Hattee Community

GS Paper II

News Excerpt:

The state government of Himachal Pradesh has issued a notification granting scheduled tribe (ST) status to the Hattee community in the Trans-Giri area of Sirmaur district.

  • After the inclusion, the Hattee community will be entitled to various benefits and opportunities, fostering their overall development and welfare.

About Hattee Community

  • The Hattees are a closely-knit community known for their traditional occupation of selling homegrown crops, vegetables, meat, and wool in small-town markets called 'haat'.
  • Their homeland spans the Himachal Pradesh-Uttarakhand border, specifically in the basin of the Giri and Tons rivers, both tributaries of the Yamuna. 
    • The Tons river demarcates the border between the two states. 
  • Presently, the estimated population of the Hattees stands at around 3 lakh.

What is Scheduled Tribes Status and its benefit:

  • STs are communities that are recognized as backward tribes living in specific areas in India. As per the Census of 1931, STs are "backward tribes" residing in specific geographical areas designated as "Excluded" and "Partially Excluded" regions.
  • Recently, the government approved the inclusion of several communities in the list of Scheduled Tribes (ST). 
    • These communities from Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, have been demanding the ST status for a very long period of time.
  • The Constitution of India does not explicitly define the criteria for the recognition of Scheduled Tribes. Initially, after independence, the definition used was based on the data from the Census of 1931. 
    • However, Article 366(25) of the Constitution provides the process for defining Scheduled Tribes, stating that they are deemed to be tribes or tribal communities, or parts of such groups, as specified under Article 342 for the purposes of the Constitution.
  • The Constitution also contains specific provisions for the administration and control of Scheduled Areas and Scheduled Tribes.

National Commission for Scheduled Tribes:

  • The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes has been created by inserting the new Article 338A in the Constitution of India. 
  • Article 338A, inter-alia, enjoins upon the NCST to monitor all matters relating to the safeguards provided for the Scheduled Tribes under the Constitution or under any other law or under any order of the Government, and to participate and advise on the planning process of socio-economic development of the Scheduled Tribes, and to evaluate the progress of their development under the Union and any State, and to present to the President, annually and at such other times as the Commission may deem fit, reports upon the working of those safeguards. 
  • The Duties assigned to the Commission under 338A(5) are as given below: 
    • To investigate and monitor all matters relating to the safeguards provided for the Scheduled Tribes under the Constitution or under any other law for the time being in force or under any order of the Government and to evaluate the working of such safeguards.
    • To inquire into specific complaints with respect to the deprivation of rights and safeguards of the Scheduled Tribes.     
    • To participate and advise in the planning process of socio-economic development of the Scheduled Tribes and to evaluate the progress of their development under the Union and any State.     
    • To submit a report to the President, annually and at such other times as the Commission may deem fit, reports upon the working of those safeguards.    

 

Prelims PYQ

Q. In India, if a religious sect/community is given the status of a national minority, what special advantages it is entitled to? (UPSC 2011)

1) It can establish and administer exclusive educational institutions.

2) The President of India automatically nominates a representative of the community to Lok Sabha.

3) It can derive benefits from the Prime Minister's 15-Point Programme.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only 

(d) 1, 2 and 3 

 

Q. Under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers [Recognition of Forest Rights] Act, 2006, who shall be the authority to initiate the process for determining the nature and extent of individual or community forest rights or both? (UPSC 2013)

(a) State Forest Department

(b) District Collector/Deputy Commissioner

(c) Tahsildar/Block Development Officer/Mandal Revenue Officer

(d) Gram Sabha

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