Home Ministry turns down proposal to shift NEC
By Our Special Correspondent
NEW DELHI, JAN. 1. A suggestion to bring the North Eastern Council (NEC) - created by an Act of Parliament as an advisory body for socio-economic development of the northeastern region - under the jurisdiction of the Tribal Affairs Ministry from the ambit of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs has been turned down by the Home Ministry itself.
While the Home Ministry is primarily responsible for law and order in the country, the Ministry of Tribal Affairs - set up two years ago - is the nodal ministry responsible for overall policy, planning and coordination of programmes of development for Scheduled Tribes (STs).
As the northeast is predominantly inhabited by tribals, a parliamentary panel saw justification in bringing the NEC under the aegis of the Tribal Affairs Ministry for greater and balanced socio-economic development of the region. It, therefore, suggested that efforts be made to bring the NEC under the Tribal Affairs Ministry. However, the Home Ministry, according to sources, is ``not in favour of transferring the NEC to the Tribal Affairs Ministry''.
After considering the matter, it replied that the Tribal Affairs Ministry was exclusively concerned with matter related to Scheduled Tribes, and the ST population in northeastern States was only 25.81 per cent. In other words, almost 75 per cent of the population was non-tribals.
Further, schemes of the NEC mainly covered infrastructure sector and were applicable to both tribals and non-tribals. The NEC also had the mandate for maintaining security and public order which was a subject under the Home Ministry and there were very few schemes which exclusively dealt with individual tribals.
In the light of these observations, the Ministry of Home Affairs urged that the matter may not be pursued further and that NEC may be retained under its ambit only.
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