what is Sixth schedule:- 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. Article 244 of provides a special system of administration for certain areas designated as ‘scheduled areas’ and ‘tribal areas. Article 275 makes provisions for statutory grants to be charged on Consolidated Fund of India. Such grants also include specific grants for promoting the welfare of the scheduled tribes or for raising the level of administration of the scheduled areas in a state.
Advantages of inclusion in 6th schedule
Advantages of inclusion in 6th schedule:- Sixth schedule benefits in democratic devolution of powers, preserve and promote the distinct culture of the region, protect agrarian rights including rights on land and enhance the transfer of funds for speedy development through following features:
- Autonomous District Councils (ADC)
- Autonomous region
- Legislative Power
- Limitation to the power of Parliamentary or state legislature over autonomous regions
- Judicial powers
- Regulatory power
- Tax revenue collection
- No Decentralization of powers and administration
- The Legislative power of the state over councils
- Conflict in discretionary powers of the governor
- Lack of codification of customary law
- Lack of skilled professionals
- Financial dependency
- Lack of development
Autonomous District Councils (ADC): ADCs are bodies representing a district to which the Constitution has given varying degrees of autonomy within the state legislature. Each autonomous district council consisting of 30 members, including nominated and elected members. Autonomous region: If there are different Scheduled Tribes in an autonomous district, it can be divided into autonomous regions. Legislative Power: ADCs are empowered to make legislative laws with due approval from the governor. Limitation to the power of Parliamentary or state legislature over autonomous regions: Acts passed by Parliament and state legislatures may or may not be levied in these regions unless the President and the governor give her or his approval. Judicial powers: councils can constitute village courts within their jurisdiction to hear the trial of cases involving the tribes.
Regulatory power: The district council can establish, construct or manage primary schools, dispensaries, markets, ferries, fisheries, roads and so on in the district. It can also make regulations for the control of money lending and trading by non-tribal. But such regulations require the assent of the governor. Tax revenue collection: – The district and regional councils are empowered to assess and collect land revenue and to impose certain specified taxes. They can also receive grants-in-aid from the Consolidated Fund of India to meet the costs of schemes for development, health care, education, roads and regulatory powers to state control. 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.