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Tshering panel runs into obstacles

By IndianMandarins- 09 Jan 2019


The three-member team of the Union tribal affairs ministry headed by joint secretary Meera Ranjan Tshering (IPoS:1988) who has been engaging with the representatives of a number of communities in Sikkim and Bengal may find itself in a tight corner following the Sikkim CM, Pawan Chamling, sounding sceptical of the prospects of the Centre giving ST tag to the 11 Gorkha communities in the Himalayan state.


“The central government had formed such a committee in the past, but there has been no action till date. No report has been submitted. They (the committee) are roaming here before the election, doing a routine job,” the chief minister said, adding that he saw no point in meeting the panel members.


The 11 Nepali-speaking communities seeking tribal status are Rai, Mangar, Gurung, Thami, Bhujel, Jogi, Sanyasi, Giri, Newar, Khas, and Dewan (Yakha). A similar demand has also been voiced in the neighboring Darjeeling hills. The government of Bengal, too, backs the demand.


The tribal affairs ministry had set up a committee under Ashok Pai, a joint secretary, in the first week of April 2016 to examine the proposal to declare the 11 communities in Bengal and other states Scheduled Castes.

The committee was given three months to submit its report. But before Pai could examine the matter, he was transferred to the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes.


The panel was later reconstituted under another senior officer, Vishu Maini, and is now headed by Tshering.

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