Commission for the Scheduled Tribes

The Commission for the Scheduled Tribes, under Article 338, is supposed to supervise the welfare schemes for these people of central government posts 15% and 7.5% are reserved for SCs and STs respectively. For SCs, in Groups A, only 10.15% posts were filled, in Group B it was 12.67%, in Group C it was 16.15% and in Group D it was 21.26%.

“The figures for STs were even lower, at 2.89%, 2.68%, 5.69% and 6.48% for the four groups respectively. Of the 544 judges in the High Courts, only 13 were SC and 4 were ST.

(a). Among school teachers all over the country, only 6.7% were SC/STs, while among college and university teachers, only 2.6% were SC.STs.

(b). In 2001, the literacy rate among SCs was 54.7% and among STs it was 47.1%, as against 68.8% for others. Among women, the literacy rate for SCs was 41.9%, for STs it was 34.8% and for others it was 58.2%.

(c). School attendance was about 10% less among SC boys than other boys, and about 5% less among SC girls than other girls. Several studies have indicated discrimination against SCs in school in various forms.

(d) Other Backward Classes’Issues and “Their Rights Other Backward classes (OBCs) are usually those people who are socially and educationally backward sections of society. “They are other than those classes who constitute the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes. As such they are classified as separate classes. “The Constitution of India, under article 340, is obliged to promote the welfare of the OBCs.

Article 340(1) says:’

“The President may by order appoint a commission consisting of such persons as he thinks fit to investigate the conditions of socially and educationally backward classes within the territory of India and the difficulties under which they labour and to make recommendations as to the steps that should be taken by the Union or any State to remove such difficulties so as to improve their conditions and grants that should be made, and the order appointing such commission shall define the procedure to be followed by the commission.’

“The socially and educationally backward classes are those people which are usually poor, deprived, backward, illiterate, mostly dependent on manual labour for their livelihood, lack adequate means of survival with no education even at the elementary level and are always traditionally tied to their social customs. Such people are denied or have no means to obtain or continue education even at the school level, most of them usually become drop-out. Economically, they are so poor that almost all the members, including the female and children members of the families start earning right from the beginning of the day till late night with neither any security of wages nor any provision of service conditions. Such households live on loans, always.

“The Mandal Commission (1980) estimated that 54% of the total populations (excluding the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes) belonging to 3743 different castes and communities were ‘backward’. “The Constitution of India and the numerous laws are committed to promote the welfare of the OBCs. “The Kaka Kalekar Commission report in 1955 and the Mandal Commission report (1980) have made a strong case for the socially and educationally backward classes. “These commissions, in their recommendations, have sought measures to protect and promote their interests. “The Mandal Commission has recommended 27% of reservation (without any prejudice to 15% reservation for the Scheduled Castes and 7’% reservation for the Scheduled Tribes) in government services for OBCs, ensure the protection of their interests. “The Backward Classes Divisions of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment looks after the matters related to the welfare of the OBCs.

Indian Polity and Governance