Mizoram 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.
The Union Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the constitutional amendment which seeks to increase the powers of the autonomous councils in the Sixth Schedule areas of the Northeast.
What are the amendments proposed?
The Sixth Schedule of the Constitution provides for decentralised self-governance and dispute resolution through local customary laws in parts of the North East, mainly tribal areas. The amendments proposed are:
- Amendments to Article 280 to provide greater financial resources to the councils that administer the tribal areas of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura and enable them to undertake development works.
- The existing autonomous district councils would be renamed as autonomous territorial councils since the jurisdiction of the councils extends to more than one district.
- The devolution of the financial resources to these councils would be based on the recommendations of the finance commission.
- The amendments provide for the transfer of additional 30 subjects to Karbi Anglong Autonomous Territorial Council and Dima Hasao Autonomous Territorial Council in Assam.
- The amendments also provide for elected village municipal councils to ensure democracy at the grassroots level.
- The amendments empower 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 amendments are in direction of fulfilling the commitments made under tripartite Memorandum of Settlements signed by Government of India, governments of Assam and Meghalaya, United People’s Democratic Solidarity (UPDS), Dima Halam Daogah (DHD) and Achik National Volunteers’ Council (ANVC).