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Cabinet decides to strengthen northeast autonomous councils

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Topics Covered:

  1. Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.
  2. Mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

 

Cabinet decides to strengthen northeast autonomous councils

 

What to study?

  • For Prelims: Autonomous Councils- composition, objectives and functions.
  • For Mains: Their significance, challenges being faced and scope for reforms.

 

Context: The Union Cabinet has approved a constitutional amendment to increase the financial and executive powers of the 10 autonomous councils in the Sixth Schedule areas of the northeast.

 

What are Autonomous District Council?

As per the Sixth Schedule, the four states viz. Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram contain the Tribal Areas which are technically different from the Scheduled Areas.

Though these areas fall within the executive authority of the state, provision has been made for the creation of the District Councils and regional councils for the exercise of the certain legislative and judicial powers.

Each district is an autonomous district and Governor can modify / divide the boundaries of the said Tribal areas by notification.

 

What do the new amendments seek to modify?

  • The amendment would impact a population of about 1 crore tribals living in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram
  • The Finance Commission would be mandated to recommend devolution of financial resources to the councils. Till now, the autonomous councils have depended on grants from Central Ministries and the State governments for specific projects.
  • As per the proposed amendment, at least one third of the seats would be reserved for women in the village and municipal councils in the Sixth Schedule areas of Assam, Mizoram and Tripura.
  • The amendment also provides for transfer of additional 30 subjects, including the departments of Public Works, Forests, Public Health Engineering, Health and Family Welfare, Urban Development and Food and Civil Supply to Karbi Anglong Autonomous Territorial Council and Dima Hasao Autonomous Territorial Council in Assam.
  • The proposed amendments provide for elected village municipal councils, ensuring democracy at the grass-roots level.
  • The State Election Commissions would hold elections to the autonomous councils, village and municipal councils in the areas of Assam, Mizoram and Tripura.

 

Sources: the hindu.