Assam Government on Monday set up a Group of Ministers (GoM) headed by Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma to recommend measures for protection of rights of existing tribal communities as well as to decide on the benefits to be given to new Scheduled Tribes, official sources said.
The 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 sizeable chunk of the population of the state.
After examining the ethnic communities' status, the committee will submit its report to the Centre within 15 to 20 days with modalities for granting Scheduled Tribe (ST) status to the six communities, but without harming the rights of the tribes that are currently enjoying the status, the sources said.
Other ministers in the GoM are Pallab Lochan Das, Naba Doley and Tapan Gogoi with Chandan Brahma being its Convenor.
Tribal groups with ST status, including Bodos, have expressed apprehension that the Bill tabled without consulting them may lead to curtailment of their rights and had even called an Assam bandh on January 11.
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