Bill to amend SC, ST list introduced in Lok Sabha

The Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram has introduced the Constitution (Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes) Orders (Amendment) Bill, 2016 seeking to transfer certain communities from the list of Scheduled Castes (SC) into Scheduled Tribes (ST) as well as to include new communities into the ST list. The bill seeks to transfer ‘Bhogta’ community of Jharkhand from the list of SCs to the STs and to include certain more communities relating to Assam, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu and Tripura into the list of STs. The government from time to time makes changes to the original list notified in 1950 based on requests made by various state governments.



7 States fall short of Forest Rights Act implementation

The government has asked seven states- Assam, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Jharkhand, to effectively implement the Forest Rights Act. The Prime Minister’s office (PMO) has asked these states to implement Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act in campaign mode. The analysis of monthly progress reports of these seven states sent to the PMO showed that these states have performed very badly in implementing the FRA since its notification in January 2008.

The Ministry of Tribal Affairs has been organising various consultation meetings with state governments to create awareness for timely disposal of land right claims. Despite these efforts, Uttar Pradesh has reported the highest rejection rate (81%) of land right claims. West Bengal has registered a 68% rejection followed by Maharashtra (64%) and Madhya Pradesh (61%). Lack of awareness among beneficiaries and those who are supposed to implement the act is cited to be the reason for lot of wrongful rejections based on invalid and flimsy grounds.

The Scheduled Tribes and the Other Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act 2006 seeks to restore rights of tribes living in forests for generations.

The Forest Act 2006 marked a real water shade in the history of the forest communities in India. The act provides the right to hold and live in forest land under individual or common occupation for habitation or for the self-cultivation for livelihood purposes. As per this act, Gram Sabha plays a pivotal role in ensuring the rights of the forest dwellers, decision making, planning and management for Joint Forest Management.


Jharkhand celebrates anniversary of Birsa Munda and 17th State Formation Day

On November 15th, Jharkhand celebrated the birth anniversary of freedom fighter Birsa Munda and 17th state formation day. Jharkhand was carved out of Bihar on November 15, 2000 by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee led NDA government.

About Birsa Munda

The name of Birsa Munda (1875-1900) is cherished in India as one of the great freedom fighters. He is often referred by Jharkhand’s tribal residents as “Birsa Bhagwan”. He led what came to be known as “Ulugan” (revolt) or the Munda rebellion in areas of modern Bihar and Jharkhand. He raised his voice against the transformation of the tribal agrarian system into the feudal state around the Chhotanagpur area. The Mundas were the frustrated tribal people who resorted to rebel several times in 1789, 1807, 1812, 1819 and 1832 in Bihar & modern Jharkhand. These revolts were because of the undue interference by the administration and the attitude of the landlords.

In 1900, at the age of 25, Birsa Munda was captured by British and put into prison. He died most probably because of the torture in prison. During his short life, he managed to mobilise and led tribals to a revolt which shook the British Empire. Today, Birsa Munda is a venerated figure in Bihar and Jharkhand. His name decorates the airport of Ranchi and Birsa Institute of Technology, Ranchi. The followers of Birsa Munda are called Birsait.

Mahasweta Devi’s 1979 Sahitya Akademi Award-winning book, “Aranyer Adhikar” which means “Right to the Forest” was a novel based upon the Munda Rebellion.