The Arunachal state government had demanded to put State under the Sixth Schedule 6th schedule to protect and safeguard the customary rights of tribal people regarding ownership and transfer of land and forest products of the state. Earlier, The Arunachal state government had also demanded to amend the Constitution and waive Article 371(H) and put Arunachal Pradesh under the provisions of Article 371(A) and 371(G) in line with Nagaland and Mizoram.
Article 371(A) and 371(G) provides special protection with respect to religious and social practices, customary laws and rights to ownership and transfer of land to the tribal people of the state of Nagaland and Mizoram respectively Under Article 371 (H), the state governor has special responsibility with respect to law and order in the state and in the discharge of his functions in relation thereto.
Though, at present Arunachal Pradesh has Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation (BEFR) Act of 1873 which prohibits all citizens of India from entering Arunachal without a valid Inner Line Permit.
What is Sixth schedule Click here For further Reading
The sixth schedule to the constitution provides power to tribal communities to administer the tribal areas in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram under the provision of Article 244(2) and 275(1) of the constitution. THE SIXTH SCHEDULE IS RELATED TO THE ADMINISTRATION OF NORTHEASTERN STATES i.e. the states of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram in the North-east. It has provisions for the formation of autonomous districts and autonomous regions within the districts as there are different schedule tribes within the district.
DEMAND FOR SIXTH SCHEDULE STATUS
Living under the wrong expression
“No government had sought Sixth Schedule status since Arunachal Pradesh became a State more than three decades ago. From the suggestions from the Consultative Committee, community leaders and advocates, we have come to understand that we were living under the wrong expression of being protected by the Inner Line Permit (ILP),” Mr Felix said.
The ILP, warranted by the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation Act of 1873, is an official travel document issued by the State government concerned to let in an Indian citizen into a protected area for a limited period. Mr Felix also said the provisions of Article 371(H) for Arunachal Pradesh do not ensure full protection to the State’s people. “We may have our land, air and water but we don’t have its own.”
Way forward for sixth schedule Creation of elected village councils in all areas and ensuring accountability of Village Councils to Gram Sabha. Ensure regular election conducted by the State Election Commission. Recognize Gram Sabha under the law and specify its powers & functions. Ensure women and other ethnic minorities are not excluded from representation in the council. Bring transparency in planning, implementation and monitoring of developmental programmes.Solutions
Issues with Sixth Schedule.
- No Decentralization of powers and administration: For example, in Bodo Territorial Area districts, there is only district council which elects few people who enjoy unbridled power. Thus, units should be created that will represent people at all strata.
- The Legislative power of the state over councils: The laws made by the councils require the assent of the governor. This process has no time limits which delayed the legislation for years. Also, Para 12 (A) of the Sixth Schedule clearly states that, whenever there is a conflict of interest between the District Councils and the state legislature, the latter would prevail.
- Conflict in discretionary powers of governor: There are differing views over the discretionary power of governors with respect to the administration of these areas. Thus, conflict is there on the requirement of consultation of the governor with the council of ministers.
- Lack of codification of customary law: Customary laws need to be codified and brought into practical use to ensure the protection of tribal cultural identity.
- Lack of skilled professionals: Almost all Councils do not have access to planning professionals which results in ad-hoc conceiving of development projects without proper technical and financial consideration.
- Financial dependency: Autonomous councils are dependent on their respective state governments for funds in addition to the occasional special package from the Centre. There is no State Finance Commission for recommending ways to devolve funds to District Councils and Regional Councils.
- Lack of development: Although 6th schedule was enacted to give more benefit to the people and bring fast-paced development, yet due to no panchayats or Parishad at the people level, they have no power and money which non-6th schedule areas have for implementation of various schemes like MGNREGA etc.
- Corruption: Financial mismanagement and rampant corruption have often been detected in the functioning of different Councils under the Sixth Schedule provision.