Raipur: The Chhattisgarh government has decided to set up a high-powered committee to suggest ways to simplify the caste certification procedure, administration sources said on Wednesday.

According to sources, Chief Minister Raman Singh ordered the committee to be set up to suggest ways to simplify the caste certification process and to correct the certificates that were issued to tribal people.

The committee will be headed by Chief Secretary Sunil Kumar. The decision was taken at a meeting of the Scheduled Castes Development Authority on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Chief secretary Sunil Kumar said, "The state government is mulling the framing of guidelines so that students passing their secondary and higher secondary examinations get caste certificates before leaving school."

"Similarly, the facility of caste certificate verification will be made available at the district level. So far, this was done at divisional level."

On account of the negligence of district collectors, hundreds of thousands of tribal people were issued invalid caste certificates since Chhattisgarh was carved out as a separate state from Madhya Pradesh in November 2000.

The certificates were useless as they were issued erroneously under Article 341 of the Constitution, which specifies Scheduled Castes, when they should have been issued under Article 342, which specifies the Scheduled Tribes.

The committee to make the correction, headed by the chief secretary, will have secretaries of the general administration department and the tribal welfare department, representatives of Chhattisgarh State Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, the secretary to the chief minister and some district collectors.

(Agencies)

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