- Certain Communities suffering from Extreme Social & Economic Backwardness- like Untouchability Primitive Agri-Practices, Lack of Infrastructural facilities, Geographical Isolation- needed special consideration for safeguarding their interests;
- These communities were notified as Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes as per provisions of Art. 341(1) and 342(1) of the Constitution respectively;
- Under the original provisions of Art.338 of the Constitution, Special Officer (Commissioner) for SC&ST appointed was assigned the duty to investigate all matters relating to the Safeguards for SCs and STs in various Statutes and to report to the President upon the working of these Safeguards;
- To facilitate working of the Commissioner for (SCs&STs),17 Regional Offices were set up in different parts of the Country;
- In 1978 the Govt. (through a Resolution) decided to set up a Multi-Member Commission (Non-Statutory) for SCs and STs with Sh. Bhola Paswan Shastri as Chairperson and having 4 Members (with 3 year tenure ); Office of Commissioner for SCs & STs also Continued to exist;
- The 17 Regional Offices earlier transferred to DG (Backward Classes Welfare), were brought back under the control of the new Multi Member Commission;
- In 1987, the Govt. (through another Resolution) modified functions of the Commission (making it as a National Level Advisory Body) to advise the Govt. on Broad Policy Issues and levels of Development of SCs and STs;
- The statutory National Commission for SCs & STs came into being on 12-3-92 (after the Constitutiona (65th )Amendment); Act 1990. Notified on 8-6-1990), it was headed by Sh. Ram Dhan as Chairperson and had Sh. Bandi Oraon as VC, Sh. B. Sammaiah, Dr. Sanojni Mahishi, Chaudhary Hari Singh, Sh..N. Brahma and Sh. Jina Bhai Darjee as Members, replacing the Special Officer for SCs and STc.
- The 2nd Commission was constituted on 5-10-95 with Sh..H. Hanumanthappa as Chairperson Smt. Omem Moyong Deori as VC and Sh. N.C. Chaturvedi, Sh. Anand Mohan Biswas, Ven. Lama Lobzang, Sh. Nar Singh Baitha, and Sh. B. Yadaiah as Members;
- The 3rd Commission was constituted in Dec-1998 comprising Sh. Dileep Singh Bhuria as Chairperson, Sh. Kameshwar Paswan as VC, and Sh. Harinder Singh Khalsa, Ven Lama Lobzang, Sh. Chhotray Majhi, Sh.M. Kannan, Smt. Veena Nayyar as Members. On resignation of Sh. M. Kannan, Sh. C. Chellapan became Member;
- The 4th Commission was constituted in March 2002 comprising Dr. Vijay Sonkar Shastri as Chairperson, Ven Lamma Chosphel Zotpa as VC, and Sh. Vijay Kumar Chaudhary, Sh. Narayan Singh Kesari, Sh. Tapir Gao as Members, while Smt. Veena Nayyar and Sr. C. Chellapan continued till completion of their respective tenures of 3yrs. In Aug, 02, Smt. Veena Prem Kumar also became a member in place of Smt. Veena Nayyar. On completion of term by Sh. Chellapan, Sh. Sampath Kumar became Member on 30-9-2003;
- Consequent upon implementation of the provision of the Constitution (89th) Amendment Act.2003, as per notification dated 19-2-2004, the Erstwhile National Commission for SC & ST was replaced by two Commissions viz; National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) and National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST). The composition of the first National Commission for Scheduled included Sh. Kunwar Singh as Chairperson (w.e.f 15/3/04) Sh. Gajendra Singh Rajukheri as Vice- Chairperson (w.e.f 29.05.06), Ven. Lama Lobzang (w.e.f.2-3-04) Smt. Prema Bai Mandavi (w.e.f 4.3.04) Sh. Buduru Srinivasulu (w.e.f 11.3.04) as Members. Chairperson,V.C. and Members have a tenure of 3 years each. Chairperson has the status of Union Cabinet Minister, while V.C has the status of Minister of State and Members have the Status of Secretary to Government of India. Shri Kunwar Singh, resigned from his post in February, 2007 and Shri Gajendra Singh Rajukheri resigned in May 2007 while other Members demitted their office after completion of their tenure in March 2007.
- The second commission comprised of Smt. Urmila Singh, Chairperson, (assumed office from 18.06.2007 to 24.01.2010), Shri Maurice Kujur, Vice Chairperson, (assumed office on 25.04.2008 to 24.04.2011), Shri Tsering Samphel, Member (assumed office from 14.06.2007 to 13.06.2010) and Shri Oris Syiem Myriaw, Member, (assumed office on 17.04.2008 to 16.04.2011).
- The third Commission comprised of Dr. Rameshwar Uraon, Chairperson, assumed office on 28.10.2010, Smt. K. Kamala Kumari, Member, assumed office on 21.07.2010 and Shri Bheru Lal Meena, Member, assumed office on 28.10.2010. The posts of Vice chairperson and one member in the Commission are lying vacant.