Daily News 📰 Analysis Polity & Governance Prelims 2021 Prelims cum Mains

Crucial SC/ST watchdogs lack chiefs, members

In News

  • Even as attacks on some dalits gain national attention, the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) has been headless for four months.
  • The term of the chairman and four members expired in the last week of May, after which the government has not appointed the replacements.
  • Also, the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) and National Commission for Safai Karamcharis currently have no chairpersons and members.
  • The absence of chairman and members means the NCSC is run by the bureaucracy, which makes it toothless.

Establishment of NCSTs and NCSCs

  • The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) and National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) were established seperately by amending Article 338 through the Constitution (89th Amendment) Act, 2003.
  • The two commissions came into existence in

About: National Commission for Scheduled Castes

  • Objectives
    • The National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) is a constitutional body that works to safeguard the interests of the scheduled castes in India.
    • It seeks to offer the SC community protection from discrimination and exploitation, as well as providing facilities to uplift the SC community.
  • Formation
    • Article 338 of the constitution of India deals with this commission.
    • Initially there was a single Commission for SCs and STs as a Special officer was designated as the Commissioner for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
    • It was a one member commission.
    • In 1987, the government formed a multi-member commission for the welfare of the SCs and STs instead of a one-member commission.
    • 65th Amendment
      • The Constitution (65th Amendment) Act 1990, amended Article 338 of the Constitution.
      • As per the 65th Amendmentto the constitution, the one-member commission was replaced with with a multi-member National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
    • 89th Amendment
      • The 89th Amendment in 2003 replaced this Commission with National Commission for Scheduled Castes and a separate National Commission for Scheduled Tribes from 2004.
      • Thus, the first National Commission for Scheduled Castes was formed in 2004.
    • Functions of National Commission for Scheduled Castes
      • To monitor and investigate all issues concerning the safeguards provided for the SCs under the constitution.
      • To enquire into complaints relating to the deprivation of the rights and safeguards of the SCs.
      • To take part in and advising the central or state governments with respect to the planning of socio-economic development of the SCs.
      • To regularly report to the President of the country on the implementation of these safeguards.
      • To recommend steps to be taken to further the socio-economic development and other welfare activities of the SCs.
      • Any other function with respect to the welfare, protection, development and advancement of the SC community.
      • To discharge such other functions in relation to SCs as the President may, subject to the provisions of any law made by Parliament, by rule specify.
    • Composition of National Commission for Scheduled Castes
      • It is headed by the
      • Apart from the Chairman, there is a Vice-chairman and three other members.
      • The term of office of Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson and each member is three years from the date of assumption of charge.
      • The Chairperson has been given the rank of Union Cabinet Minister and the Vice-Chairperson that of a Minister of State and other Members have the ranks of a Secretary to the Government of India.

About: National Commission for Scheduled Tribes

  • Objective
    • The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes is a constitutional body which acts as national monitor and grievance redressal body for the tribals.
  • Formation
    • NCST was established by amending Article 338 and inserting a new Article 338A in the Constitution through the Constitution (89th Amendment) Act, 2003.
    • Article 338A provides for the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes.
  • Functions of the National Comission for Scheduled Tribes
    • To investigate & monitor matters relating to Safeguards provided for STs under the Constitution or under other laws or under Govt. order, to evaluate the working of such safeguards.
    • To inquire into specific complaints relating to rights & safeguards of STs.
    • To participate and advise in the planning process relating to socio-economic development of STs, and to evaluate the progress of their development under the Union and any State.
    • To submit report to the President annually and  at such other times as the Commission may  deem  fit, upon/ working of safeguards, measures required for effective implementation of programmes and schemes relating to welfare and Socio-economic development of STs;
    • To discharge such other functions in relation to STs as the President may, subject to the provisions of any law made by Parliament, by rule specify.
  • Composition of the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes
    • It is headed by the Chairman.
    • Apart from the Chairman, there is a Vice-chairman and three other members.
    • The term of office of Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson and each member is three years from the date of assumption of charge.
    • The Chairperson has been given the rank of Union Cabinet Minister and the Vice-Chairperson that of a Minister of State and other Members have the ranks of a Secretary to the Government of India.

About: National Commission for Safai Karamcharis

  • The National Commission for Safai Karamcharis (NCSK) was constituted in 1994 as a statutory body by an Act of Parliament viz. ‘National Commission for Safai Karamcharis Act, 1993’, for a period of three years i.e. up to 31st March, 1997.
  • As per sub-section (4) of Section 1 of the Act, it was to cease to exist after 31.3.1997.
  • However, validity of the Act was extended up to March, 2002, and then up to February, 2004 vide Amendment Acts passed in 1997 and 2001 respectively.
  • Now the Commission is acting as a Non-Statutory body of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment whose tenure is extended from time to time through Government Resolutions.
  • It is mandated to suggest measures for amelioration of the lives of people engaged in cleaning work and to act on grievances about non-implementation of schemes and rules about them.

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