Parliament passes bill to include Bhogta and other communities in Jharkhand’s ST list

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Parliament passes bill to include Bhogta and other communities in Jharkhand’s ST list

Parliament on Tuesday passed a bill to include the Bhogta community in the list of Scheduled Tribes in Jharkhand after removing it from the Scheduled Caste category. The bill, passed by Rajya Sabha on March 30, was cleared by Lok Sabha on Tuesday through a voice vote.

The Constitution (Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill-2022 also seeks to include certain other communities, including Kharwar, Deshwari, Ganjhu, Dautalbandi (Dwalbandi), Patbandi, Raut, in the list of Scheduled Tribes in Jharkhand. Replying to a discussion on the bill, Tribal Affairs Minister Arjun Munda said it is part of the government’s “continuous efforts”, under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership, to address the problems of Scheduled Tribe communities so that they become part of the mainstream and prosper.

He said the government is working with full commitment and honesty for the welfare of the members of the Scheduled Tribes and hit out at the opposition for calling the move “political”. “Congress member K Suresh said it’s political….Why didn’t you do it for political benefits when you were in power. You played politics. We are thinking (about the welfare of the Scheduled Tribes) and doing it. There is no politics in it,” the minister said.

Initiating the discussion on the proposed legislation, Congress member K Suresh accused the government of bringing the bill “from election point of view” and said a total of three amendment bills were brought during the ongoing Session of Parliament for inclusion of certain communities in the Scheduled Tribe list in Tripura and Uttar Pradesh.

“This is the third amendment bill that the government has brought. I have no objection. But I can understand the pressure and compulsion of the government, and the election point of view….This is not good,” the Congress member said. Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) member Vijay Kumar Hansdak said objections have been raised by some leaders and members of the Bhogta community over the move to include it in the Scheduled Tribe list.

“There is so much anger among the Bhogta community due to this,” he said and urged the minister to bring the bill after considering the views of the community and holding a consultation with the Jharkhand government. BJP MP Nishikant Dubey hit out at the Congress and the JMM members, saying, “The way they opposed the bill is condemnable. The people of Jharkhand will never forgive them.”

TMC member Pratima Mondal supported the bill but said the inclusion of more castes in the Scheduled Tribe list is not enough for their progress.
“More funds are required to be allocated,” she added. Lok Sabha was adjourned for the day after the passage of the bill.

ALSO READ | Rajya Sabha begins discussion on bill to remove Bhogta caste from Scheduled Caste list

ALSO READ | RS passes bill to remove Bhogta caste from SC list, include certain communities in ST list

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