citizenship amendment bill Current Affairs - 2019
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The government has introduced the 125th Constitutional Amendment Bill in the Parliament to increase the financial and executive powers of the 10 Autonomous Councils in the Sixth Schedule areas of the northeastern region.
Features of the Amendment Bill
The salient features of the 125th Constitutional Amendment Bill which will impact one crore tribal people in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram are:
- The amendments proposed provide for elected village municipal councils, ensuring democracy at the grass-root level.
- The amendment empowers the village councils to prepare plans for economic development and social justice including those related to agriculture, land improvement, implementation of land reforms, minor irrigation, water management, animal husbandry, rural electrification, small scale industries and social forestry.
- The amendment bill mandates the finance commission to recommend devolution of financial resources to these autonomous councils. The Autonomous Councils are dependent on grants from Central ministries and the State government for specific projects.
- The amendment bill also reserve one-third of the seats for women in the village and municipal councils in the Sixth Schedule areas of Assam, Mizoram and
The bill to empower the Autonomous Councils was announced by the government last month in the backdrop of the protests in the North-East following the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019, in the Lok Sabha.
As per the announcement made to set up a high-level committee to review the implementation of clause 6 of the Assam Accord, the government has set up a committee headed by former Union tourism secretary M.P. Bezbaruah.
Terms of Reference of the committee
Clause 6 of the Assam Accord provides for Constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards to protect preserve and promote the cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people. The committee set up to review the implementation of clause 6 of the Assam Accord will look into the following aspects:
- The committee will examine the effectiveness of actions since 1985 to implement the clause 6 of the Assam Accord.
- The committee will also suggest constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards as envisaged in clause 6.
- The committee will examine the measures to be taken to protect Assamese and other indigenous languages of Assam.
- The committee will assess the quantum of reservation in employment under the government of Assam and other measures to protect, preserve and promote the cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of Assamese people.
- The committee will assess the required quantum of reservation of seats in Assam assembly and local bodies for Assamese people.
The committee will be facilitated by the Noth East Division of the Home Ministry. The state government will provide the necessary administrative and logistic support to the committee.
Criticisms against the move
The State government has welcomed the move saying that the committee will work to fulfil a long-standing demand of the people of Assam to reserve seats in the assembly and local bodies for the indigenous people.
There is also criticism that the committee is an attempt to cover up the central government’s move to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955 which aims to grant citizenship to immigrants. It is said that some provisions of the amendment bill are contrary to the Assam Accord.