A group of eight governors have called for the constitution of a Tribes Advisory Council in Schedule V States on a uniform pattern, to improve education, medical and other services in tribal areas.
The Governor of Rajasthan, Margaret Alva, while presenting the recommendations of the group at the Conference of Governors at Rashtrapati Bhawan recently, said the Tribal Affairs Ministry should draft a uniform model for Tribal Sub Plan Budget Allocations and ensure that the allocations were made non transferable and non lapsable.
Concerned over the vacancies in medical services in the scheduled areas, the eight governors recommended that ministries of Health and Tribal Affairs should declare all TSP districts as 'High Priority Districts' under National Rural Health Mission.
This would provide medical staff working there a lump sum incentive.
The governors also want the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to launch a 'Rural Medical Service' to train tribal youth in providing basic medical support services, and the Human Resource Ministry to amend its guidelines to provide for two additional schools-Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalas -in each tribal district.
They suggested that the Ministry of Rural Development should relax 'wage material' norms and amend existing MNREGS Guidelines to enable construction of residential quarters for medical, education and other essential sectors and maintenance of infrastructure works, in Scheduled Areas, by including these as 'eligible work', at the discretion of the governor.
The governors, Alva said, have recommended that the Ministry of Panchayati Raj should amend the Panchayati Raj Act to empower the Gram Sabhas to protect the land rights of tribals. The present law, requiring consultation with Gram Sabha for acquisition of land should be replaced by mandatory prior 'consent' of Gram Sabhas.
The states should create an effective legal and administrative framework to prevent alienation of tribal's from their rightful land holdings while ensuring that in case they sell their land, they are not deprived of the rightful market price.
The governors have suggested that the States should make 'Domicile Certificate' for residents of Scheduled Areas mandatory to ensure that employment and other benefits, intended for residents of these Areas, are not appropriated by others.
Rajasthan, Alva pointed out, has already made Domicile Certificates -- issued to those residing in Scheduled Areas for 25 years-mandatory for claiming benefits from state-run schemes.
The 'Group of Governors on the Areas under Schedule V of the Constitution and Related Issues'-constituted by President Pranab Mukherjee, included Governors of Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, with Governor of Maharashtra and Minister of Tribal Affairs, Government of India - as special invitees.
The group met twice at Raj Bhawan, Jaipur, in 2013.