In News: The Centre is reported to be considering granting “tribal” status to the Trans-Giri region of Himachal Pradesh’s Sirmaur district.
- The demand to declare Trans-Giri a tribal area is old — and is tied up with the demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status for the Hatti community which lives in the area.
The community and the land
- The Hattis are a close-knit community who take their name from their traditional occupation of selling home-grown crops, vegetables, meat, and wool at small-town markets known as ‘haats’.
- Hatti men traditionally don a distinctive white headgear on ceremonial occasions.
- The present population of the Hattis is estimated at around 3 lakh.
- The Hatti homeland straddles the Himachal-Uttarakhand border in the basin of the Giri and Tons rivers, both tributaries of the Yamuna.
- The Tons marks the border between the two states.
- The Hattis are governed by a traditional council called ‘khumbli’ which, like the ‘khaps’ of Haryana, decide community matters.
Requirement of ‘tribal’ area
- In its reply in Parliament, the government laid down the requirements for such designation, and the reason why Himachal Pradesh’s claim could not be considered
- It said that the Constitution provides for two types of areas: “Scheduled Areas” in terms of the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution, and “Tribal Areas” in terms of Sixth Schedule.
- Himachal Pradesh submitted a proposal for notifying entire Trans-Giri area of Sirmour district, Dodra Kwar Sub-Division of Shimla district, 15/20 areas of Shimla and Kullu districts as Scheduled Areas in Himachal Pradesh.
- The government said, for declaration of Scheduled Areas the criteria followed are: preponderance of tribal population, compactness and reasonable size of the area, a viable administrative entity such as a district, block or taluk, and economic backwardness of the area as compared to neighbouring areas.
- The proposal was examined in the Ministry and could not be considered due to want of requisite criteria, as mentioned above.
Source: Indian Express