Report of the High-level Committee on Socio-Economic, Health and Educational Status of the Tribals of India

31 May, 2014


    FACTOIDS

  1. Key Recommendations

    1. Tribal people who have been displaced by conflict in Chhattisgarh and the North-east should be rehabilitated by the State Government in their villages and provided facilities of housing, safe drinking water, health and education, skill development, electricity supply, irrigation facilities, and agricultural inputs.

    2. Large numbers of tribals, men and women, are in jails for what are termed ‘naxal offences’. A Judicial Commission needs to be appointed to investigate cases filed against tribals and their supporters. Increased investment is required to be made by State Governments to provide legal aid to tribal petitioners so that they are in a position to hire competent lawyers to fight cases.

    3. In view of the large-scale discontent among displaced tribal people regarding poor R&R, a High-Level Fact-finding Committee/Enquiry Committee should be set up to investigate the quality of R&R in all medium and major development projects undertaken in the last fifty years.

    4. There have been recorded cases of Gram Sabha consent being fraudulently obtained or forged; such conduct must face penalties, and projects that proceed on the basis of consent so obtained cannot be allowed to proceed.

    5. The amendments proposed to the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act has an important component of prior informed consent. This is a necessary condition for the effective implementation of PESA.

    6. Effective participation of women in FRA processes has to be increased, given the close relationship between forests, forest produce and women’s lives.

    7. The implementation of the community forest rights (under the Forest Rights Act) has hardly taken off. It needs to have a clear mechanism and plan for recognition of various community forest rights and rights of vulnerable communities.

    8. Apathy and incapacity of the State to implement the Inter-State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1979, has led to exploitation of tribal migrant families. In particular, tribal women and children suffer greatly. There is a growing demand for enactment of a comprehensive Migrants Rights Legislation, which deserves serious consideration.

    9. Inclusion of local culture, folklore and history in the curriculum can help in building confidence of tribal children and enhance the relevance of education in their lives. Music and dance are a central part of tribal life. Therefore, storytelling, theatre, painting, music and dance performances should be promoted. Similarly, sports such as football, archery and other popular local sports are extremely beneficial and therapeutic for children, and should be promoted.

    10. Tribal communities need a specially designed health plan. Such a ‘Tribal Health Plan’ will have three features: one, a process framework about ‘how’ to prepare the local plan, which will be in the form of guidelines on mechanisms; second, a series of locally developed need-based contents of the plan and third, a design or structure of the health care system to deliver such services in all Scheduled Areas. This ‘Tribal Health Plan’ should become an essential feature of the National Health Mission and of the Tribal Sub Plan.


FOCUS

This committee was constituted by the Prime Minister's Office in August 2013 to look into the socio-economic, educational and health status of the tribals of India.

It submitted several important findings and recommendations in its report in May 2014. But the government has not made this report public, as of December 2014, when the People's Archive of Rural India published it on this site.


AUTHOR

The High-Level Committee (or the Xaxa Committee) constituted by the Prime Minister's Office in August 2013

Members:

Virginius Xaxa (Chairman)

Usha Ramanathan

Joseph Bara

Kamal Mishra

Abhay Bang

Sunila Basant

Hrushikesh Panda

Errata: The committee was set up in August 2013, and not August 2014, as stated in  the preface.

Also, in section 9.11.1 (pg 359), the report states that "Soni Sori was picked up from a marketplace in Dantewada district, Chhattisgarh on 4th October, 2011." She was picked up in Delhi.