ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles by B K Roy BurmanSubscribe to B K Roy Burman

Draft NAtional Tribal Policy of 2006: Creating Consternation

The new draft tribal policy is a reworking of a similar document given shape by the previous NDA government. However, rather than rectify the lacunae noticed in the earlier policy, the new draft has several regressive features. The proposal to reinstate the "single line administration", for instance, would lead to a concentration of powers in the district official instead of fostering actual decentralisation at the grassroot level.

Backward Classes and the Census-Putting the Record Straight

record straight, (I) In view of the constitutional commitment of having a list of socially and educationally backward classes, the 1951 Census had made a limited castewise enumeration apart from that relating to scheduled castes and scheduled tribes.1 Some of the states were already having a list of educationally backward castes and comunities, apart from the SC and ST, Besides, a list of obviously so-called advanced castes like the brahman, kayastha and rajput was prepared. The census enumerators were instructed not to record the caste names of persons belonging to the latter categories but to record others. Thus a large number of castes were enumerated. But the data were not published. These were made available to the first Backward Classes Commission. The report of the commission makes a mention of this fact. I had a personal set. I made the same available to the second Backward Classes Commission, as chairman of the Technical Advisory Committee of the commission, but the commission did not use these data and took a dishonest course, in protest against which I dissociated myself from the commission and later made a public statement. To avoid misunderstanding I should make it clear that I am fully committed to reservation for SC, ST and OBC and to affirmative action for minorities. In 1991,I informed Vinod Pande, the then secretary, Interstate Council, about this source of information. I think a friend I know has a set. Even without enumeration of castewise data during the 2001 Census, most of the requisite information can be obtained by an acceptable method of projection of 1951 and earlier census data.

Problems and Prospects of Tribal Development in North-East India

The tribe as a social formation may be identified in two ways: first as a stage in the history of evotution of societies; second, as a society organised on the basis of kinship ties which enables it to be a multi-functional grouping. A tribe can thus outgrow its primitiveness and retain its social boundary, an essential feature of its identity. Within this conceptualisation of the tribals, what have been the constraints to their development in north-east India THE problems and prospects of tribal development may be considered along two axes: (a) as ethnic entities and (b) as status-class.

Transformation of Tribes and Analogous Social Formations

The first, most urgent, task is now to preserve these gains until such time as -the business upswing in the Western industrial world brings more fundamental relief to the debtor countries. The second, less immediate, but probably more formidable task is to look beyond the immediate period and to try to resolve the 'systemic' problems such as. the complexrelations between authorities and banks, the maturity profile of the outstanding international bank debt and international capital flows available to finance future current account deficits. On these issues the report is content to just indicate that "although the importance of these -issues speaks tor itself, the possible approaches to dealing with them depend so much on current developments that it would seem premature at this stage to put forward any formal recommendations for their solution. But it is vital that policy -makers, in their day- to-day handling of current problems, keep them in mind." The report goes on to explain the role of the central banking community, international organisations such as the IMF and the World Bank, the banks and the debtor countries in averting the immediate financial crisis and also in tackling the related problems in the medium-term. Though the Bank: recognises the role of the banks in external financing, it casts doubts on whether they could or should go on with unconditional balance of payments financing, as they have been doing in the past. According to the report, "a graduated. conditionally properly adjusted to each case would be a vast improvement over the bank's behaviour during these past few years.... It woud perhaps be possible to devise co-operative schemes between the IMF and private lenders, just as it is desirable that there should be even more co-financing between the World Bank and the banks." For enabling the IMF and the World bank to play an effective role, the report calls for increased resources to be put at the disposal of both institutions. The report draws a distinction between current account deficit and development finance. It favours current account deficits being financed by the IMF with the assistance of banks and the provision of development finance by World Bank.

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