National Commission for Scheduled Tribes

National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) was established by amending Article 338 and inserting a new Article 338A in the Constitution through the Constitution (89th Amendment) Act, 2003. In order to provide safeguards against the mistreatment of SCs & STs and to promote and protect their social, educational, economic and cultural interests, special provisions were made in the Constitution.

  • National Commission for Scheduled Tribes was formed on the 89th Amendment of the Constitution coming into force from 19 February 2004, under Article 338A on bifurcation of former National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes to supervise the implementation of various safeguards provided to Scheduled Tribes under the Constitution.
  • By this amendment, the erstwhile National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes was replaced by two separate Commissions specifically:
    • The National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC).
    • The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST).
  • For effective functioning of the office of the Commissioner for SCs & STs in accordance with the needs of the time, 17 regional offices of the Commissioner were established in different parts of the country, which were regulated by Assistant Commissioners for SCs & STs who were, in July, 1965 re-designated as Deputy Commissioners.
  • In June, 1967, the 17 Regional Offices were re-organized into five Zonal Offices and placed under the control of a newly formed Directorate General of Backward Classes Welfare in the Department of Social Welfare.
  • Each Zonal Offices was headed by a Zonal Director, Backward Classes Welfare (a newly created post) and the post of Deputy Commissioner for SCs & STs was re-designated as Deputy Director, Backward Classes Welfare and placed under the control of a Zonal Director located at Chandigarh (Northern Zone), Bhopal (Central Zone), Patna (Eastern Zone), Baroda (Western Zone) and Madras (Southern Zone).
  • To investigate & monitor matters relating to Safeguards provided for STs under the Constitution or under other laws or under Govt. Order, to evaluate the working of such Safeguards.
  • To inquire into specific complaints relating to Rights & Safeguards of STs;
  • To participate and advise in the planning process relating to Socio-economic development of STs, and to evaluate the progress of their development under the Union and any State;
  • To submit report to the President annually and at such other times as the Commission may deem fit, upon/ working of Safeguards, Measures required for effective implementation of Programmers/ Schemes relating to Welfare and Socio-economic development of STs;
  • To discharge such other functions in relation to STs as the President may, subject to the provisions of any law made by Parliament, by rule specify;
  • The Commission would also discharge the following other functions in relation to the protection, welfare and development & advancement of the Scheduled Tribes, namely
    • Measures that need to be taken over conferring ownership rights in respect of minor forest produce to the Scheduled Tribes living in forest areas.
    • Measures to be taken to safeguard rights to the Tribal Communities over mineral resources, water resources etc. as per law.
    • Measures to be taken for the development of tribals and to work for move viable livelihood strategies.
    • Measures to be taken to improve the efficacy of relief and rehabilitation measures for tribal groups displaced by development projects.
    • Measures to be taken to prevent alienation of tribal people from land and to effectively rehabilitate such people in whose case alienation has already taken place.
    • Measures to be taken to elicit maximum cooperation and involvement of Tribal Communities for protecting forests and undertaking social afforestation.
    • Measures to be taken to ensure full implementation of the Provisions of Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 (40 of 1996).
    • Measures to be taken to reduce and ultimately eliminate the practice of shifting cultivation by Tribals that lead to their continuous disempowerment and degradation of land and the environment