Despite Rahul Gandhi’s airy assurances to tribals, the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes is the Centre’s stepchild
by Naresh Minocha
N August 2010 at a tribals’ rally, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had said, ‘My job as your sepoy in New Delhi has just started. Whenever you require my support, call me. I will be there with you.’ The rally was organised to celebrate the denial of permission to Vedanta to mine bauxite in the Niyamgiri hills of Orissa. Rahul added: ‘True development takes place by respecting the interests of the poor and tribals, and not by muffling their voice.’
But going by the maltreatment of the constitutional authority for protection of tribal rights by the UPA government, Rahul’s promise appears to have fallen by the wayside. The government has not tabled even a single annual report of the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) in Parliament, leave aside taken a decision on the recommendations by the commission. The NCST has repeatedly had to struggle to enforce its constitutional right to advise the government on proposed policies and regulations that impact tribals. Two glaring instances are the mining bill and the food security bill.......Read More..