Poor functioning of ST panel irks parliamentary committee

October 23rd, 2008 - 8:46 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata PartyNew Delhi, Oct 23 (IANS) A parliamentary committee has called for urgent corrective measures to streamline the functioning of the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) that deals with issues related to STs.”Keeping in view the enormous functions that have been assigned to the NCST, there is a need to further strengthen the NCST,” said the parliamentary committee on the welfare of scheduled castes and tribes in its report tabled in the Lok Sabha Thursday.

“Earnest and credible steps be taken by the government to make NCST more strong and effective,” said the report titled, “NCST-Its mandate and achievements: A Review of its organisation and working.”

As a constitutional panel, the NCST is empowered to investigate and monitor all matters relating to the safeguards provided to STs, who account for 8.2 percent of India’s billion plus population.

The parliamentary committee, headed by senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) parliamentarian Ratilal Kalidas Varma, has also recommended the setting up of more regional offices of the NCST.

At present, the NCST has regional offices in Bhopal, Bhubaneshwar, Jaipur, Ranchi and Shillong

The committee has also favoured earmarking separate grants for the NCST, currently part of the ministry of tribal affairs. The Planning Commission too has approved the proposal for a separate budget for the panel, but this is yet to be cleared by the finance ministry.

“A fresh proposal should be sent to the ministry of finance for creating a separate demand for grants for the NCST on the lines of other constitutional bodies such as Election Commission, Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), as it is essential for the independent functioning of the commission,” said the committee report.

The NCST came into being as a separate panel Feb 19, 2004 after being carved out of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Tribes.

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