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Bill to amend Scheduled Tribes list:

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.



The Rajya Sabha has passed the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2021. The Bill amends the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950.


Highlights of the Bill:

  • The Bill removes the Abor tribe from the list of identified STs in Arunachal Pradesh.
  • It replaces certain STs with other tribes. This includes Tai Khamti, Mishmi-Kaman (Miju Mishmi), Idu (Mishmi) and Taraon (Digaru Mishmi).


Who has the power to modify the list of notified STs?

The Constitution empowers the President to specify the Scheduled Tribes (STs) in various states and union territories. Further, it permits Parliament to modify this list of notified STs.


Definition of STs:

The Constitution does not define the criteria for recognition of Scheduled Tribes.

  • However, Article 366(25) of the Constitution only provides process to define Scheduled Tribes: “Scheduled Tribes means such tribes or tribal communities or parts of or groups within such tribes or tribal communities as are deemed under Article 342 to be Scheduled Tribes for the purposes of this Constitution.”
  • Article 342(1): The President may with respect to any State or Union Territory, and where it is a State, after consultation with the Governor, by a public notification, specify the tribes or tribal communities or part of or groups within tribes or tribal communities as Scheduled Tribe in relation to that State or Union Territory.


Constitutional Safeguards for STs:

I. Educational & Cultural Safeguards:

  1. Art. 15(4):- Special provisions for advancement of other backward classes(which includes STs);
  2. Art. 29:- Protection of Interests of Minorities (which includes STs);
  3. Art. 46:- The State shall promote, with special care, the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people, and in particular, of the Scheduled Castes, and the Scheduled Tribes, and shall protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation.
  4. Art. 350:- Right to conserve distinct Language, Script or Culture;
  5. Art. 350:- Instruction in Mother Tongue.


II.Social Safeguard:

  1. Art. 23:- Prohibition of traffic in human beings and beggar and other similar form of forced labour;
  2. Art. 24:- Forbidding Child Labour.


III. Economic Safeguards:

  1. Art.244:- Clause(1) Provisions of Fifth Schedule shall apply to the administration & control of the Scheduled Areas and Scheduled Tribes in any State other than the states of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura which are covered under Sixth Schedule, under Clause (2) of this Article.
  2. Art. 275:- Grants in-Aid to specified States (STs&SAs) covered under Fifth and Sixth Schedules of the Constitution.


IV. Political Safeguards:

  1. Art.164(1):- Provides for Tribal Affairs Ministers in Bihar, MP and Orissa;
  2. Art. 330:- Reservation of seats for STs in Lok Sabha;
  3. Art. 337- Reservation of seats for STs in State Legislatures;
  4. Art. 334:- 10 years period for reservation (Amended several times to extend the period);
  5. Art. 243:- Reservation of seats in Panchayats.
  6. Art. 371:- Special provisions in respect of NE States and Sikkim.


V. Service Safeguards:

(Under Art.16(4),16(4A),164(B) Art.335, and Art. 320(40).


Insta Curious: 

Do you know about Shilpgram and Octave Schemes? Read Here



Prelims Link:

  1. V. Chinnaiah case is related to?
  2. Powers of President under article 341(1).
  3. Who can include or exclude groups from the central list?
  4. Various benches of the Supreme Court.
  5. Power of the Supreme Court to review its own judgment.

Mains Link:

There is a “caste struggle” within the reserved class as benefit of reservation are being usurped by a few. Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.