Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, Aug 16:
The Odisha government has proposed to the Union Tribal Affairs Ministry to set up ‘Tribal Welfare Cell’ in the Governor’s secretariat to oversee the constitutional responsibilities relating to the scheduled tribes and the scheduled areas.
The state government’s proposal came in response to a request from the Odisha Governor to set up the cell. However, the state government awaits a consensus to emerge in this regard among all states with scheduled areas.
“It would be appreciated, if a uniform decision is taken with respect to setting up of Tribal Welfare Cell in Governor’s secretariat in consultation with the Ministry of Home Affairs as the office of Governor comes under the purview of the Home Ministry,” said SC & ST Development department director AB Ota in a letter to Manoj Pingua, joint secretary of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs(MoTA).
It may be noted here that in February this year, the Governors of eight tribal dominated states had asked the MoTA to draft a uniform model for tribal sub plan budget allocations and ensure that the allocations were made non-transferable and non-lapsable.
The ‘Group of Governors on Areas under Schedule V of the Constitution and Related Issues’, constituted by President Pranab Mukherjee, included Governors of Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, with governor of Maharashtra and the Union minister of Tribal Affairs as special invitees.
They had advocated the constitution of ‘Tribes Advisory Council’ in Schedule V states on a uniform pattern and coordinated measures by the Centre and the states to improve education, medical and other services in tribal areas.
“The recommendations made in Governors’ conference for issue of guidelines by the MoTA to constitute the Tribal Advisory Council on a uniform pattern for all concerned states are highly appreciable,” said Ota in his response to the Union government.