Demand for ‘tribal’ status

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    The Centre is reported to be considering granting “tribal” status to the Trans-Giri region of Himachal Pradesh’s Sirmaur district. 

    Background 

    • The Constitution provides for two types of areas: “Scheduled Areas” in terms of the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution, and “Tribal Areas” in terms of the Sixth Schedule.
      • “The “Tribal Areas” are designated in terms of Article 244(2) of the Constitution…read with Sixth Schedule
    •  Himachal Pradesh submitted a proposal for notifying the entire Trans-Giri area of Sirmour district, Dodra Kwar Sub-Division of Shimla district, 15/20 areas of Shimla and Kullu districts as Scheduled Areas in Himachal Pradesh.”
    • The government said, “for declaration of Scheduled Areas the criteria followed are: 
      • preponderance of tribal population, compactness and reasonable size of the area, a viable administrative entity such as a district, block or taluk, and economic backwardness of the area as compared to neighbouring areas.
    • The proposal was examined in the Ministry and could not be considered due to lack of requisite criteria, as mentioned above. 

    About 

    • The demand to declare Trans-Giri a tribal area is old — and is tied up with the demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status for the Hatti community which lives in the area.
    • The community and the land
      • The Hattis are a close-knit community who take their name from their traditional occupation of selling home-grown crops, vegetables, meat, and wool at small-town markets known as ‘haats’. 
      • Hatti men traditionally don a distinctive white headgear on ceremonial occasions.
      • The Hattis live in 154 panchayat areas, and members of the community numbered 2.5 lakh in the 2011 Census. 
        • The present population of the Hattis is estimated at around 3 lakh.
      • The Hatti homeland straddles the Himachal-Uttarakhand border in the basin of the Giri and Tons rivers, both tributaries of the Yamuna. 
    • The Hattis are governed by a traditional council called ‘khumbli’ which, like the ‘khaps’ of Haryana, decides community matters.
    • Demand for tribal status
    • The Hattis have been demanding ST status since 1967, when tribal status was accorded to people living in Jaunsar Bawar in Uttarakhand, which shares a border with Sirmaur district. Over the years, various ‘maha khumblis’ passed resolutions pressing the demand.

    Source:IE