Article 370 Abrogation: In Jammu and Kashmir, tribal communities including Gurjar-Bakarwal and Gaddi-Sippy have suffered discrimination for a long time. But with the removal of Article 370, discrimination against these communities ended for seven decades and paved the way for them to get equal rights.
The tribal communities of Jammu and Kashmir were exploited a lot by the former rulers here. These communities had no voice and were considered second-class. But after the revocation of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution, these communities have been empowered.
Several steps have been taken by the government during the last three years to protect the interests of the tribal people including upliftment of their land, education and their socio-economic status. In the new scenario the government has worked towards achieving balanced development of infrastructure as well as human resources through policy decisions, plans and programs to implement the principle of equality. For example, the implementation of the Forest Rights Act (FRA) has ushered in a new era of empowerment and prosperity for the tribal population in Jammu and Kashmir. In addition to the Forest Rights Act, the administration has drawn up various schemes to protect the interests of tribal people, including their land, and the focus is on conservation and protection of forests.
Along with the rights, members of tribal communities like their family members have been made aware of their responsibilities to protect wildlife and forests and to maintain biodiversity.
Apart from providing training, branding, marketing and transportation facilities, ‘Mission Youth’ and Tribal Department are jointly setting up milk villages to connect thousands of youth to the dairy sector at a cost of Rs 16 crore. Members of tribal communities have been given rights over minor forest produce. The Government in association with ‘Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India Limited’ has set up infrastructure for collection, value addition, packaging and distribution.
The government has launched a mission to develop transit housing for seasonal floating population at eight locations at an estimated cost of Rs 28 crore. Tribal buildings are coming up in Jammu, Srinagar and Rajouri. 1521 seasonal schools and two residential schools are opening for migrant children in Jammu and Kashmir. Seven new hostels under construction for the youth of the tribal community are almost complete and the Union Territory Administration has already proposed to the Center to build 79 additional hostels.
Meanwhile, all possible help and assistance is being provided through centrally sponsored schemes to tribal women to become financially independent and earn their livelihood with dignity. In June this year, the Department of Tribal Affairs, IIT Jammu and Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah University Rajouri signed an MoU to set up a Tribal Chair in both the institutions. For the first time, the government has appointed ASHA health workers of the tribal community to work for the health care of the population living in the high grassland area during the summer season.
Tele-medicine scheme has been launched to reach out to the population living in remote areas with the services of specialist doctors. For the first time, members of the tribal community were honored during the first tribal award ceremony held in Srinagar. The members were awarded for their exemplary services in the fields of tribal welfare and sports, education, culture, literature and science and technology. The abrogation of Article 370 has ended the disparity between members of tribal communities and other citizens of Jammu and Kashmir. For the first time after independence, tribals have got their rights in Jammu and Kashmir.