    • While the number of Denotified Tribes is about 150, the population of Nomadic Tribes consists of about 500 different communities. 
    • While the Denotified Tribes have almost settled in various States of the country, the Nomadic Communities continue to be largely nomadic in pursuit of their traditional professions.

    Issues/ Challenges

    • Deprived of support: These tribes escaped the attention of our Constitution makers and thus got deprived of the Constitutional support unlike Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
    • Lack of inclusion: While a number of these tribes are categorized under SC, ST and OBC, many are not.
      • These communities are frequently left out because they are less visible and difficult to reach.
    • Scheme for economic empowerment of DNT communities: It was formulated to provide coaching, health insurance, facilitate livelihood and financial assistance for construction of homes for the members of DNT, for the period of five years from 2021-22 to 2025-26 and the Department could not spend even a single rupee in 2021-22.
    • Reduced budgetary allocation: Budgetary allocation has been reduced to Rs 28 crore for 2022-23 against the budgetary allocation of Rs 50 crore for 2021-22.
    • Delays in scheme: Department has already delayed in formulation of the Scheme for welfare of Denotified, Nomadic and Semi Nomadic communities.
    • The denotified tribes have been wrongly stigmatized as crime prone and subjected to high handed treatment as well as exploitation by the representatives of law and order as well as by the general society.

    Development and Welfare Board for Denotified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Communities (DWBDNC) and its role

    • The commission report submitted in 2018 had recommended the setting up of a permanent commission for these communities.
    • Since most DNTs are covered under SC, ST or OBC, the government felt setting up a permanent commission, which would deal with redress of grievances, would be in conflict with the mandate of existing commissions for SCs, STs and OBCs.
    • The government therefore set up the DWBDNCs under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 under the aegis of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment for the purpose of implementing welfare programmes.

    Steps taken by the Government

    • A National Commission for Denotified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes (NCDNT) was constituted in 2006.
    • A committee has been set up by the NITI Aayog to complete the process of identification of the denotified, nomadic and semi-nomadic communities (DNCs).
    • Ethnographic studies of DNCs are being conducted by the Anthropological Survey of India.
    • DoPT has also issued an advertisement for the recruitment of consultants in the DWBDNC. 

    Source: IE