Panda Task Force

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    • The Parliament has discussed the inclusion of various communities in the Scheduled Tribes lists but recently opposition MPs have questioned the government about the list of communities that were already recommended for inclusion on a priority basis over eight years ago by a government task force (Panda Task Force). 

    About Panda Task Force

    • It was constituted in February 2014 under the leadership of erstwhile Tribal Affairs Secretary Hrusikesh Panda.
    • It had compiled a comprehensive list of over 40 communities from across the country that it felt should be included in ST lists on a priority basis.
      • Of those communities, nine are in Odisha, 26 are part of the tea tribes in Assam, eight are in Chhattisgarh, and a few are in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
    • Recommendations
      • The task force had concluded that as many as 26 of the tea tribes of Assam, those who were forcibly taken as indentured labourers from states like Bihar, Jharkhand, and Odisha, should be included in the ST list. 
        • It justified this “based on the key principle that the ‘indentured labourers’ are a category which is distinct from ‘voluntary migration’”. 
      • Keeping with the same principle, it had also recommended for inclusion of tribal communities of Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Madhya Pradesh that had been displaced on account of the Narmada Dam Project as this too qualified as “involuntary migration
      • It also had recommended the inclusion of various Devnagri versions of tribes in the ST list of Chhattisgarh

    Source:TH