Ananth Shirvolkar, Chairman of SC and ST Commission, Goa, on Friday underlined the need to provide education to people belonging to the Scheduled Tribe community to empower them. By educating them, the government can bring them to the mainstream of the society, he said.
Inaugurating a seminar on participation of Scheduled Tribes in politics organised by the Karnataka State Tribal Research Institute here, Mr. Ananth said giving reservation to SCs and STs continued 67 years of independence, and this was because the schemes had not reached beneficiaries. Most of them were not aware of schemes of the State and Union governments, he said. Education is the basis for the overall development the downtrodden, Mr. Ananth said, adding that they should be politically sensitised.
Muzaffar Assadi, chairman of the political science department, Manasagangotri, said tribal people were displaced at many places under different Acts and it was high time that laws be amended in a manner befitting them.
If any private or public company were to displace the Scheduled Tribes from their settlement under the pretext of development, then the latter should be involved in the work and be given a certain share in the returns. That is, they should not be disturbed from their places unless the land was needed for developmental works, he said.
He noted that there were over 700 categories among tribals, who were living in perpetual poverty even though the government had introduced several schemes for their betterment.
Mr. Assadi also said that representation to tribal people in politics and power was token and nominal and stressed for more political representation.
He said that of the over 42 lakh tribal population in Karnataka, over 53 per cent was literate.