New Delhi: The Lok Sabha on Tuesday approved a bill to grant scheduled tribe status to `Medara` community in Karnataka even as the Tribal Affairs Minister V Kishore Chandra Deo ruled the possibility of a comprehensive amendment bill to accord similar status to several other groups.
"In the given circumstances it would not be possible to bring such a legislation...Covering the entire country," Deo said responding to the demands for a comprehensive bill to extend reservation benefits to different groups.
The Minister, however, promised to soon come out with a National Tribal Policy with a view to improving the plight of about 10 crore tribals in the country.
He said this while replying to a discussion on the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Second Amendment) Bill, 2011 seeking to include `Medara` community in Karnataka in the list of Scheduled Tribes. The Bill was later approved by voice vote with support of all parties.
As regards the demand of a comprehensive bill to provide reservation benefits living in different parts of the country, Deo said the government had to follow the procedure and it could do little unless Parliament changes it.
Under the present norms, Registrar General of India (RGI) looks into the recommendations of the state government on inclusion and exclusion of a tribe in the scheduled list. The Centre can only persuade the RGI to expedite the matter, he said.
In several cases, he said, the RGI had turned down the recommendations of the state governments, while a few were still pending with the registrar.
Under the present dispensation, he said, it was not necessary that a tribe getting reservation in one state might also get the same benefit in other state.
The amendment, which was approved by the Lok Sabha, sought
to provide scheduled tribe status to `Medara` community, as recommended by Karnataka government. At present, there are 50 communities in the list of Scheduled Tribes in Karnataka.
During the debate, several members demanded a comprehensive bill so that tribals living in other parts of the country could also be included in the scheduled list.
Lalu Prasad (RJD) said despite the Bihar legislature passing a resolution to include certain communities under Scheduled Tribe, no decision has been taken by the Centre.
Demanding a comprehensive bill for inclusion of more communities under ST, he said dalit Muslims should also be given the benefits extended to dalits.
Jyoti Dhurve (BJP) lamented that certain communities extended ST status in Madhya Pradesh were deprived of the facility after creation of Chhattisgarh.
Claiming that certain tribes were on the verge of extinction, she claimed if their land was snatched away, the present generation would be blamed for their plight.
Narhari Mahto (Forward Bloc) too demanded a comprehensive bill to include more communities under ST.
Rewati Raman Singh (SP) said Kol community in Uttar Pradesh had a large population in several districts but still it was not been granted any facility forcing them to become naxalites.
Sharifuddin Shariq (NC) claimed independence and development have no meaning for people living in forests till they are brought to the mainstream. He also demanded a fresh pan-India survey to ascertain the exact number of scheduled tribes.
Virender Kashyap (BJP), Lal Singh (Cong), Prasanna Kumar Patasani (BJD), M Anandan (AIADMK) and Dara Singh Chauhan (BSP) also spoke.