National Commission for Scheduled Tribes
Ministry of Tribal Affairs in Lok Sabha has revealed that the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) is currently functioning with less than 50% of its sanctioned strength. According to data from the Commission, rules provide for the ST panel to have one Chairperson, one Vice-Chairperson, and three Members (two among V-C and Members must be from ST community). Currently, it just has a Chairperson (Harsh Chouhan) and one Member (Ananta Nayak) with all other positions, including that of the mandatory ST Member, vacant for the last three years.
About National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST)
It is a constitutional body. It has been established by amending Article 338 and inserting a new Article 338A in the Indian Constitution through the 89th Amendment Act. It consists of a chairman, a vice-chairman and three whole-time members (including a woman member). Its term is for 3 years and the chairman is appointed by the President. It investigates and monitors matters relating to Safeguards provided for STs.
NCST’s Powers and Functions
- The Commission has the power to inquire into any complaint relating to the deprivation of rights and safeguards of the Scheduled Tribes. It has all the powers of a civil court.
- To examine and monitor matters relating to safeguards available to STs under the Constitution, to evaluate the working of such safeguards.
- To participate in and advise on the planning process for the socio-economic development of the Scheduled Tribes.
- To evaluate the progress of their development under the Union and any State.
Important takeaways for all competitive exams:
- National Commission for Scheduled Tribes Chairman: Harsha Chauhan;
- Union Minister of Tribal Affairs: Arjun Munda.