JAMMU, FEB 01: While the Central and the state governments have initiated a lot of measures for the welfare and betterment of Scheduled Tribes of the country, still over 40,000 posts for the scheduled Tribes of the country are lying vacant for lack of suitable qualified candidates. Besides, a number of welfare schemes and other related measures like educational scholarships do not reach the marginalized ST communities for lack of information and awareness.
Informing this at an extension lecture-cum-interactive session organized by the Department of Lifelong Learning ( formerly Centre for Adult, Continuing Education and Extension), University of Jammu here today, Mr. Tsering Samphel, former member of National Commission for Schedule Tribes(NCST) today said that lack of information and awareness is a big problem among the STs of the country.
“While 40,000 posts for ST in government sectors are lying vacant, there are 667 fellowship for Scheduled Tribes for M.Phil and PhD under Rajiv Gandhi Fellowship which are never filled,” said Mr Samphel who hails from Ladakh and had also remained the chairman of Ladakh Buddhist Association (LBA). He recently completed his three years tenure as the member of NCST and is now working for the betterment of ST community in Ladakh.
Saying that there are very few takers of government schemes including fellowships for the students, he said in Jammu and Kashmir, the welfare schemes and the constitutional provisions for the STs are extremely good but implementation is very poor both at the state and central level. It may also be because of the fact that sometimes it becomes quite difficult for the NCST to monitor all the states with its just five member body including one chairman, one vice-chairman and three members with three years’ tenure each which is very less, he said adding besides, the monitoring mechanism is not very effective.
Quoting an example, he said in J&K for STs, there is post-matric scholarship which is handled very lightly by the state government. The tribal people are not getting this scholarship in J&K as there is a deficiency in handling, disbursement, delay in sending the demand for funds from the Centre.
“There is also a delay in getting the funds from the Centre. So the problem is at both the ends. I also feel that the Jammu and Kashmir government need to handle the tribal sub-plan at the district headquarter level and not at the secretariat level”, he said.
“We are doing lot of work at NCST for the Scheduled Tribe population of the country. We have 700 scheduled tribes in the country. For me it was quite a big assignment which I successfully completed. There are constitution provisions to safeguard the interests of the STs of India under NCST which is just like a semi court. There were 3000 pending petitions before the Commission which were disposed off. It is a highly empowered constitutional body but there are certain lacunas which become sort of hurdles before us. For example, the NCST submits its reports to the President but these reports have not been tabled in the parliament in the absence of the Action Taken Report (ATR) to be submitted by the concerned ministry. Our recommendations are not met with successfully, hence the disappointment,”said the former member of National Commission for Scheduled Tribes.
Earlier, welcoming the guests, Dr. Kavita Suri, Assistant Director, Department of Lifelong Learning, said the Department is committed to the cause of SC and ST students through its minority coaching schemes. Under this scheme, she informed, the DLL is giving free coaching to the students from minority and marginalized communities for KAS, NET, JRF etc. She said the sutdents can be benefitted by these schemes.
Speaking at the occasion, Prof B.L.Thusso, Senior professor and well known academician said that the ST students are striving hard to seek education and have a yearning to carve a niche for themselves. He said the Ladakhi students who are presently getting coaching in competitive exams in the Department of Lifelong Learning possess a good awareness level and have high career aspirations. He complimented the DLL for organizing such coaching programmes. Earlier, Mr Vivek Sharma, Coordinator, DLL also spoke on the occasion.