New Delhi: As part of efforts to improve the socio-economic condition of 11 crore Denotified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes (DNTs), the Sonia Gandhi-led NAC has recommended a separate Integrated Infrastructural Development Programme and an empowered Inter-Ministerial Task Force.
It has also favoured special attention to them in the socio-economic caste census and UID projects that are underway.
The National Advisory Council led by Gandhi approved the recommendations of a Working Group in a meeting on Friday.
NAC member Narendra Jadhav is convenor of the working group, which has recommended de-criminalisation of DNTs and a series of administrative and legislative actions to achieve the objective.
As part of strengthening institutional arrangements, the group recommended setting up an Empowered Inter-Ministerial Task Force (STF) for DNTs to be chaired by the Home Minister.
As enumeration and classification of DNTs is a first step towards identification of persons belonging to DNT communities, the working group has said the DNTs should be given special focus in the socio economic caste census currently underway. It also said that they should get priority in the issuing of UID cards.
The NAC has also recommended reviewing the implementation of some of the existing legislations so as to provide safeguards for DNTs from harassment by officials, and to ensure that safety, livelihoods and nomadic life style of DNT communities are protected.
A key recommendation is launching an umbrella scheme for the socio-economic empowerment of DNTs with a special focus on those DNTs who are classified as OBCs and those who are not classified as SC/ST.
For those DNTs classified as Scheduled Castes/ Scheduled
Tribes, a proportion is to be earmarked in SC Sub Plan and Tribal Sub Plan commensurate with their share in SC/ST population respectively, the recommendation said.
Recommendations have it that a set of new programmes under the overall umbrella Scheme should be designed and implemented for DNTs, especially in respect of education, housing, livelihood and skill education as well as Community Organisation and leadership building with special focus on women empowerment.
The Integrated Infrastructural Development Programme will be to provide basic amenities such as road, school, electricity, drinking water, community centres in the existing settlements of DNTs.
One of the recommendations asked for a national campaign to inform the DNT communities about their rights as SC/ST/OBC and to inform the public that violence and discrimination against these communities and violations of their human rights is punishable under law.
In 2008, the National Commission for Denotified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes (NCDNSNT) of Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment had recommended equal reservations, as available to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, for around 11 crore people belonging to the denotified, nomadic or semi-nomadic tribes in India.