Land Boundary Agreement Current Affairs
Lok Sabha has passed Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2016 to grant voting rights to people who became citizens of India following the exchange of enclaves between India and Bangladesh.
The bill seeks to amend the Representation of the People Act (RPA), 1950 and the Delimitation Act, 2002. These Acts regulate allocation of seats to the Lok Sabha and state legislatures and delimitation (fixing boundaries) of parliamentary and state assembly constituencies.
- This bill aims to empower the Election Commission of India (ECI) to carry out delimitation in areas that were affected by the enactment of the Constitution (100th Amendment) Act, 2015.
- Under the 2015 Act, enclaves were exchanged between India and Bangladesh. India received 51 enclaves from Bangladesh and transferred 111 enclaves to Bangladesh in July 2015.
- The bill empowers ECI to amend the delimitation order for (i) Include in the relevant constituencies the Bangladeshi enclaves that were transferred to India. (ii) Exclude of relevant constituencies in the Indian enclaves that were transferred to Bangladesh.
The RPA, 1950 and Delimitation Act, 2002 provide the ECI the responsibility to maintain up-to-date delimitation orders. Delimitation orders specify the boundaries of territorial constituencies.
India and Bangladesh physically transferred 162 enclaves/chitmahals located on Indo-Bangladesh.
Under the historic exchange, 51 Bangladeshi enclaves merged with India, while 111 Indian enclaves from West Bengal, Assam, Tripura and Meghalaya merged with Bangladesh.
The transfer took place in pursuant to the 1974 Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) and its Protocol of 2011 between both neighbouring countries. The exchange comes after the instruments for accession were ratified by both countries during the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Bangladesh in June 2015.
This exchange gave citizenship identity to over 52,000 people of either country, thus giving them access to all legal rights and civic amenities. Earlier people in these enclaves were living a stateless existence for 68 years.
Earlier under the LBA, a joint nationality preference survey was conducted in order to give the choice of nationality to the residents. Data from the survey is now being verified by the Office of the Registrar General of India (ORGI) and Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) to facilitate the trouble-free moving of residents before the stipulated deadline of 30th November 2015.