Scheme for Economic Empowerment of Denotified, Nomadic, Semi-nomadic (SEED) Tribes

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    Recently, the Union Social Justice Ministry received 402 applications online from across the country for benefits under the Scheme for Economic Empowerment of Denotified, Nomadic, Semi-nomadic (SEED) Tribes.

    The De-notified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes

    • They are the most neglected, marginalised and economically and socially deprived communities. 
    • Most of them have been living a life of destitution for generations and still continue to do so with an uncertain and gloomy future. 
    • They somehow escaped the attention of our developmental framework and thus are deprived of the support unlike Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

    Key Points

    • No Approval: 
      • None of the applications received so far on the SEED’s online portal has been approved yet. 
    • Delay in Implementation: 
      • The exercise to categorise all 1,400 communities under the Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe and Other Backward Classes is holding up the implementation of the scheme. 
    • Latest Estimates:
      • More than 10 crore Indians from 1,400 communities belong to these groups, show the latest estimates available with the government. 

    Scheme for Economic Empowerment of Denotified, Nomadic, Semi-nomadic (SEED) Tribes

    • Aim: 
      • The scheme aims to provide free competitive exam coaching to students, health insurance and financial assistance for housing and uplift clusters of these communities through livelihood initiatives. 
    • 4 components:
      • To provide coaching of good quality for DNT candidates to enable them to appear in competitive examinations.
      • To provide Health Insurance to them.
      • To facilitate livelihood initiative at community level; and
      • To provide financial assistance for construction of houses for members of these communities.
    • Budget: 
      • The Ministry has been allocated ?200 crore for this scheme to be spent over five financial years from 2021-22 to 2025-26. 
    • Implementation: 
      • The Scheme will be implemented through a portal, developed by the Department of Social Justice & Empowerment. 
      • The portal consists of two modules:
        • One module for registration of the applicant with details of his family, income, occupation, aadhar and bank details, caste certificate, etc. 
        • The second part consists of the scheme component for which the applicant wants to seek benefit with his UID as Login id and his mobile as his password. 
      • The portal will create a permanent database and can be retrieved whenever the applicant desires to enroll for a new component.
      • The funds will be transferred directly to the beneficiaries in their account. The other implementing agencies are the Ministry of Rural Development, National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) and National Health Authority (NHA).

    Issues

    • Inconsistencies: While the Anthropological Survey of India (AnSI) and Tribal Research Institutes are studying 267 uncategorised communities to classify them under SC, ST, or OBC, inconsistencies have been hindering the processing of SEED applications. 
    • Inaccuracies: 
      • The categorisation of these communities by the Idate Commission left room for inaccuracies as outlined by the commission in its 2018 report. 
      • For instance, some communities such as the Banjara were under the SC list in Delhi, the ST list in Rajasthan and the OBC list in Uttar Pradesh. 
      • The commission said some communities were under different lists in different districts even within a State.

     

    Way Ahead

    • The categorisation of DNTs, NTs and SNTs is essential for the implementation of SEED because there is no schedule in the Constitution providing for their reservation. 
    • The Idate Commission in its report had first recommended that a separate schedule be created for these communities so that they can avail benefits meant for them. 
      • In case this was not possible, the commission had recommended sub-categorisation of DNTs/NTs/SNTs under the existing schedules for SC, ST, and OBC communities so they are not crowded out by relatively better-placed communities. 

    Various Committees Set up for Empowerment of DNTs 

    • Ayyangar Committee, 1949: 
      • After the independence of India, there had been a persistent demand by the Central Legislature that the Criminal Tribes Act be repealed as it seeks to classify particular classes of people as criminals and is not aligned with the dignity of free India. 
      • For this, The Criminal Tribes Enquiry Committee was set-up 1949-1950 chaired by M Ananthsayanam Ayyangar. 
      • It  made several recommendations for the repeal of the Act and also emphasised the need for allocation of adequate funds for their welfare and rehabilitation. 
      • The Government of India accepted some of the recommendations of the Ayyangar Committee. It repealed the Criminal Tribes Act with effect from 31 August 1952 by the Criminal Tribes (Repeal) Act, 1952 (Act No XXIV of 1952).
    • Kalelkar Committee, 1953:
      • The first Backward Class Commission was appointed on 29 January 1953 under the Chairmanship of Mr. Kakasaheb Kalelkar. 
      • This Commission suggested that the erstwhile „Criminal Tribes? should not be called „Tribes? nor should the names „Criminal? or „Ex-Criminal? be attached to them. They could be called Denotified Communities. 
      • It further recommended that “these groups may be distributed in small groups in towns and villages where they would come in contact with other people, and get an opportunity for turning a new leaf. 
      • This would help in their eventual assimilation in society”. 
    • Idate Commission, 2014: 
      • In February 2014, the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment took a historic decision to constitute a National Commission for De-Notified, Nomadic and Semi Nomadic Tribes for a period of three years. 
      • The Commission gave its report in December, 2017. In its report, the commission prepared draft lists of DNT/NT/SNT Communities. 
      • This Commission was tasked among others to identify and proper listing of these communities in different states, to evaluate the progress of development of these communities in the states so that a systematic approach can be developed for the development of these communities.
      • Based on the recommendations of the Idate Commission, the Government of India constituted the Development and Welfare Board for DNTs, SNTs &NTs (DWBDNCs) in 2019.
    • Committee by NITI Aayog:
      • A committee has also been set up by the NITI Aayog to complete the process of identification of the De-Notified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Communities (DNCs). 
      • The survey work of identification of DNT Communities and placing them in a category of SC/ST/OBC is also under process in NITI Aayog and Anthropological Survey of India (AnSI). 
      • The Development and Welfare Board for De-notified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Communities (DWBDNCs) was mandated to formulate and implement welfare and development programmes for these communities. 
      • A Scheme for empowerment of DNT communities has been formulated for families having income from all sources of Rs.2.50 lakh or less per annum and not availing any such benefits from similar schemes of Centre Government or the State Government. 

    Source: TH