From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Denotified Tribes, SEED Scheme
Mains level : Mainstreaming of marginalized DNTs
A Parliamentary panel has pulled up the Centre over the “very slow” process to categorize over 260 Denotified, nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes (DNTs) under either the SC/ST/OBC lists.
Why in news?
- The government officials also pointed ‘delay’ in the approval of benefits under the SEED (Scheme for Economic Empowerment of DNTs) scheme launched in February this year.
- There is a scheme in place with proper budgetary outlay, but there is no whereabouts of targeted beneficiaries for it. Imagine how ironical this is.
Who are the DNTs?
- The term ‘De-notified Tribes’ stands for all those communities which were once notified under the Criminal Tribes Acts, enforced by the British Raj between l87l and I947.
- These Acts were repealed after Independence in l952, and these communities were “De-Notified”.
- The DNTs (of whom most are the medieval period Banjaras) are the most neglected, marginalized, 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.
- More than 10 crore Indians from over 1,400 communities are either denotified, nomadic or semi-nomadic.
About SEED Scheme
- It 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 Scheme of Centre Government or the State Government.
- The Scheme will be implemented through a portal, developed by the Department of Social Justice & Empowerment.
- Post verification, the funds will be transferred directly to the beneficiaries in their account.
- The other implementing agencies are Ministry of Rural Development, National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) and National Health Authority (NHA).
Components of the scheme
The Scheme will have the following four components:
- Free Coaching: A component of free Coaching for DNT Students has been envisioned for the educational empowerment of these communities. It seeks to enable them to appear in competitive examinations/ admission to professional courses like medicine, engineering, MBA, etc. for obtaining an appropriate job in the Public/Private Sector.
- Health Insurance: Members of these communities are likely to have little or no access to medical facilities and other benefits available under the mainstream health policies.This would ensure a health insurance cover of Rs.5 lakhs per family per year for families as per norms of “Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana.
- Livelihood Initiatives: The decline of traditional occupations of DNT/NT/SNT communities has exacerbated their poverty. A focus to support livelihood generation for these communities was required.
- Financial support for Housing: Considering the shortage of houses for DNTs, it has been proposed to earmark a separate outlay for PMAY to support specific importance in providing houses only for DNTs living in rural areas.
Why was such scheme launched?
- DNTs are ignored communities: They escaped the attention of our developmental framework and thus are deprived of the support unlike Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
- Most deprived section: Historically, these communities never had access to private land or homeownership.
- Ecological contribution: These tribes used forests and grazing lands for their livelihood and residential use and had “strong ecological connections.
Status of DNT’s identification
- Anthropological Survey of India study: AnSI had submitted reports on categorisation of 48 DNT communities so far. Further, the AnSI is finalising studies on 161 communities and is expected to finish studying the remaining communities (about 70) by the end of 2022.
- Idate Commission: It had categorised 1,262 communities under SC/ST/OBC lists and 267 communities were left uncategorised.
Why is there such delay?
- Slow response from states: Officials cannot begin processing the applications for the SEED scheme unless the State and district-level reviews are completed.
- Duplication of communities: There is inaccurate categorization/duplication of communities which leading to hiccups in the approval process.