New Delhi: The Congress party led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) on Saturday constituted a high level committee (HLC) to prepare a report on the socio-economic, health and educational status of the tribal communities in India.
The seven member HLC would prepare a report within nine months focussing on geographical patterns of economic activities of the scheduled tribes (STs), asset base and income level, share of their public private sector employment and other socio-economic indicators.
Sonia Gandhi led National Advisory Council (NAC) which sets the social agenda for the UPA has also been working extensively on the issue of tribal rights. The council recently proposed changes to the to the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
The focus of the government towards the tribal community may become more important considering the general elections, where the ruling Congress is seeking a third consecutive term, is scheduled for next year.
“The HLC shall suggest policy initiatives as well as effective outcome oriented measures to improve development indicators and strengthen public service delivery to STs and other tribal population,” a government release said.
The members in the HLC include experts like Usha Ramanathan, Joseph Bara, K.K. Misra, Abhay Bang, Sunila Basant and Virginus Xaxa as its chairperson. The HLC will function under the ministry of tribal affaris and its secretary would also be a member of this committee.
One of the aims of the HLC is to also propose whether there are “adequate systems and structures for implementation of protective legislations” like the Prevention of Atrocities Act, Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, Forest Rights Act and the National Food Security Bill and what steps could be taken for more implementation of these rights based legislations.
“The above HLC will be provided all possible assistance by all ministries/ departments and other bodies under the government to ensure timely collection of data and information to facilitate their task,” the release added.