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Bill on ST status to 6 communities tabled in RS
Spl Correspondent
 NEW DELHI, Jan 9 - In keeping with the announcement made by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh in Lok Sabha yesterday, the Centre on Wednesday tabled a Bill in the Rajya Sabha proposing to grant scheduled tribe status to six communities of Assam, fulfilling a long-pending demand.

Amid interruptions, Union Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram moved the Bill to further amend the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950 to include certain communities in the list of the scheduled tribes in relation to Assam.

The Bill proposes to grant ST status to 41 groups and sub-groups. The communities include Chutiya, Matak, Moran, Koch Rajbongshi, Tai Ahom and various sub-groups of Adivasi community.

The statement of objectives and reasons said that in accordance with the provisions of Article 342 of the Constitution, the first list of ST of Assam was notified, vide Constitution (Schedule Tribes) Order, 1950. The list of schedule tribes of Assam was modified through the SC and ST Order (Amendment) Act, 1956, the North Eastern Areas (Reorganisation) Act, 1971, the SC and ST Order A (Amendment) Act, 2000 and the Constitution (ST) Order (Amendment) Act, 2003.

The minister said currently there are 78 communities and synonyms appearing in the list of STs in Assam. On the basis of the recommendation of Assam, it has been decided to include 41 communities. Therefore, it is proposed to amend part-II of the Schedule to the Constitution (ST) Order, 1950 relating to Assam to grant ST status to the communities.

The amendment in the list of STs in Assam will entail no additional expenditure from the Consolidated Fund of India on account of benefits likely to be provided to the persons belonging to the communities.

In 1996, the United Front government had brought an ordinance granting ST status to the six communities. But the Parliament could not pass the Constitution Amendment Bill, leading to lapse of the ordinance.

The 16 tribal organisations under the banner of the Coordination Committee of the Tribal Organisations of Assam (CCTOA) had opposed the Centre’s move to grant ST status to six communities in Assam, and announced a series of agitation programmes in August 2016.

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