Sixth Schedule of Indian Constitution

Sixth Schedule of Indian Constitution

News: Recently, people in Ladakh took to streets in huge number demanding an inclusion in 6th schedule of Indian

What is the 6th schedule of Indian constitution?
•   Article 244 provides for the 6th schedule of the constitution. The Sixth Schedule of the Indian Constitution provides for the administration of tribal areas in the states of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Mizoram.
•  It is designed to safeguard the rights of the tribal population through the formation of Autonomous District Councils (ADC).

Composition of ADCs:
•  ADCs have up to 30 members with a term of five years. Of these, four are nominated by the governor and the remaining 26 are elected on the basis of adult franchise.
•   The Bodoland Territorial Council in Assam is an exception, with more than 40 members.
•  Each autonomous region also has a separate regional council.

Powers of ADCs:
•   Legislative powers: Can make legislations on subjects involving land, fisheries, health, forests etc.
•  Acts and legislations of parliament and state legislature do not apply to autonomous districts or may apply with certain modifications.
•   Civil and Judicial powers

Why is Ladakh demanding for inclusion in Sixth schedule of Indian constitution?
•   Safeguarding Land, Employment, and Cultural Identity: The demand has been primarily driven by concerns over the protection of tribal rights and the preservation of the unique cultural identity of the local communities.
•   Administration Control: The administration of the Union Territory (UT) of Ladakh region is now completely in the hands of bureaucrats. The government now looks even more distant than Srinagar.
•  Change in domicile policy of Jammu and Kashmir: The change of domicile policy in UT of J&K has amplified demands for sixth schedule for Ladakh to ensure domicile for Ladakh population.
•  Limited Powers of Hill Councils: The UT has two Hill councils in Leh and Kargil, but neither is under the Sixth Schedule. Their powers are limited to collection of some local taxes such as parking fees and allotment and use of land vested by the Centre.
•  Tribal Population: It is estimated that more than 90% of Ladakh’s population is tribal. The primary
Scheduled Tribes (STs) in Ladakh are Balti Beda, Bot (or Boto), Brokpa (or Drokpa, Dard, Shin), Changpa,
Garra, Mon and Purigpa.
•  Cultural Heritage: The Ladakh region has several distinct cultural heritages by communities such as Drokpa, Balti and Changpa, among others, which needs to be preserved and promoted.
•  Agrarian Rights: Prior to the creation of the Union Territory of Ladakh, people in Ladakh region had certain agrarian rights including right on land which restricted people from other parts of the country to purchase or acquire land in Ladakh.

What are the advantages of being included in Sixth Schedule of the Constitution?
•   Democratic Devolution of Powers: Inclusion in the sixth schedule will help in democratic devolution of powers in the region and will also enhance the transfer of funds for speedy development of the region.
•  Legislative, executive (education, market, essential infra) and Judicial powers (village and district council courts)
•  Financial Powers: They can prepare a budget, assess and collect land revenue, impose taxes, and grant licenses or leases for the extraction of minerals within their jurisdiction.
•  Funding: They receive grants-in-aid from the Consolidated Fund of India to meet the costs of schemes for development, health care, education, roads
•   Preservation of Tribal Way of Life: The policy of the Sixth Schedule has special modifications to accommodate the growth of the area, maintain integrity with Indian feeling and regional autonomy, and conserve the tribal way of life. 

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