A high level committee has been constituted to prepare a position paper on the socio-economic, health and educational status of tribals and also “suggest policy initiatives as well as effective outcome-oriented measures to improve development indicators and strengthen public service delivery to STs.
Prof. K. K. Misra from Department of Anthropology, School of Social Sciences at the University of Hyderabad (UoH) has appointed as an expert member on a high-level committee to map Status of Tribals. Prof. Misra was former Director of Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya (IGRMS) at Bhopal and was also the Director of Anthropological Survey of India.
The committee is expected to submit its findings and recommendations in nine months. Chairing the committee will be tribal expert and eminent sociologist Virginius Xaxa, who was recently appointed member of the Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council. Dr Xaxa, currently teaching at Delhi University, is the author of State, Society and Tribes: Issues in Post-Colonial India (2008). The others are Usha Ramanathan, Joseph Bara, Abhay Bang and Sunila Basant, all of whom are familiar with the problems of tribals.
The committee is expected to focus on how tribal communities have been affected by involuntary displacement and enforced migration; whether rapid urbanisation has shrunk their original habitats, and which new avenues of employment and livelihood are available to them. It is also expected to map their asset base and income levels, and changes in the patterns of ownership and productivity of their immovable assets; examine the role of public policy and the legal framework in facilitating/inhibiting such changes, the level of their socio-economic development, and their relative share of public and private sector employment, and consider what steps have been taken by States/Union Territories for capacity building and improving their employability. The panel will examine whether tribal communities have adequate access to education and health services, municipal infrastructure, bank credit, and other services provided by government/public sector entities; and the level of schools, health centres, ICDS centres, etc, in areas of tribal concentration in comparison to the general level of such social infrastructure in various States. Finally, the committee will look at whether protective legislation such as the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989, the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, the Forest Rights Act and the Food Security Ordinance are being implemented effectively.