Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired the Union Cabinet on Wednesday to approve a Constitution amendment Bill that grants tribal status to the Hattee community living in the Trans-Giri region of Sirmaur district, ahead of the crucial Assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh.
On Wednesday, Union Tribal Affairs Minister Arjun Munda announced that the Union Cabinet had approved adding the Hattee community to the list of notified Scheduled Tribes in Himachal Pradesh’s Sirmaur area.
As part of the move, Munda said around 1.60 lakh people will benefit from the move, in addition to adding the Brijia community in Chhattisgarh to the ST list. Narikuravar,
one of the poorest and most vulnerable communities living in Tamil Nadu’s hills was also added to the ST list, Munda said.
Hatetees, who sell produce, meat, wool, and vegetables at small-town markets called haats, are a close-knit community.
Since 1967, the Hattees have been seeking ST status across the Himachal-Uttarakhand border, where it was granted to people living in Jaunsar Bawar in Uttarakhand, which straddles the Sirmaur district border.
A detailed proposal had been sent by the Jai Ram Thakur government to the Centre in March, asking for inclusion of the Hattees on the Himachal Pradesh ST list.
According to the proposals approved in the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, some changes will also be made to the Scheduled Tribes of Chhattisgarh. The minister added Bhuinya, Bhuiyan, and Bhuyan to the list of synonyms of Bharia Bhumia, while Dhanuhar and Dhanuwar were added to the list of synonyms of Dhanwar to extend the benefits to various phonetic usages of the same term.
Those newly listed in the revised list of Scheduled Tribes will benefit from government programs meant for STs. Post-matric scholarships, overseas scholarships, and national fellowships are some of the major benefits, along with concessional loans from the National Scheduled Tribes Finance and Development Corporation. As per the government’s policy, they will also be entitled to benefits such as reservation in services and admission to educational institutions.