SC LIST UPDATED
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Context: The Union Social Justice Ministry has introduced a Bill in the Lok Sabha to amend the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order and include two synonyms for the Mahar community in Chhattisgarh to the State's Scheduled Castes list. The Bill will benefit about two lahks more people from these communities by making them eligible for various government schemes and benefits meant for Scheduled Castes (SCs) in the state.
What does the Bill propose?
- The Bill proposes to add "Mahara" and "Mahra" as synonyms for the Mahar community in Chhattisgarh.
- The Mahar community is already listed as a Scheduled Caste in the state, but members of the "Mahara" and "Mahra" communities, who identify themselves as Mahar, are not able to avail themselves of the benefits available to SCs.
- The Bill seeks to rectify this anomaly and ensure that members of these communities are not deprived of their constitutional rights and entitlements as SCs.
Why are these synonyms being added?
- The inclusion of these two synonyms was initiated by the Chhattisgarh State government, which sent a proposal to the Centre for amending the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order.
- The proposal was based on the recommendations of the State-level Scrutiny Committee, which verified the claims of these communities to be Mahar.
- The State government also conducted a socio-economic survey of these communities and found that they were facing similar problems and challenges as other SCs in terms of education, employment, health, and social status.
- The State government argued that adding these synonyms would help in addressing the issues of identity, dignity, and inclusion of these communities and bring them into the mainstream of society.
What will be the impact of the Bill?
- It will have a positive impact on the lives of about two lakh people belonging to the "Mahara" and "Mahra" communities in Chhattisgarh. They will be able to access various government welfare programs and benefits designed for SCs, such as scholarships, reservations, loans, subsidies, etc.
- It will also enhance their representation in various institutions and bodies at different levels of governance, such as panchayats, municipalities, assemblies, and parliament.
- It will also contribute to the overall development and empowerment of SCs in Chhattisgarh, which constitute over 12% of the state's population.
What is the status of the Bill?
- The Bill has been introduced in the Lok Sabha and is awaiting discussion and passage. Once it is passed by both houses of parliament and receives the assent of the President, it will become a law and come into force.
Scheduled Castes (SCs) list and how it is updated
- Scheduled Castes (SCs) are a group of historically disadvantaged people in India who are recognized by the Constitution of India and given certain rights and protections. The term "Scheduled Caste" derives from the fact that they are listed in the Schedule (Annexure) of the Constitution.
- The list of SCs is not static, but dynamic. It can be updated by the President of India, in consultation with the state governor, by issuing an order under Article 341 of the Constitution. The order can include or exclude any caste, race or tribe, or part of or group within any caste, race or tribe, from the list of SCs.
Key features of Article 341
Definition of Scheduled Castes
- Article 341 provides a legal definition of Scheduled Castes. It identifies certain castes, races, tribes, or parts of groups as socially and educationally backward and in need of special protective measures.
- The President of India has the authority to issue a public notification specifying the castes, races, tribes, or parts of groups that are to be recognized as Scheduled Castes. This recognition is based on social and educational backwardness and the historical discrimination faced by these communities.
Inclusion and Exclusion
- The process of inclusion or exclusion of any caste or community from the Scheduled Castes list is initiated by the respective State Government. The State Government proposes the inclusion or exclusion to the President, which is further examined by the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment and the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC).
- The inclusion or exclusion of any caste or community in the Scheduled Castes list becomes part of the Indian Constitution through a constitutional amendment. Once the President issues a notification, it is published in the Official Gazette of India.
Benefits and Special Provisions
- Being recognized as Scheduled Castes entitles the identified communities to various affirmative action programs and special provisions aimed at their social, educational, and economic empowerment. These benefits include the reservation of seats in legislatures, educational institutions, and other public services to ensure representation and opportunities for the upliftment of Scheduled Castes.
Process of Inclusion and Update of the SCs List
- Article 341 of the Indian Constitution empowers the President to specify, through a public notification, the castes, races, tribes, or parts of groups within castes and races that are to be considered as Scheduled Castes.
State Government Proposal
- To add or delete any caste or community from the SCs list, the concerned State Government must propose the change to the President. The State Government conducts a thorough examination of the social, educational, and economic conditions of the community and submits a detailed proposal to the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
Verification and Recommendations
- The Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment examines the proposal and conducts its investigation to verify the claims made by the State Government. It may seek additional information or recommendations from various authorities, including the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC), State-level Commissions, and other relevant bodies.
Consultation with NCSC
- The NCSC plays an important role in advising the government on matters related to Scheduled Castes. The Ministry may consult the NCSC for its views and recommendations regarding the inclusion or exclusion of a particular caste or community from the SCs list.
- After careful examination and considering all the recommendations, the President of India issues a public notification specifying the inclusion or exclusion of a caste or community from the SCs list. This notification is then published in the Official Gazette of India.
Amendment to the Constitution
- Once the President's notification is issued, the SCs list is updated accordingly. The inclusion or deletion of any caste or community in the list becomes part of the Indian Constitution.
Rights and Benefits
- With the inclusion in the SCs list, the identified communities become eligible for various affirmative action programs, reserved seats in legislatures, educational institutions, and other special provisions aimed at their social upliftment.
- The SC list is important because it determines the eligibility of a community for various benefits and schemes meant for SCs, such as reservations in education, employment and political representation, scholarships, loans, hostels, etc. The SC list also affects the census data and the delimitation of constituencies for elections. It is also a tool for social justice and empowerment of the marginalized sections of society.
SCHEDULED TRIBES LIST: https://www.iasgyan.in/daily-current-affairs/scheduled-tribes-list
Q. Who has the power to specify the castes, races, tribes, or parts of groups within castes and races as Scheduled Castes?
A) Prime Minister of India
B) President of India
C) Chief Justice of India
D) Governor of each state
Explanation: Article 341 of the Indian Constitution empowers the President to specify the castes, races, tribes, or parts of groups that are to be considered as Scheduled Castes.