NEW DELHI: The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) is considering writing to states to refer the Commission in matters of policymaking in matters related to tribal welfare.
The Commission is also planning to approach the Ministry of Tribal Affairs at a later stage to be able to participate in matters related to the development of tribals.
Under the mandate of the function of the Commission, the NCST can participate and advise in the planning process relating to the socio-economic development of scheduled tribes and evaluate the progress of their development under the Centre and states.
“We will write to the states so that the NCST can participate directly or indirectly on different issues related to tribal development and hold consultations with the states and the ministry. If involved, the Commission can give recommendations on a range of issues of policymaking on issues related to tribals. Currently, the Commission is functioning more in the capacity of a grievance redressal system,” said A K Singh, NCST secretary.
In order to raise awareness about the Commission among people, the NCST is planning to come up with five more regional offices in addition to its existing six offices. Of the five, four locations where the Commission has decided to set up offices are tentatively in Hyderabad, Nagpur, Simla and Ahmedabad. However, the Commission is grappling with acute manpower shortage with a number of the sanctioned posts lying vacant at its headquarters and existing regional offices.
Through the setting up of additional regional offices, the Commission intends to expand its ambit to reach out to STs across urban and rural belts and work closely with the district-level officials.
“There is a need for awareness generation about the NCST so that people can reach out to us. Currently, the commission receives around 2,500 petitions yearly, of which a major number are related to grievances of people in the service sector,” said Singh.