GUWAHATI, Jan 20 - The Group of Ministers (GoM) constituted on the suggestion of Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to look into the issue of ST status to six ethnic communities today decided to hold discussions with all tribal communities of the State before submitting its report.
The GoM, headed by State Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, also decided to examine the population pattern of the six ethnic communities.
Official sources said the GoM will hold discussion with the All Assam Tribal Sangha, the BTC administration and other tribal communities of the State later this month. It will also meet representatives of the six ethnic communities.
The GoM will submit its report by February 15.
The GoM was formed on the recommendation of the Union Home Minister to suggest measures for protection of rights of existing tribal communities as well as to decide on the benefits to be given to new scheduled tribes following introduction of the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2019 in Rajya Sabha on January 9.
The Bill proposes to grant ST status to 41 groups and sub-groups. The communities include Chutia, Matak, Moran, Koch Rajbongshi, Tai Ahom and various sub-groups of Adivasi community.
Tribal groups with ST status, including Bodos, have expressed apprehension that the Bill tabled without consulting them may lead to curtailment of their rights.
The GoM will suggest with modalities for granting ST status to the six communities, but without harming the rights of the tribes that are currently enjoying the status, the sources said.
Other ministers in the GoM are Pallab Lochan Das, Naba Doley and Tapan Gogoi with Chandan Brahma being its convenor.