North East 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.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the development works at Tripura during his visit. The development projects inaugurated were:
- A 23.32-km railway track in southern Tripura. This 23 Km Garjee-Belonia section is built at a cost of Rs 400 crore and is part of the Rs 3,407-crore Agartala-Sabroom (115 km) national railway project aiming to link southern Tripura’s last border town (Sabroom).
- This new railway line would facilitate the carriage of goods and passengers from the northeastern states on the Bangladeshi railway network.
- New complex of Tripura Institute of Technology (TIT) at Narsingarh. The new complex was built at a cost of Rs 103 crore. The cost was shared by the state and the Central government.
- Unveiled a statue of Tripura’s last ruler, Maharaja Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya at the Agartala airport.
Maharaja Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya
Maharaja Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya (reigned 1923-47) is considered as the father of modern architecture in Tripura, as the entire planning of present-day Tripura was initiated during his rule including planning of the capital city of Tripura, Agartala.
In 1939, the Maharaja reserved land for the local Tripura tribals, which was later instrumental in the creation of the Tripura autonomous district council.
He is also credited for the construction of the first airport at Agartala in Tripura, which is today the second busiest airport in the entire northeast.
The statue of the Maharaja Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya is designed and built by the faculty and students of Tripura government’s Art and Craft College at a cost of Rs 5 lakh.
The statue was unveiled as part of the efforts of the union government policy of honouring the unsung heroes of India, who have contributed greatly to nation-building.