Scheme for Economic Empowerment of Denotified, Nomadic, Semi-nomadic (SEED) Tribes
All the communities that were notified initially under the Criminal Tribes Acts, which the British Raj enacted between 1871 and 1947, are referred to as “De-notified Tribes.” The Independent Indian Government revoked these Acts in 1952 and “De-Notified,” these communities. A couple of these settlements that were de-notified were nomadic as well. Some DNTs are not included in any of the SC, ST, or OBC categories, even though the majority of DNTs are spread throughout the Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST), and Other Backward Classes (OBC) categories.
Terms like “nomads” and “semi-nomads” describe social groupings that recently engaged in fairly frequent, typically seasonal physical migration as part of their livelihood strategy. Semi-nomads are primarily those groups of nomads whose duration, distance, and frequency of travel are significantly less than those of other groups. No discernible social or ethnic groups or ethnic categories are involved in the differentiation between nomads and semi-nomads. It more accurately describes how mobile they are. Nomadic tribes and DNTs have never had access to private property or home ownership.
It is in the headlines because the Parliament’s standing committee recently criticized how the development program for tribes that have been de-notified, nomadic, or semi-nomadic operates. The committee noticed that the Department could not spend even a single penny in 2021–22 on the Scheme for Economic Empowerment of Denotified Tribes (DNTs) Communities, which has a total budget of Rs 200 crore for five years beginning in 2021–22.
Various Committee for Integrate Denotified, Nomadic, and Semi-Nomadic Groups into Society:
- 1949 Ayyangar Committee: On the advice of the Ayyangar Committee, the Government of India abolished the Criminal Tribes Act on August 31, 1952. The Committee also stressed the requirement for allocating sufficient funding for their rehabilitation and care.
- 1953’s Kalelkar Committee: The Kalelkar Commission recommended calling these tribes “Denotified Communities.” Further advice from the Kalelkar Commission stated that “these groups may be disseminated in small groups in towns and villages where they would come into contact with other individuals and obtain an opportunity to turn a new leaf.” This would facilitate their ultimate societal insertion.
- 1979 Mandal Commission: The Party, led by Prime Minister Morarji Desai, established the Mandal Commission. In 1979 with the goal of “identifying the socially or educationally backward classes” in the country. The Mandal Commission was tasked with analyzing and addressing the critical issue of establishing seat quotas or reservations for those sections of Indian society that experienced discrimination based on caste, creed, or social backwardness. This Commission was created to identify and make recommendations for solutions to all forms of prejudice, including those based on social, economic, and educational factors.
- Renke Commission, 2008: Using data from the Census of 2001, the Renke commission calculated their population to be around 10.74 crores. January 8, 2018, a new Commission report established in February 2014 to create a state-by-state list categorized 1,262 groups as de-notified, nomadic, or semi-nomadic. It is to encourage the deliberate growth of these communities.
- 2014 Idate Commission: The Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment made the historic choice in February 2014 to establish a National Commission for De-Notified, Nomadic, and Semi-Nomadic Tribes for a three-year term. To build a systematic method for developing these communities, this Commission was tasked, among other things, with identifying and adequately listing these communities in various states and assessing their development status there.
Scheme for Economic Empowerment of Denotified, Nomadic, Semi-nomadic (SEED) Tribes:
The Scheme for Economic Empowerment of DNTs (SEED) was introduced on February 15, 2022, by Dr. Virendra Kumar, Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, for the benefit of De-notified, Nomadic, and Semi-Nomadic Communities. The SEED Scheme would be funded over five years, from the Financial Year 2021–2022 to the Financial Year 2025–2026, at an estimated cost of Rs. 200 crores. The Scheme for Economic Empowerment of DNTs’ four parts are:
- Academic empowerment: For the educational empowerment of these areas, free coaching for DNT students has been envisioned as a component. This component aims to give DNT students high-quality coaching to take competitive exams and get into professional programs like medical, engineering, and MBA to find suitable employment in the public or private sector. Candidates will be chosen for each course based on a system-generated merit list accessible online. Under this component, free coaching will be offered to about 6250 pupils over the period of five years. Fifty crores of rupees would be spent in total over five years.
- Medical Insurance: Members of DNT/NT/SNT communities most likely have little or no access to medical facilities and other advantages traditional health systems provide. The main goal of the program is to give money to the National Health Authority (NHA) and State Health Agencies (SHAs), so they can provide DNT, NT, and SNT families with health insurance coverage that is worth Rs. 5 lac per family per year by the requirements of the “Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana.” In five years, about 4,44,500 families will have access to health insurance. A total of Rs. 49,000 crores would be spent for five years.
- Promote livelihoods: The loss of DNT/NT/SNT communities’ conventional jobs has made them even poorer. It is necessary to concentrate on helping these communities create sources of income. The scheme’s primary goal is to give money to the National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) to develop institutions in collaboration with the State Rural Livelihoods Mission (SRLM) of state governments/UTs at the local level. A livelihood effort is being carried out to increase productivity growth in crucial livelihood sectors for creating jobs for DNT/NT/SNT communities by investing in institutional support and technical assistance. In five years, this component will assist around 2000 clusters.
- Housing: Families from the DNT/NT communities make up a sizable portion of those who now lack permanent shelter. Many DNT tribes are attempting to settle down and pursue different vocations in light of their shifting socio-economic environment. It has been suggested to dedicate a special expenditure for PMAY to promote the necessity of explicitly providing dwellings for DNTs living in rural regions that have not benefited from the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana due to the paucity of housing for DNTs. Fifty crores of rupees would be spent in total for five years.
The need for the SEED Tribes Scheme:
- In contrast to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, DNTs were overlooked by our developmental framework and are therefore not provided with any help.
- These areas have historically had no access to private property or home ownership.
- These tribes had “deep ecological linkages” and relied on woods and grazing fields for their daily needs and housing.
- Many of them depend on many kinds of natural resources and occupy complex ecological niches to survive.
- The changes in ecology and environment significantly impact their alternatives for living.
Various Scheme for Denotified, Nomadic, Semi-nomadic (SEED) Tribes:
- The Nanaji Deshmukh Plan to Build Hostels for DNT Boys and Girls: This is a centrally financed program that began in the 2014–15 academic year and is being carried out by state governments, UT administrations, and central universities. To help DNT students who are not eligible for SC, ST, or OBC benefits pursue secondary and higher education, the Scheme provides hostel facilities.
- Dr. Ambedkar Pre- and Post-Matric Scholarship for DNTs: For the benefit of children who are DNTs, a pre-and post-graduation scholarship program is being created. The scheme aims to target these classes for intervention to improve their lives and give them social and economic power. This plan is ongoing and lasting. The state governments, UT administrations, universities, and colleges that will meet the needs of the students from DNT areas will receive financial aid.
Implementation of SEED Scheme:
A portal created by the Department of Social Justice & Empowerment will be used to implement the scheme. Two modules make up the portal:
- One for the applicant’s registration includes information on his family, income, Aadhaar and bank information, occupation, caste certificate, etc.
- The second portion consists of the component of the scheme from which the applicant hopes to profit using his UID.
The National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM), the National Health Authority (NHA), and the Ministry of Rural Development are the other implementing organizations.
Issues in implementing the SEED Tribes Scheme:
- They are the most economically and socially disadvantaged, disenfranchised, and ignored communities.
- Most of them have been struggling to make ends meet for several generations and will probably continue to do so in the bleak future.
- There was no private property or home ownership available to these communities.
- Since the system cannot be implemented until all 1,400 communities are classified as Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe, and Other Backward Classes, not a single application has been approved.
Assistance to Voluntary Organisations working for the Welfare of OBCs scheme:
The Central Government launched the Scheme of Assistance to Volunteer Organizations for Welfare of OBCs during the Ninth Five Year Plan to assist voluntary organizations in undertaking welfare activities for the OBCs. The program aims to use voluntary efforts to improve OBCs’ socioeconomic and educational circumstances. More specifically, it entails the volunteer sector’s involvement in enhancing the OBCs’ socioeconomic and educational circumstances to assist them in developing their talents and starting their income-generating ventures or finding gainful employment. The plan is based on the idea that effective nonprofit organizations must be actively developed and supported.
Most nomads in the world are said to reside in South Asia. About 10% of the population in India is nomadic and denotified. While there are roughly 150 Denotified Tribes, nearly 500 separate communities make up the Nomadic Tribes. They are the most economically and socially disadvantaged, disenfranchised, and ignored communities. Most of them have been struggling to make ends meet for several generations and will probably continue to do so in the bleak future. These communities suffered from oppression, persecution, and neglect. The colonial government’s policies had a negative impact on people’s lives and ways of life. After these communities were labeled as criminals under various colonial Acts, the colonial authorities had little understanding of the situation of these communities. As a result, they were forcibly driven out of their original jobs and homes. They continued to be pastoral/peripatetic hunter-gatherers. These are the efforts that the government must make to integrate indigenous people into society. If the government takes these actions in the future with regular monitoring, it won’t just assist these tribes in integrating into society; it will also help them grow in confidence that they are just like others.
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