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Inner Line Permit (ILP)

Topics Covered: Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism.

Inner Line Permit (ILP)

What to study?

For Prelims: What is ILP? Where it is in existence?

For Mains: Need for and significance of ILP, demand for ILP in other states, feasibility.

Context: Tribal organisations in Meghalaya have been demanding the ILP system for restricting the entry of outsiders into the State. These demands have turned into violent protests across the state in the past few days.

What is an ILP?

It is a document required by non- natives to visit or stay in a state that is protected under the ILP system.

  • At present, four Northeastern states are covered, namely, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Manipur and Nagaland.
  • Both the duration of stay and the areas allowed to be accessed for any non native are determined by the ILP.
  • The ILP is issued by the concerned state government and can be availed both by applying online or in person.

The Inner Line Permit is an extension of the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation Act 1873. The Britishers framed regulations restricting entry in certain designated areas. This was done to protect the Crown’s interest in certain states by preventing “British subjects” (Indians) from trading within these regions.

In 1950, the term ‘British subjects’ was replaced with ‘Citizens of India’. Today, all non natives require the permit. This was done to protect the indigenous tribal communities of these states from exploitation.


What about foreigners?

An ILP is only valid for domestic tourists. For foreign tourists in:

Manipur: No permit is required. But, have to register themselves.

Mizoram: No permit is required. But, need to register.

Nagaland: No permit is required. However, they need to register.

Arunachal Pradesh: Tourists need a Protected Area Permit (PAP) or Restricted Area Permit (RAP) from the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India.

Need for ILP:

  • Preservation of indigenous culture and tradition.
  • Prevents illegal migrants and encroachment by outsiders.

Should Meghalaya be brought under ILP?

The ILP is considered the only mechanism to contain influx in the state. Influx is perceived as dangerous because it could upset the fragile demographic balance of the tribals of Meghalaya.

Influx definitely is a matter of concern but it requires better solutions than the ILP, not instant solutions demanded by pressure groups. Indeed, how can such a far-reaching policy be decided by one or two groups?

Insta- Link:

Prelims link: Since ILP is frequently in News, concentrate on:

  1. Map based questions involving North- Eastern states.
  2. NE state and their international neighbours.

Mains link:

Analyse the issue of imposition of ILP system in India’s northeastern states and the dilemma this system has posed to the Indian government.

Sources: the Hindu.