National Commission for Scheduled Tribes
- According to data presented in Lok Sabha, the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) is currently operating with a staff strength that is below 50% of its sanctioned capacity.
- The NCST was established through the Constitution (89th Amendment) Act, 2003, which amended Article 338 and inserted a new Article 338A in the Constitution.
- It was created by replacing the then National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes with two separate commissions.
- The NCST has its headquarters in New Delhi and 6 regional offices.
- The Commission consists of a Chairperson, a Vice-Chairperson, and 3 members who are appointed by the President.
- The Chairperson has the rank of Union Cabinet Minister, and the Vice Chairperson has the rank of Secretary to the Government of India.
- The tenure of the Commission is 3 years, and the conditions and service of tenure are determined by the President.
- These functions include investigating and monitoring matters relating to safeguards provided for STs under the Constitution, laws, or government orders.
- The Commission also participates in and advises on the planning process relating to the socio-economic development of STs and submits annual reports to the President on the working of safeguards and measures required for effective implementation of programs and schemes relating to the welfare and socio-economic development of STs.
Powers of the Commission —
- Under Clause (8) of Art. 338A For Investigation and Inquiry, the Commission is vested with powers of a civil court having authority to
- Summon and enforce attendance of any person and examine on oath.
- Discovery & production of any documents.
- Receive evidence on affidavits.
- Requisition any public record or copy thereof from any court or office.
- Issue Commissions for examination of witnesses and documents.
Any matter which President, by rule, may determine.