With elections to some state assemblies and Lok Sabha round the corner, the government proposes to expand the reservation list of the Scheduled Castes by including denotified, nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes.
The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has circulated a Cabinet note in this regard, accepting the commendations made by a high-level panel for giving 10 per cent reservation to these tribes, beyond the limit of 50 per cent quota fixed by the Supreme Court.
The National Commission for Denotified, Nomadic and semi-Nomadic Tribes, which went into socio-economic conditions of the tribal community, recommended measures for their all-round upliftment in its report submitted in July.
The Ministry, in its Cabinet note forwarded to the Ministry of Home Affairs, has asked it to consider the proposal of the NCDNST so that reservation could be provided to them after defining tribes as a Scheduled Community by an amendment.
Of the country's total population, 11 crore people belonged to denotified, nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes, according to the last caste-wise census conducted in 1931.
"We, however, assess it roughly to be at least 15 crore now," an NCDNST official said.
The denotified tribes include Kanar, Sansi, Berad, Baroi, Bhat and Pardhi among a total 150 denotifed tribes while the nomadic and semi nomadic tribes are Madari, Sapera, Van Gujjar, Nat, Domabari and Kalandar among some 1,500 tribes which fall under this category.
Recently, NCDNST has also presented a copy of its final report to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on August 20.
The Commission urged the government to process the recommendations urgently for a final decision and its early implementation.
The reports included suggestions for initiation of special housing scheme, education and skill development programmes for the tribes.
It was also recommended to create a permanent Commission for denotified nomadic tribes on the lines of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes, besides providing reservations to them, sources in NCDNST said.
This apart, NCDNST recommended in its report for a 'tent to tent' survey to be done within the next six months and also a community-wise census to gather specific data about some 1500 nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes and 150 denotified tribes.