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GoM likely to finalise report by March 20


GUWAHATI, March 2 - The Group of Ministers (GoM) headed by Himanta Biswa Sarma, which was formed to recommend measures for protection of rights of existing tribal communities, is likely to finalise its report by March 20, nine months after the panel was formed on the directions of the Centre.

WPT&BC Minister Chandan Brahma today told the State Assembly that the five-member committee had meetings with all stakeholders.

�Currently, the reservation for OBC in the State is 27 per cent. If we give ST status to the six ethnic communities � Koch Rajbongshi, Tai Ahom, Chutia, Moran, Matak and tea tribes of Assam � we will have to reduce this quota. The government needs to decide the quantum of reservation for the other tribes which will remain as OBC,� Brahma said.

According to the minister, the GoM will have to sit for one final round before submitting its report to the Centre, which is likely to be before March 20.

The minister also said that while the RGI had recommended ST status for 36 of the total 98 sub-castes of the tea tribe community, the State government wants all the sub-castes to be categorised under the same status.

�These are some technical issues which need to be sorted out. By March 20, we should get the final report,� the minister added, responding to a question by AGP legislator Ramendra Narayan Kalita.

The Centre had directed constitution of the GoM following introduction of the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) in Rajya Sabha.

After examining the status of the ethnic communities, the committee will submit its report to the Centre with modalities for granting scheduled tribe (ST) status to the six communities, but without harming the rights of the tribes that are currently enjoying the status.

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