GUWAHATI: The Group of Ministers (GoM) of the Assam Government set up to recommend measures for protection of rights of the existing tribal communities as well as to decide on the benefits to be given to the proposed ST status to six other communities of the State, will be holding phase-wise discussions with the various stakeholders and submit its report to the Centre on February 15.
The GoM will further collect data on the actual population strength of these six communities from the Tribal Research Institute and other bodies. This was decided in its first meeting held here on Sunday.
The five-member GoM was formed on the direction of the Centre following introduction of the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) in Rajya Sabha on January 9. The Bill proposes to grant Scheduled Tribe (ST) status to six communities of the State — Koch Rajbongshi, Tai Ahom, Chutia, Moran, Matak and tea tribes of Assam who form a sizable chunk of the population of the State.
The GoM will have consultations with representatives of the Tribal Sangha and the BTC on January 28 & 29 respectively; the six Councils on January 30; and after that with those of the six communities demanding ST status.
Talking to the media after the meeting, GoM chairman Himanta Biswa Sarma said, “We feel that there might be a need to accommodate the ST quota for the six communities from the existing OBC quota. The decision to this effect will be finalized only after we have detailed consultations with members of the various stakeholders.”
The GoM members present during the Sunday meeting were Pallab Lochan Das, Naba Kumar Doley and Chandan Brahma. Another member Minister Tapan Gogoi, however, was absent on the occasion.
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