Constitutional Amendment to Revise Scheduled Caste List:DEVENDRA VISHWAKARMA
CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT TO REVISE SCHEDULED CASTE LIST:
Recently the government introduced The Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2016 in the Lower House that seeks to revise the list of Scheduled Castes in some States and remove area-specific restrictions for certain communities was introduced in the Lok Sabha.
The amendment has happened after state governments of Orissa, WB, Haryana, and Kerala have recommended central government for inclusion of certain communities in SC list. The Registrar General of India and the National Commission for Scheduled Castes has conveyed their concurrence to the proposed modifications.
It is a welcome move since the communities who are now recognised under law were left out of reservation basket for various social and cultural factors.
Scheduled castes are the group of communities who have brought together because of their disadvantageous position or marginalisation issues these communities are facing over centuries. With the amendment to bill, communities included in the list of Scheduled Castes will be able to derive benefits meant for Scheduled Castes under the existing schemes. The biggest benefit is that if these communities are being discriminated/Exploited/marginalised they can use Atrocities law to get justice.
It is disheartening to know that even after providing benefits for six decades the economic conditions of SC population has not improved. It is in this backdrop the frequent revision of the list assumes significance as the government can make various appraisals and take various steps to improve the conditions of the backward people.
Despite various measures government has taken to improve the conditions of the Dalits, there are still various communities left out in the inclusion process. The government needs to take a comprehensive view in this regard to accord reservation status to such communities.
One issue that needs attention here is the rationalisation of reservation. Among Dalits there is an internal competition between numerically larger and smaller communities, and usually numerically smaller communities fail to get benefit. Steps need to be taken to address this issue.