Parliamentary Committee on Petitions recommends ST status for 11 left out communities

Gangtok, 10 Oct:

The Parliamentary Committee on Petitions has recommended and referred the case of 11 left-out communities of Sikkim and other Gorkha populated States for granting of Scheduled Tribes status on the grounds of backwardness in the backdrop of Bishu Mohini Committee report which is expected to be submitted to the Government of India ahead of the Dasain break.

The Ministry of Tribal Affairs is expected to take a final decision on this at the next meeting scheduled to be held in New Delhi just after Durga Puja, inform official sources. The 11 left out communities are Khas, Gurung, Mangar, Thami, Dewan [Yakha], Bhujel, Rai, Jogi, Sunuwar, Newar and Dhimal.

In this regard, BJP lawmaker, Ram Charitra Nishad, has also forwarded his recommendation on the petition of BJP Central Committee Member from Sikkim Padam Prasad Sharma that these 11 communities are socially and economically backward and minorities in terms of population in India.

The State Government’s proposal for inclusion of these 11 communities has been rejected twice - in Aug 2014 and again in Mar 2017 – with the advise to the Ministry of Tribal Affairs to take action as deemed appropriate.

On the intervention of Minister for Tribal Affairs in Jul 2017, the Ministry had once again sought justification on the comments and observations of the Registrar General of India [RGI] and in September 2017, the State Government, through the Social Justice, Women’s Empowerment & Welfare Department, furnished the justification on the comment and observations on RGI.

The final comment is still awaited from the Registrar General of India.

In the meantime, the State Government had organized a two-day summit on Eleven Indigenous Ethnic Communities of Sikkim [EIECOS] in collaboration with Sikkim Commission for Backward Classes and Social Welfare Department to justify the State Government’s recommendations for inclusion of these communities in the Scheduled Tribes list in the backdrop of the conditions of the Merger with India and the provisions of Article 371F of the Constitution.

It is also learnt that the Ministry of Tribal Affairs has also sought certain clarifications from the Parliament Secretariat on Sikkim’s status and conditions of merger along with certain documentation for consideration of Sikkim’s case.