For Prelims: De-notified, Nomadic and Semi-nomadic Tribes, Related commissions and committees, Development and Welfare Board for De-notified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Communities (DWBDNC), Schemes for DNT

For Mains: Issues Related to SCs & STs, Government Policies & Interventions, State of De-notified, Nomadic and Semi-nomadic Tribes in India

Why in News?

According to recent statements from the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, only 402 online applications for benefits under SEED (Scheme for Economic Empowerment of Denotified, Nomadic, and Semi-Nomadic Tribes) have been received.

  • According to the most recent estimates made available to the government, these groups consist of more than ten crore Indians from 1,400 communities.

Describe SEED.

  • About:
    • The Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment introduced the SEED communities' Scheme for Economic Empowerment of Denotified/Nomadic/SemiNomadic (SEED) communities in February 2022.
    • It seeks to uplift clusters of these communities through livelihood initiatives, provide free competitive exam coaching to these students, offer health insurance to families, and provide financial assistance for housing.
  • Components:
    • Students from these communities are offered free coaching for the Civil Services and admission to professional programs like medicine, engineering, MBA, etc.
    • The National Health Authority offers health insurance through PMJAY.
    • Providing income through livelihoods
    • Housing (through PMAY/IAY).
  • Features:
    • It commits to spending Rs. 200 crores over five years, starting in 2021–2022.
    • Implementing this plan is the responsibility of the DWBDNCs (Development and Welfare Board for De-notified, Nomadic, and Semi-Nomadic Communities).
    • The department has created an online portal that will facilitate easy registration and serve as a database for information about these communities.

Who are the Semi-Nomadic, Nomadic, and De-Notified Tribes?

  • These are the most marginalized and at-risk communities.
  • Communities known as DNTs were "notified" as "born criminals" under several laws, beginning with the Criminal Tribes Act of 1871, when the British Empire was in power.
    • The Independent Indian Government repealed these Acts in 1952, and these communities were "De-Notified."
  • Some of these de-notified communities also included nomadic groups.
    • Communities that are nomadic or semi-nomadic are those that move around rather than reside in one location permanently.
  • In the past, neither private land nor home ownership was available to Nomadic Tribes or De-notified Tribes.
  • The Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST), and Other Backward Classes (OBC) categories cover the majority of DNTs; however, some DNTs are not included in any of the SC, ST, or OBC categories.
  • Since Independence, numerous commissions and committees have been established, and they have discussed these communities' issues.
    • The Criminal Tribes Inquiry Committee was established in the United Provinces (currently Uttar Pradesh) in 1947.
    • The 1949 report of the Ananthasayanam Ayyangar Committee—based on which the Criminal Tribes Act was repealed—
    • In 1953, the Kaka Kalelkar Commission—also known as the first OBC Commission—was established.
    • A few recommendations on the subject were also made by the 1980-established B P Mandal Commission.
    • According to the National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution (NCRWC), DNTs have been unfairly maligned as criminally inclined and exploited by law enforcement officials and the general public.
      • At the NCRWC's inception, Justice M. N. Venkatachaliah served as its chairman.
  • Most nomads in the world are thought to reside in South Asia.
    • 10% of Indians are Denotified and Nomadic, according to estimates.
    • The population of Nomadic Tribes consists of about 500 different communities, compared to approximately 150 Denotified Tribes.

What is being done in terms of DNT development?

  • Background:
    • In 2006, the previous administration established the National Commission for De-Notified, Nomadic, and Semi-Nomadic Tribes (NCDNT).
      • In 2008, it turned in a report under the direction of Balkrishna Sidram Renke.
      • "It is ironic that these tribes somehow escaped the attention of our Constitution makers," the commission opined.
      • Unlike Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, they are not protected by the Constitution.
      • Using data from the Census of 2001, the Renke commission calculated their population to be around 10.74 crores.
    • Idate Commission:
      • Shri Bhiku Ramji Idate served as the National Commission's chairman when it was established in 2015.
      • This commission was tasked with finding and accurately listing DNT communities in various states and assessing the development of these communities in those states.
      • The Government of India established the Development and Welfare Board for DNTs, SNTs & NTs (DWBDNCs) in 2019 based on the commission's recommendations.
  • Plans for DNT
    • Scholarship for DNTs under the Dr. Ambedkar Pre- and Post-Matric Program:
      • For the welfare of DNT students who are not covered under SC, ST, or OBC, this centrally sponsored scheme was started at the start of the 2014–15 academic year.
    • Building Hostels for DNT Boys and Girls Under the Nanaji Deshmukh Plan:
      • State governments, UT administrations, and central universities are responsible for carrying out this centrally sponsored scheme, which was launched with effect from 2014–15.
    • The "Assistance to Voluntary Organizations working for the Welfare of OBCs" scheme has been extended to DNT beginning in 2017–18.

Source: TH