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Denotified, Nomadic & Semi-Nomadic Communities 


Social Justice and Empowerment Parliamentary panel has urged the government to speed up the process of classifying Denotified, Nomadic, and Semi-Nomadic Groupninto either the SC, ST, or OBC categories. A delay in this categorization could worsen their difficulties and prevent them from accessing important welfare programs.

About Denotified, Nomadic & Semi-Nomadic Tribes

  • Denotified tribes are those that were notified under the Criminal Tribes Acts enforced during British Rule, whereby entire populations were branded criminals by birth.
  • In 1952, the Act was repealed and the communities were de-notified.
  • The Nomadic tribes maintain constant geographical mobility while semi-nomads are those who are on the move but return to fixed habitations once a year, mainly for occupational reasons.
  • The distinction between nomadic and semi-nomadic do not involve distinguishable ethnic categories or social groups, it rather describes the degree of mobility practiced by them.

Challenges Faced by Nomadic Tribes

Around 1,500 nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes, along with 198 denotified tribes, make up a community of 15 crore Indians, as reported by the Renke Commission in 2008. Sadly, these tribes continue to face social and economic marginalization, denying many of them their basic human rights. The key challenge they grapple with is the preservation of their identity.

  • Lack of Basic Infrastructure Facilities: Like drinking water, shelter, and sanitation facilities are not available to the communities. Healthcare and education facilities are also not available.
  • Bad Treatment by Local Administration: Due to the stigma of Criminals bestowed upon them in the past, they are still treated criminals and tortured by the local administration and police.
  • Lack of Social Security Cover: Since they are on move frequently, they do not have a permanent settlement. As a result, they lack social security cover and are not issued Ration Card, Aadhar Card, etc. and hence they are not getting benefits under the government welfare schemes.
  • The caste categorization is not very clear for these communities, in some states some of the communities are included under the SC category, in some other states they are included under OBCs. However, most of the groups from these communities do not have caste certificates and hence are not able to avail the benefits of government welfare programs.

Development and Welfare Board for Denotified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Communities (DWBDNCs) Responsibilities

  • To formulate and implement Welfare and Development programmes, as required, for Denotified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Communities (DNCs).
  • To identify the locations/areas where these communities are densely populated.
  • To assess and identify gaps in accessing existing programmes and entitlements and to collaborate with Ministries/implementing agencies to ensure that ongoing programmes meet the special requirements of DNCs.
  • To monitor and evaluate the progress of the schemes of the Government of India and the States/UTs with reference to DNCs.

Schemes for Denotified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Communities

Dr. Ambedkar Pre-Matric and Post-Matric Scholarship for DNTs
  • This Centrally Sponsored Scheme was launched in 2014-15 for the welfare of those DNT (Denotified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes) students who are not covered under SC, ST or OBC.
  • The income ceiling for eligibility is Rs. 2.00 lakh per annum.
  • The scheme is implemented through State Governments/UT Administrations.
  • The expenditure is shared between the Centre and the States in the ratio of 75:25.
  • The scheme of Pre-matric Scholarship for DNT students is helpful in spreading education amongst DNT children especially the girl child.
Nanaji Deshmukh Scheme of Construction of Hostels for DNT Boys and Girls
  • This Centrally Sponsored Scheme, launched in 2014-15, is implemented through State Governments/UT Administrations/Central Universities.
  • The aim of the scheme is to provide hostel facilities to those DNT students; who are not covered under SC, ST or OBC; to enable them to pursue higher education.
  • The income ceiling for eligibility is Rs. 2.00 lakh per annum.
  • The Central Government provides a maximum of 500 seats per annum throughout the country. The expenditure is shared between the Centre and the States in the ratio of 75:25.

Read Also: Welfare spending has been getting a regular pruning

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