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Parliament passes bills to amend SC, ST lists in AP, Odisha

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NEW DELHI, Feb 8: Parliament gave its nod to two bills which seek to modify the list of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in Andhra Pradesh and Odisha, with Lok Sabha on Thursday passing it with voice vote.
The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2024, and the Constitution (Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2024 were both passed by Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.
The first bill seeks to modify the list of Scheduled Tribes in Andhra Pradesh while the second one seeks to modify the list of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in Odisha.
Replying to the debate on the bills, Minister of State for Tribal Affairs Bharti P Pawar said the Modi government has done a lot for the upliftment of tribal people including its effort to make aspirational district to inspirational one.
Moreover, the government has also launched schemes such as Pradhan Mantri Janjati Adivasi Nyaya Maha Abhiyan to improve the socio-economic conditions of the Primitive Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs), she said.
In Andhra Pradesh, three more ethnic groups – Bondo Porja, Khond Porja and Parangiperja – are being added to the list of STs. While in Odisha, it will add four groups in the list.
All these are PVTGs and they have been added to the scheduled list after 75 years of Independence, she added.
During the debate, the opposition members urged the government to form a joint parliamentary committee to evaluate demands of various communities to be included in the list of Scheduled Tribes, saying piecemeal measures would not help.
Initiating the debate, Saptagiri Sankar Ulaka of the Congress welcomed the bill but pointed out that about 150 to 200 tribes have been added to the list of Scheduled Tribes in the past five years.
“There are around 12 crore Scheduled Tribes across the country. When we were in government, there used to be a procedure, where a JPC was constituted. MPs were part of it. They used to visit places, check the criteria and recommend who is ST and who is not,” Ulaka said.
“In the last four-five years, I think we have included almost 150 to 200 tribes in Scheduled Tribes. In Odisha, anyone who comes demanding ST status, the state government sends it to the central government.
“They have sent around 180 tribes to be considered as ST. This naturally raises a concern if the demands are genuine or not,” he said, and added a JPC should look into the issue.
NCP MP (Sharad Pawar faction) Supriya Sule and Abdul Khaleque of the Congress also demanded that the Centre should form a JPC for meeting various communities that demand ST status and a comprehensive bill can be brought before Parliament. (PTI)

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