The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, gave its approval for introduction of a Bill for amendments to the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950, in order to modify the list of Scheduled Castes in respect of the five states -- Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Kerala, Odisha and West Bengal.
The proposal also seeks some changes in the Central List of Other Backward Classes of the states of Chhattisgarh, Haryana and Kerala, consequent upon inclusion of certain castes or parts thereof in the list of Scheduled Castes.
The castes and communities that were found eligible for their inclusion in SC category from Chhattisgarh are Sais, who are also known as Sahis, Sarathi, Soot-Sarathi and Thanwar.
Two castes from Haryana have also been included in the SC list. These are Aheria, also called Aheri, Hari, Heri, Thori and Turi, and Rai Sikh.
In Kerala, Peruvannan caste has been included the SC list while Malayan from certain areas will also be entitled to the same benefits. Castes, which have been excluded from the OBC list consequent upon their inclusion in SC list include Bariki and Kummari from Odisha, while the area restriction of the inclusion of Chain caste in West Bengal has been removed.
After the Bill becomes an Act, members of the communities included in the list of Scheduled Castes will be able to derive benefits meant for Scheduled Castes under the existing schemes.
Some of the major schemes for these groups include Post Matric Scholarship, National Overseas Scholarship, Rajiv Gandhi National Fellowship, Top Class Education, Concessional Loans from National Scheduled Castes Finance and Development Corporation, Hostels for SC boys and girls.
In addition to above, they will also be entitled to the benefits of reservation in services and admission to educational institutions. The Constitution provides certain privileges concessions to the members of Scheduled Castes which are notified under the provisions of Article 341.
First list of Scheduled Castes in relation to a state or Union Territory is to be issued by a notified Order of the President after having consultation with the state government concerned.
Any subsequent inclusion in or exclusion from the list of Scheduled Castes can be effected through an Act of Parliament as envisaged under clause (2) of Article 341. Six Presidential Orders were issued between 1950 and 1978 for specifying Scheduled Castes in respect of various states/Union territories.
These Orders have been amended from time to time by Acts of Parliament enacted as per Article 341(2) of the Constitution between 1956 and 2015.