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De-notified Tribes (DNTs), also known as Vimukta Jati, are the tribes that were originally listed under the Criminal Tribes Act of 1871 and subsequent State legislations as "Criminal Tribes" by the erstwhile British Government. The CTA was revised in 1911 and in 1924.

The CTA, 1924, was repealed by the Criminal Tribes Laws (Repeal) Act, 1952 on the recommendations of the Shri Ananthasayanam Ayyangar Committee. As a result, the tribes notified earlier as Criminal Tribes, stood De-Notified, and the name ‘De-Notified Tribes’ has been in use for them, since then.

Nomads are people who are constantly on the move and have no permanent home. On the other hand, Semi-Nomadic groups tend to have a fixed habitat for a part of the year and are itinerant in the rest of the year. Most DNT/NT are categorized as SC, ST or OBC though many of the DNT/NT is not covered in any of these categories.

After the Ayyangar Committee Report in 1950, various other Committees and Commissions, which were constituted for the purpose of review of SC, ST, Backward Classes etc, made some observations with regard to DNT/NT communities in the past. Justice Venkatchaliah Commission which was appointed for review of the working of Constitution of India in 2002, recommended for strengthening the programmes for the economic and educational development of DNTs and constituting a special Commission to look into their needs and grievances.

Against the above background, a National Commission for De-Notified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes (NCDNT) was constituted earlier in 2005 which had made certain recommendations. In addition, the National Advisory Council (NAC) constituted a Working Group on De-Notified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes in 2011 which also proposed a detailed set of recommendations for the DNT/NT communities.

Having gone into the details of the earlier Commission’ recommendations, Govt further felt the need to appoint a National Commission so as to focus on their identification, review of their progress of development and to suggest appropriate measures to be taken by the Government for their upliftment and mainstreaming.

The present Commission has been constituted on 12.2.2014. The Commission assumed its functioning w.e.f. 9th January, 2015 with the joining of Shri Bhiku Ramji Idate. The tenure of the Commission is for three years from the date of assumption of charge by the Chairman.

The Commission has taken a lot of initiatives to design the working of the NCDNT and redefine the approach to achieve the objectives and the mandate of the Commission.

State visit plans were chalked out for meeting with state governments, community leaders and research institutions. Commission has visited 20 states till now, met nearly 123 communities and visited their dwellings to familiarize with their living conditions and received nearly 834 grievances/ representations from community leaders and associations. One of the focal advantages of these visits was the decision to register the public grievances received during such visits, analyse them in terms of policy implications, and making appropriate recommendations.

The Commission has also held meetings with the representatives of the various Corporations like NSFDC, NBCFDC, NSKFDC, NSTFDC to identify benefits under different schemes of the Corporations which can be availed by the DNT/NT communities under the schemes formulated by these corporations.

It is satisfying to note, for instance, that the corporations have set up goals in their organizations in respect to the concerns of the DNT communities. This, in turn, has resulted in raising awareness about, and the concern for, DNT/NT rights within these corporations, facilitating speedy and sympathetic redressal of the problems of the DNT/NT communities, improving their feel-good-index. Commission intends to continue such interactions with the appropriate functionaries of Corporations of the Centre and State Governments.

Adequate publicity on establishment of Commission and awareness has also been taken up through pamphlet, brochure and public notices after October, 2015. The National Commission for De-Notified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes has also launched Commission’s website http//www. ncdnt.gov.in It will reinforce the Commission’s activities and provide a platform to interact with these communities through social media and give an opportunity to listen, learn and share views. It will also put forth the latest information about the Commission’s performance.

Commission has released its six midterm reports on various aspects during the short span of time and submitted to the Govt for consideration.

The Commission expresses its sincere thanks to Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi, for his vision of integrating all downtrodden and marginalized people into the mainstream of the development process. We are also grateful to Hon’ble Home Minister & Chairman of the Cabinet Committee on Accommodation, Shri Rajnath Singh for having considered the efficacy, the time-bound work of the Commission, its national and social relevance, for permitting to work from Delhi.

We are also grateful to Hon’ble Minister, Shri Thaawarchand Gehlot and Secretary, Ms. Anita Agnihotri and Joint Secretary Shri B.L. Meena for their support and guidance in setting up the organisation. Lastly, I must acknowledge the efforts of all my colleagues in the Commission for carrying out the works through their untiring efforts.

(B K Prasad, IAS)