Sixth Schedule of the Constitution for the Protection and Autonomy of Tribal Communities

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Sixth Schedule of the Constitution for the Protection and Autonomy of Tribal Communities

The Constitution (125th Amendment) Bill, 2019, was introduced in the Rajya Sabha in January 2019, to amend the provisions related to the Finance Commission and, the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution. The Ministry of Home Affairs confirmed the Lok Sabha that “at present, there is no proposal to implement the Panchayat System in the ‘Sixth Schedule Areas’ of Assam”.

The Sixth Schedule deals with the administration of tribal areas in the states of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram. So far, 10 autonomous councils are present in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram.

Key Points:

Sixth Schedule of the Constitution:

  • The Sixth Schedule of the Constitution was originally intended for the tribal areas of Assam, which was classified as “Excluded Areas” under the Government of India Act, 1935. It was under the control of Governor.
  • It provides for the administration of tribal areas in Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura to protect the rights of tribes in these states.  This special provision is provided under Article 244 (2) and Article 275 (1) of the Constitution of India.
  • It provides autonomy in the administration of these areas through Autonomous District Councils (ADCs).
  • Autonomous district councils have the right to legislate in areas under their jurisdiction, which cover land, forest, farming, heritage, indigenous customs and traditions of tribal, and related to collecting land revenue and some other taxes.
  • ADCs are like miniature form having specific powers and responsibilities in respect of all the three arms of governance.

Autonomous Districts and its composition:

  • The governor has the power to organize and reorganize autonomous districts. Thus, he can increase or decrease areas or rename or define boundaries of particular autonomous district. If there are many tribes in an autonomous district, the governor can divide the district into several autonomous regions.
  • Each autonomous district has a Zilla Parishad consisting of 30 members, four of whom are nominated by the Governor and the remaining 26 are elected on the basis of adult suffrage for five years.

Constitution (125thAmendment) Bill, 2019:

In January 2019, the Union Cabinet approved amendments to enhance the financial and executive powers of autonomous councils. The Constitution (125thAmendment) Bill, 2019 was later introduced in the Rajya Sabha in February 2019.The bill which is still active for elected village municipal councils, proposes that the State Election Commission conduct elections for autonomous councils, villages and municipal councils.

Source – The Hindu

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