Implication of Rescheduling Indigenous Peoples for Affirmative Policy in Nepal
Nepal government’s Act of 2002 legally recognised 59 groups as indigenous peoples with their distinct identity. But many others were left out. This not only affected their ethnic identity but it also deprived them of the socio-economic benefits of the state. This led to the agitation for self-identification as indigenous peoples. In order to address this agitation, the Council of Minister of the Government of Nepal formed a 9 Member High Level Task Force under my Coordinatorship in April 2009. The main task of the Task Force was to re-identify and reschedule indigenous peoples and reclassify them into proper groups for social services and economic benefits. The Task Force spent 10 months to study. Based on national and international standard and criteria, the Task Force revised the list of indigenous peoples by rescheduling them into 81 distinct groups and finally reclassified them into 4 groups. With the revision and rescheduling, the Task Force submitted its report to the government of Nepal in February 2010 for official approval. Although the government has not yet implemented the report, the rescheduling and reclassifying of indigenous peoples has pacified the agitation to a great extent. Besides pacifying the agitation, it has also had a great implication for affirmative policy-making in the present context of formulating a new constitution and building an inclusive society in Nepal.