Autonomous Council: A Reflection

In recent years, the demand for Autonomous Councils gained momentum in Arunachal Pradesh such as Patkai Autonomous Development Council (PADC) and Mon Autonomous Development Council. Out of curiosity I attended in one of the PADC meetings at Circuit House, Miao. Lots of deliberations were happening. Then there is also many policies and agendas hidden in the form of Byelaws. For example no response for “Where will be the two Unreserved Seats?

I got interested as this will impact my life too. The following are my learning about Autonomous Councils.

  • Autonomous Councils are general called Autonomous Administration Divisions, given by Central Government with varying degrees of autonomy within the State Legislature.
  • Several Autonomous Councils are in India, mostly in the North East: nine in Assam, three in Meghalaya, three in Mizoram, two in Jammu & Kashmir, and one each in Tripura, West Bengal and Manipur. Whole state of Meghalaya is Autonomous Councils. Most of these councils are allotted along the ethnic lines.
  • Most of the establishment and functions are based on the sixth schedule article 244 (2) & Article 275(1) to the Constitution of India.
  • The council is given Executive, Judiciary, Legislative and financial powers (more on this from Raghav article).

ISSUES

Such councils have been created in those states which has Sixth Scheduled status. Whereas Arunachal Pradesh had not given that status (The State of Arunachal Pradesh Act 1986). Would then, the Central Government grant Autonomous Councils?

The demand by PADC is based on Article 371(A) which is in line with Nagaland Statehood Bill. A news release by AAPSU summarized as:

Reminding that the Article 371 (A) is a special provision granted to Nagaland as a partial fulfillment of the 1960 agreement that created the state in 1963, AAPSU expressed dismay at the demand made by the PADC for an ADC in line with the Nagaland Statehood Bill. “It is a serious matter which needs to ponder upon and cannot be just wished away. (North East Today)

The objection by the non-Naga tribes Singpho, Khampti and Yobin was on that same article (AP Times). Nothing else.

But for me having further development structure do not make difference. Someone said, Power Corrupts. Absolute power corrupt absolutely. Our area is popular for corruption. I do not see much hope. What we need is, better people, visionary people and loving people.

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New Release:

Singphos, Khamptis, Yobins of Changlang oppose extension of Article 371 (A)

[ Indrajit Tingwa ]

BORDUMSA, Jun 7: The non-Naga tribes inhabiting Changlang district, which is a constituent of the proposed Patkai Autonomous District Council (PADC) in a meeting today has opposed the extension of Article 371 (A), the constitutional provision granted to Nagaland and demand by the PADC for its extension to the districts of Tirap, Changlang and Longding.

The meeting held at the Singpho Heritage Centre, Bordumsa was attended by representatives of the Singpho, Khampti and Yobin tribes. After a threadbare discussion on PADC and submission of memorandum to Government of India, a single point resolution to oppose the demand of Article 371 (A) was adapted.

The resolution stated that the said Article 371 (A) was a special constitutional provision granted to the state of Nagaland as a partial fulfillment of the 1960 agreement that later led to the creation of Nagaland state in 1963. As per the provisions of the said Article, not only the customary laws, social practices and belief of the people of Nagaland, but the resources of the state verdantly remains safeguarded from the intervention of the Union Government and its policies unless the state assembly so decides by resolution.

 “It is a fact that the Article is specially meant for Nagaland and that there is a presence of non Nagas in the three districts of Tirap,Changlang and Longding like the Singphos, Khamptis, Yobins and others. Therefore, the extension of the article to these districts may lead to complicacies in near future, so these non-Naga tribes have vehemently opposed the inclusion of Article 371 (A) in Patkai Autonomous District Council”, read the resolution.

Source: AP Times, 7 June 2017

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Helpful links:

  • Autonomous administrative divisions of India (Wikipedia)
  • Powers of Autonomous Councils in Tribal Areas in North East India (Raghav Gupta)

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